HC Deb 03 July 1978 vol 953 cc8-9W
Mr. Madden

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, pursuant to evidence given by the Permanent Secretary of his Department to the Public Accounts Committee, what departmental machinery exists to ascertain whether civil servants profit from knowledge acquired during the course of their duties; when machinery was instituted; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Les Huckfield

The Department's staff rules refer to the fact that commercially confidential information is held by the Department and stress that great care must be taken by staff to avoid even the suspicion of improper use of that information for private purposes. Staff are required under the rules to consult the Department's establishment division about the acquisition or retention of any shareholding which might cause legitimate public concern, and in particular to disclose their interest if they come into official contact with any matter concerning a business organisation in which they have an interest, for example, a shareholding. These rules are based on the general requirement that a civil servant must not make use of his official position to further his private interests, and are of very long standing.

Any civil servant in breach of the rules would be liable to disciplinary action.