HC Deb 23 November 1987 vol 123 cc17-8
112. Mr. Butler

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service when he last paid a visit to the Civil Service college.

Mr. Luce

On 9 November 1987.

Mr. Butler

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Civil Service needs cultural change, although things are moving in the right direction? Would the Civil Service college benefit from much closer involvement with the private sector?

Mr. Luce

Yes, Sir. It is right that there should be close involvement, and over 60 per cent, of staff who teach at the Civil Service college are from the private sector or from outside the Civil Service. That is a process that I wish to encourage. On the question of the number of courses, including the top management course, a considerable number of private sector people attend that course and the two-way flow is of enormous benefit to the college.

Mr. Haynes

When the Minister visits this college, does he have a word with the students? Does he warn them that, since 1979, the Civil Service Minister has come to the Dispatch Box and bragged .about how many civil servants have lost their jobs, and does he warn them about the possibility that, when they are qualified, they might join the dole queue?

Mr. Luce

I go down to the college regularly and sometimes I even sit in on the sessions. The standard of professionalism in our service is as high as any service in the world, but we were right in 1979 to set a target to reduce the size of the Civil Service, which we have done to the tune of 130,000, because it was too large. As a Government who have been reducing the activities of central Government, it is only right that we should have a slimmed down but highly professional service.

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