HC Deb 30 April 1990 vol 171 cc723-4
58. Mr. Fisher

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service how many direct entrants at HEO level have been accepted into the civil service under the recent recruitment scheme; and what was the target.

Mr. Luce

The target of filling some 740 posts through the higher executive officer open competition has been met. Of those appointed, 175 are direct entrants to the civil service at this level.

Mr. Fisher

Will the Minister answer the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Wrexham (Dr. Marek)—on 91 per cent. of posts in Customs and Excise being filled by serving civil servants? Does not that suggest that talent is available in the civil service, as the trade unions made clear to the Minister, and that his scheme is misconceived and a waste of public money? Will he recognise the talent under his nose within the civil service?

Mr. Luce

I fully recognise the talent of civil servants and the opportunities for promotion for talented civil servants. That was proved by this competition, in which the majority of people promoted were from within the civil service. It is not a waste of public money because it is exceedingly important for the service to recruit the best possible people to serve the Government and the nation. We shall achieve that by ensuring that, where possible, there is open competition and that the best possible people are recruited from outside as well as from inside the service.

Mr. Donald Thompson

Will my right hon. Friend do all that he can to ensure that people from the regions, especially Yorkshire, are recruited directly to the civil service, at whatever age, so that their experience of other jobs and professions can contribute to it?

Mr. Luce

I agree with my hon. Friend that that is to be encouraged but that is no reflection on the quality of people already serving in the service. We need the best possible range of people. It is healthy for the service to have the experience of those who have been in it for a long time and of those who have served in other walks of life. That adds strength to the civil service.

Mr. Winnick

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker

Mr. Speaker

Order. We have not finished yet.