HC Deb 10 March 1982 vol 19 cc843-4
43. Mr. Cryer

Minister for the Civil Service what are the criteria for appointing additional civil servants from outside the Civil Service; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hayhoe

Additional civil servants are recruited if additional manpower is justified by the work load, if there are not enough suitably qualified civil servants available, and if the increase can be accommodated within cash limits and manpower targets.

Mr. Cryer

Does the Minister realise that when chief executives of the PSA are appointed from outside at £50,000 a year, deep offence is caused to many thousands of civil servants who do a decent, hard-working job? At a time when lower-paid civil servants are told that they will get nothing, when the rest are told that they will have to keep to 5 per cent. and when other public servants, such as nurses, are offered a mere 6 per cent., does the hon. Gentleman appreciate the strong sense of injustice that has arisen over such appointments?

Mr. Hayhoe

As usual, the hon. Gentleman has got it fundamentally wrong. The appointment of someone from outside the Civil Service was made because he was the best man for the job.

Mr. Waller

What opportunities are taken to enable civil servants to gain experience in the private sector, thereby enabling them to return to their Departments with the benefit of the disciplines of the private sector?

Mr. Hayhoe

There is a considerable programme of secondment in and out of the Civil Service, which is valuable to all concerned.

Mr. Alan Williams

Is it not a counter-productive absurdity for the Minister and the noble Lady, Baroness Young, to preach the need for civil servants to accept that a career in management of the service can be as rewarding as a career in the policy area when, as my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) said, they went outside the Civil Service, when the opportunity presented itself in December, to appoint a new head of the PSA at a premium of 50 per cent.? Will the Minister take the opportunity to allay the rumour that the Government did not even attempt to take up references from the previous employers of the individual who was eventually appointed?

Mr. Hayhoe

The appointment of the head of the PSA was a matter in which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment had a particular interest. As regards rewarding management skills, many senior positions are becoming vacant as a result of natural retirement in the next two years. I am certain that the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State concerned will bear in mind the management abilities of candidates when determining who shall fill those jobs.