HC Deb 14 July 1965 vol 716 cc481-2
16. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress has been made in his discussions with the local authorities on the implementation of the Morison Committee recommendation that a single negotiating body for Great Britain should be set up to deal with salaries and conditions of service of probation officers; and, in view of the delay in settling this matter, whether he will give an undertaking that an early decision will be taken by Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Ross

The consultations on the constitution of the employers' side of the proposed Great Britain body, referred to in the reply given to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes), by the Minister of State, Home Office, on 1st July, are in progress.

Mr. Hamilton

We are all gratified, and the probation officers particularly are gratified, with the decision which has been reached, but can my right hon. Friend give an idea of the date when it will be fully implemented?

Mr. Ross

My hon. Friend will appreciate that much of the delay between publication of the Morison Report in 1962 and getting the bodies together was due (a) to pay negotiations and (b) to negotiations between the local authorities. As soon as we received the last letter, dated 17th June, from the local authority associations in Scotland, we called them together for a meeting by a letter dated 18th June. They began on 6th July and, as far as I know, they are making good progress, so I do not think that there will be any great delay in coming to the desirable conclusion.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Does the Secretary of State recall the correspondence which I had with him on this subject? A solution to the problem has been delayed for far too long and should be expedited in the interests of probation officers.

Mr. Ross

I never forget any correspondence with my hon. and learned Friend because, being a persistent and very persuasive questioner, he would not allow me to. I agree that there has been delay, but I appeal to my hon. Friends who know something about the subject to remember that we are dealing here with a change to a United Kingdom body, there having been two bodies hitherto, one for England and Wales and one for Scotland. We are now getting the parties together to reach agreement, and it will have been worth a little delay if we reach the desirable conclusion.