HC Deb 24 January 1929 vol 224 cc359-60W

asked the Minister of Pensions (1) whether his attention has been called to representations made to his Department by an approved staff association in regard to the action of his Department in officially reprimanding an employé of the Ministry in connection with the terms of that employés communication to the Department as an applicant for treatment for War disability; whether he is aware that the Department's action has caused considerable apprehension amongst the staffs concerned, many of whom are disabled ex-service men, who regard such action as imposing a special restriction upon their rights as claimants against the Ministry; and whether he will cause instructions to be issued so as to ensure that employés of the Ministry shall, in their capacity as applicants for treatment or pension, be amenable only to those restrictions and regulations which apply generally to all disabled applicants;

(2) whether his attention has been called to the representations made to his Department by an approved staff association in regard to the action of an official superior who advised a subordinate serving under him not to proceed with his application to the Ministry for treatment in respect of a disability claimed to have been incurred as a result of his War service; whether he is aware that the subordinate, whilst expressing dissatisfaction with the manner in which his application for treatment had been dealt with by the Department, thereupon undertook not to continue with his claim; whether it is within his knowledge that the applicant's approved staff association has since sought and secured expert advice that the man concerned has prima facie a strong claim against the Ministry; and whether, in view of these facts and in order to avoid misunderstandings and misapprehension amongst the disabled men employed in the Ministry of Pensions, he will cause, instructions to be issued forbidding officers of his Department to seek, in any capacity whatsoever, to influence the actions of their official subordinates in connection with claims for pension or treatment against his Department?


I am aware that an employé of the Ministry was reprimanded for addressing the head of the Department in improper terms in connection with a claim for pension which he was making and that he admitted his error and apologised for this breach of discipline. I am not aware and do not believe that any such apprehension as the hon. Member suggests exist among the staff as a consequence of this incident. I understand that the officer in question asked for friendly advice from colleagues on the subject of his pension claim which he received, but I see nothing either irregular or improper or anything requiring official notice in this. No undertaking of any kind was either asked for or given. I see no need for any special instruction regarding claims by employés of the Ministry in respect of war disability; they are treated in precisely the same way as any other claims.