HC Deb 15 April 1991 vol 189 cc18-20
42. Mr. Rathbone

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service what arrangements are made for counselling drug and alcohol misusers in the civil service.

Mr. Renton

We advise managers in Departments and agencies to encourage staff with an alcohol or drug abuse problem to seek appropriate counselling or treatment. This may involve giving them the opportunity of talking to a welfare officer or occupational health service staff. They can then be advised on how to seek help for their specific needs.

Mr. Rathbone

I welcome the concern for those personal problems and urge on my right hon. Friend the need to establish points of contact outside the civil service for people who may have those problems because of the reticence that many feel in seeking help within the civil service.

Mr. Renton

I accept my hon. Friend's wise suggestions and I shall pass them forward to the civil servants in my office. I should point out that in January 1988 we issued a policy guidance note which was followed up by a pamphlet called "Misuse of drugs: training framework" for personnel managers. We have tried to give personnel managers sensible advice. I shall certainly ensure that my hon. Friend's points are considered.

Dr. Godman

If counselling has replaced the issuing of disciplinary orders against such civil servants, when someone undertakes that counselling or the treatment recommended by the counsellors, is that fact wiped off his or her personal record?

Mr. Renton

The hon. Gentleman will realise that it is not possible to be specific in advance as to whether the action taken in individual cases should be only counselling or could also involve something much more serious. If it was a case of the possession of, or trading in, illicit drugs on a Department's premises, I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would agree that counselling would not be sufficient and counsellors would have to take a more serious view of such illegal action.

Mr. Simon Hughes

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker

I will take it after questions on the statement.

Mr. Hughes

The Minister will have gone by then.

Back to
Forward to