HC Deb 27 January 1976 vol 904 cc161-2W
26. Mr. Fairbairn

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proposals she has for reducing the numbers employed in her Department and simplifying instructions to them.

Mrs. Castle

Appropriate methods at manpower control, including staff inspection, are used to see that staff do not exceed the number required to discharge effectively responsibilities which Parliament has placed on the Department. As far as social security work is concerned, increases or decreases in staff are deter- mined primarily by the variation in the number of claims to benefit.

I am considering what the effect on the size of my Department may be of the Government's policy of reducing planned future public expenditure. In this connection I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Civil Service Department on 19th January 1976 to the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Rost).—[Vol. 903, c. 916–17.]

Instructions to staff are continuously reviewed to ensure that they are as simple as is consistent with the proper interpretation of legislation which covers so wide a variety of people and circumstances.