HC Deb 26 February 1959 vol 600 cc1278-9
13. Mr. Swingler

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what improvements in the salary scales of child-care officers have been made in the last 10 years; and what steps have been taken by his Department to provide training facilities to attract more qualified people into the profession.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

My right hon. Friend has no responsibility for the salary scales of child-care officers, and he has no information as to the improvements made in those scales over the last ten years. Recruitment for the special training arranged by the Central Training Council in Child-Care in conjunction with certain universities has been continuous since 1947 and is aided by various forms of publicity. In all, 649 students have obtained the Council's Certificate in Child-Care.

Mr. Swingler

Would the hon. Lady consider sympathetically the need for more and better qualified child-care officers, and would she have some discussion with representatives of the local authority associations to review the salary scales and opportunities for training and obtaining qualifications to see whether something further cannot be done to attract recruits into this profession?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I am in sympathy with the hon. Gentleman's intentions. We should like to see more candidates coming forward. There is a great demand in various spheres fox people of this type who have the qualifications required. They have to have a degree, a certificate or diploma in social science, or qualifications as a teacher or a health visitor, or a comparable qualification. There is a great demand but not enough people to take up these posts.

Sir G. Nicholson

I hope that the hon. Lady's reply does not indicate that the Home Office, which is, after all, charged with responsibility for child-care, does not interest itself in conditions of child-care service further down the scale? Surely, if the Home Office is to do its job properly, it must take an interest in what happens under local authorities.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I can assure my hon. Friend that we certainly take a very great interest, but we cannot be directly responsible for all the pay scales under the local authorities. In fact, child-care officers are generally paid in accordance with the administrative, professional and technical scales of the National Joint Council for Local Authorities Administrative, Professional, Technical and Clerical Services.

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