HC Deb 11 December 1957 vol 579 cc1231-4
1. Mr. Albu

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what changes have been made in the last five years in the arrangements for personnel management and labour relations in Her Majesty's dockyards.

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith)

No changes have been made in the arrangements for personnel management at the dockyards. At headquarters a civilian officer with wide experience of labour relations was appointed in 1954 as personnel officer. His duties have recently been widened and he now acts as Assistant Director of Dockyards (Personnel).

2. Mr. Albu

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what changes have been made in the last five years in the management structure in Her Majesty's dockyards.

Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith

An experimental appointment of a senior civilian officer as Deputy Superintendent (Industrial) was made at Chatham in 1953. An additional deputy manager has been appointed in each of the constructive, engineering and electrical departments at Portsmouth, Devonport and Chatham yards. Planning groups are now being introduced at the main home yards and method study officers appointed. A team of senior officers is examining the scope for work measurement in the dockyards.

Management structure of the dockyards is one of the matters on which Sir Barclay Nihill's Committee has recently reported. Its recommendations are now being considered.

Mr. Albu

I welcome the steps which the Admiralty has taken towards putting into operation some of the recommendations made by the Select Committee on Estimates five or six years ago, but can the hon. Gentleman say whether or not the Nihill Committee has taken those recommendations further into account?

Mr. Galbraith

All the subjects which the Estimates Committee went into the Nihill Committee also has looked at, and a much wider field as well. As I said in the Answer I have just given, the Report has only just been received in the Admiralty and it is at this moment being studied.

3. Mr. Albu

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what arrangements are at present made for the training in management methods of senior and junior supervisory staff in Her Majesty's dockyards.

Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith

At headquarters, an Assistant Director, Management Techniques, was appointed in 1954. Management training centres are in operation at Portsmouth, Devonport and Chatham. They provide two-week courses for chargemen and job-relations training for all managing and supervising officers. The Portsmouth centre also provides four-week courses for inspectors from all yards.

A variety of residential conferences of up to three weeks' duration is organised for grades from senior inspector to manager. Selected officers are sent to external management training courses. It is planned shortly to set up a centre to give training in the techniques of methods study and planning.

Mr. Albu

When the Nihill Committee has reported, will some information be given to the House as to the changes which are to be made, so that the Admiralty does not hide its light under a bushel as it has seemed to have been doing during the past few years?

Mr. Galbraith

I can give the hon. Gentleman the assurance that it is the intention to make a statement to the House.

4. Brigadier Clarke

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he will place all new construction and repair work for the Royal Navy with Her Majesty's dockyards.

Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith

It has been, and remains, the policy of the Admiralty to place in the Royal dockyards all the warship repair work which can conveniently be allocated to them. As a result of this policy very little of this work is now being put out to contract. Because the repair and maintenance of the Fleet is the primary function of the Royal dockyards, their facilities for new construction are limited. Nevertheless, the volume of new construction allocated to them is rising.

Brigadier Clarke

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. May I assure him that Portsmouth and other dockyards will be very pleased to hear it?

Mr. Shinwell

Will the Civil Lord be kind enough to congratulate the hon. and gallant Member for Portsmouth, West (Brigadier Clarke) upon his conversion to State Socialism?

5. Brigadier Clarke

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what effects the Defence White Paper will have on the future of Her Majesty's dockyards.

Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith

The future of the dockyards is being considered as part of the current re-organisation of naval forces and their shore support, to which I referred in my recent statement on Hong Kong Dockyard. I regret that I cannot say more until further progress has been made in this review.

Brigadier Clarke

I am sure the home dockyards will be very pleased to hear the statement the Minister made in reply to Question 4. May I express the hope to my hon. Friend, with reference to my Question No. 5, that he will do equally well in the future?

Mr. Steele

Could the Civil Lord say whether this very important Committee which is now considering the question of all the dockyards will report on the possible use of the dockyards for extra civil work in both shipbuilding and ship repairs?

Mr. Galbraith

No. The Committee is dealing only with the organisation of the dockyards, not with their scope or with any other uses to which they might be put.

Mr. Burden

When considering the future of the Royal Naval dockyards, will my hon. Friend pay particular attention to the possibility of still further extending the new construction of vessels in those yards, particularly in view of the greater measure of security that can be undertaken there?

Mr. Galbraith

I am afraid that the physical capacity of the dockyards, quite apart from any other considerations, makes this impracticable.

Mr. C. R. Hobson

Will the hon. Gentleman state in a White Paper the number of slipways that are empty, and the period for which they have been empty, in Her Majesty's dockyards?

Mr. Galbraith

I will consider that point.