HC Deb 24 July 1967 vol 751 cc46-7
36. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will make a statement on the progress made in the last month in his discussions on the question of the financing of a new career structure within the House of Commons Clerk's Department.

Mr. Crossman

I am glad to say that considerable progress has recently been made and agreement has been reached with the Treasury on changes in the structure of the Clerk's Department which, I hope, will go a long way towards solving the problem of recruitment. The new senior grading structure will be as follows: Clerk of the House, 2 Deputy Secretaries, 5 Under Secretaries, 3 Assistant Secretaries (with allowances) and 10 Assistant Secretaries. This will considerably improve promotion prospects in the Clerk's Department and bring them into line with those prevailing in the rest of the Civil Service.

Mr. Hamilton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the whole House will congratulate him and his Department on achieving this very desirable result? Can he also inform the House whether this will result in the additional clerks we need in October to man the new specialist Committees we are hoping for?

Mr. Crossman

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for the first part of his question. As to the second part, for the next 12 months we can rest assured that the Clerk's Department will now be manned up to the point where it can fulfil its functions.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, arising out of that last supplementary question, whether he will give serious thought to ensuring that there is some special account taken of the very great burden of extra work which falls upon the clerks who have to serve the new specialist Committees?

Mr. Crossman

I put that in rather a different way. What we are seeking to do is to see that the more ordinary work of the clerks is given to higher executive officers and our fully trained clerks are concentrated on such jobs of greater responsibility as the specialist Committees.