HC Deb 17 July 1972 vol 841 cc285-8


Mr. Graham Page

I beg to move Amendment No. 624, in page 71, line 25, leave out 'persons' and insert 'officers'.

vision in respect of public health officers, chief sanitary inspectors, and medical officers of health as compared with the provision which he is retaining for certain other officers in education, the fire brigade, weights and measures and so on.

We feel very strongly about the matter and believe that we should register our objection even at this late hour. It is a matter of the greatest principle. The work which the medical officers of health and chief public health inspectors do for the community as a whole should be protected. We should register our disapproval of the Minister's reply and the abolition of these statutory figures who, by tradition, have served the country well.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 15, Noes 56.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)

With this Amendment it will be convenient to take Government Amendment No. 625.

Mr. Page

Whenever one is stopped by a police constable it is well known that one should deferentially address him as "officer". These Amendments adopt the same practice in respect of local government employees. We found that in Clause 112 they were referred to as "officers" and in Clause 113 as "persons". The Amendments replace the references in Clause 113 to "persons" by references to "officers".

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Carol Johnson

I beg to move Amendment No. 959, in page 71, line 26, at end insert: but shall not enter into any such agreement with respect to any officer without consulting him". I suggest that this is a simple, sensible and reasonable provision which should be inserted into any Clause dealing with the transfer of officers from one local authority to another. The Amendment is designed to ensure that before a local authority can agree to transfer or second an officer to serve under another authority the officer concerned will first be consulted and his consent obtained.

I am sure that the Minister would agree with me that in such a transfer the terms and conditions of the officer's service should also be safeguarded. On this aspect, I understand that the Contracts of Employment Act, 1963, applies equally to local government staff, and covers that point. Perhaps the Minister will be good enough to confirm that that is so, and that under the Clause an authority could not get away with worsening an officer's terms and conditions without his consent.

Mr. Graham Page

I regret that as drafted the Bill treated local government officers rather like bulls on a stud farm; they could be let out to serve another local authority cow. I am very sorry that we treated them in that way. I believe that even farmers now consult the bull. The Amendment is quite correct, and I hope that the House will accept it.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Graham Page

I beg to move Amendment No. 1055, in page 71, line 27, leave out from beginning to "for".

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this Amendment it will be convenient to take Government Amendment No. 1056.

Mr. Page

These Amenedments are linked, because in Clause 113 one authority is empowered to make agreements with another authority to put the service of its staff at the disposal of the other authority for the purpose of discharging the other authority's functions. It would be wrong to risk adversely affecting the superannuation rights of an officer who was the subject of such an agreement.

3.45 p.m.

Without going into details, I assure the House that the Amendments avoid that risk of affecting the superannuation rights and protect the officer who is so transferred.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made:

No. 625, in page 71, line 28, leave out "a person" and insert: an officer of a local authority".

No. 1056, in page 71, line 31, at end insert: 'but any such officer shall be treated for the purposes of any enactment relating to the discharge of local authorities' functions as an officer of that other local authority'.—[Mr. Graham Page.]

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