HC Deb 10 June 1991 vol 192 cc599-600
45. Sir Michael Marshall

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service whether he will ensure that promotion within the senior civil service gives due weight to experience in executive agencies and practical management skills in the future.

Mr. Renton

Yes. Management skills and experience are increasingly important for those seeking civil service posts. The opportunities for management experience provided by next steps agencies and by interchange with business at all levels will undoubtedly enhance the skills of many civil servants.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Skinner—[Interruption.] I am getting confused. Sir Michael Marshall.

Sir Michael Marshall

A natural mistake, Mr. Speaker.

Apropos my earlier comments this afternoon, does my right hon. Friend realise that I would warmly welcome anything to improve the opportunity for interchange between industry and the civil service, particularly in management training? Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the possibility of using British business schools for civil servants—a subject on which, in the past, it has proved impossible to persuade Her Majesty's Government?

Mr. Renton

I never thought that my hon. Friend the Member for Arundel (Sir M. Marshall) would be mistaken for the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner). That is a new sort of interchange—quite different from that to which my hon. Friend referred.

I agree with the spirit of what my hon. Friend said. In 1989, there were 432 secondments of more than three months' duration from the civil service to industry, compared with 331 in 1988. If we can take advantage of the business school experience to which my hon. Friend referred, I shall suggest to civil servants in my Department that we do so.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Dennis Skinner.

Hon. Members

Sir Dennis.

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