HC Deb 14 February 1984 vol 54 cc110-1
2. Mr. Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what are the numbers of armed services personnel employed in career information and recruiting offices; and what are the total number of man-years involved.

18. Mr. David Atkinson

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many recruitment centres exist for each service.

The Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement (Mr. John Lee)

The services have the following careers information offices: Royal Navy 24, Army 134, Royal Air Force 16, Royal Navy and Army combined 9, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force combined 17, Army and Royal Air Force combined 22, and tri-service 11. During 1982–83 the armed forces employed a total of 1,144 service personnel in their careers information offices, involving a total of 1,085.5 man-years.

Mr. Chapman

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that information. On reflection, does he agree that, unless there are exceptional circumstances, all services recruiting and information officers and personnel engaged therein should be involved in tri-service information and recruitment? Will he confirm that if that were done considerable and sensible economies could be made on the £40 million spent on recruiting and information in the previous financial year?

Mr. Lee

It would be fair to say that we have not made as much progress in this area as we would have wished. We have about 59 careers information offices on a combined or tri-service basis. When it is practical or economical to do so we shall move towards the tri-service approach, which would obviously produce some savings.

Mr. Atkinson

Have my hon. Friend and his Department undertaken feasibility studies with the Department of Employment into the practicability of establishing recruitment offices in jobcentres?

Mr. Lee

There is close liaison between jobcentres and careers information offices, but, to judge from the studies that we have carried out, we do not believe that it would be practical to place our careers information officers in jobcentres.

Sir Hector Monro

Does my hon. Friend agree that not only do careers information officers perform an excellent recruiting job, but that they are a valuable link between the services and the community, and that frequently officers and NCOs play a prominent part in local events?

Mr. Lee

My hon. Friend is absolutely correct.