HL Deb 12 November 1968 vol 297 cc417-8

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government—

1. How many clerical assistants are permitted to be employed in the Inner London Probation Service;

2. How many are employed by the Inner London Probation Service and how many have to be obtained through private employment agencies;

3. The rate per hour paid to the private employment agencies;

4. When the principle to pay Inner London Probation Service clerical assistants the same rate as clerical assistants in the four other Greater London Probation areas will be implemented.]


My Lords, the present establishment is for 158 clerical assistants. I understand that there are at present 80 full-time and 36 part-time clerical assistants in post and that an average of 45 to 50 shorthand-typists have to be engaged from employment agencies each week. The hourly rate paid to an agency for each person so engaged is between 12s. 3d. and 15s. 7d. In answer to the last part of the Question, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary hopes to be able to authorise the change next August.


My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for his reply, I should like to ask him one or two supplementary questions. Is my noble friend aware that between £50,000 and £60,000 a year goes in wages and salaries to clerical assistants employed from the agencies, and that in fact many of these clerical assistants employed from the agencies are receiving more per annum than many probation officers who have been in the service for some years?


My Lords, I think the amount spent on these girls from agencies is somewhat less than my noble friend imagines. With regard to a comparison between the hourly rates paid to them and those to clerical assistants, comparison is not easy because of superannuation, National Health insurance, overheads, and so on. But, in the nature of things, I should have thought it was rather more costly, although the more senior established clerical assistants in post earn hourly rates strictly comparable to those that I mentioned.

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