HC Deb 16 June 1986 vol 99 cc757-8
70. Mr. Gerald Bowden

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement on the operation of Civil Service recruitment schemes in 1985.

Mr. Luce

Seven hundred and sixty two recruitment schemes were conducted by the Civil Service Commission in 1985 to fill over 9,000 vacancies in the middle and higher grades of the Civil Service. Further information is given in the Civil Service Commissioners' annual report for 1985, which has been placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Bowden

Are there any special incentive schemes to ensure that appropriately qualified professional, technical and scientific staff are recruited and retained in the Civil Service?

Mr. Luce

I agree with my hon. Friend on the importance of that matter. We are concerned about the recruitment, retention and motivation of scientists and people in the professional and technology groups. To that end, not only have they had a reasonable pay increase this year, but a more flexible system of pay additions has been introduced. In addition, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is considering ways in which we might improve the starting salary of graduates in the science group, with a view to helping recruitment.

Mr. Tony Banks

What is the level of black recruitment to the middle and senior levels of the Civil Service? Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with the progress that has been made?

Mr. Luce

Obviously I cannot give a percentage figure in answering that general question. General recruitment is not bad, but specialist groups — whether scientists or accountants — are causing concern. That is why it is important for us to have a flexible pay system, which we are now evolving, to deal with retention and recruitment problems.