§ Mr. Best
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if it is his policy to give preferential consideration when making new appointments in his Department and the services to existing service personnel and civilian employees who are coming to the end of their contract of service but who wish to continue in employment.
§ Mr. Lee
Most established civil servants are appointed to the age of 60, and in some circumstances may serve to age 65. In filling new civilian appointments in my Department it is the normal practice first to consider staff already serving who have the necessary experience, but where such experience is also available outside the Department and there would be advantage to the Department in widening the search for a suitable appointee, external applications may be invited. In such cases, external applicants and internal candidates compete on equal terms for selection.
Appointments to service posts are made from within the armed forces, from among those best suited to fill the post, as part of the normal career progression. Where it is in the service interest, a service man may have his service extended to fill an appointment. For those leaving the armed forces there is a range of civilian posts in my Department which are particularly suitable for occupation by people with service experience, and recruitment to these is specially tailored for them.
§ Mr. Lee
Procedures exist whereby members of the armed forces are able to extend their service beyond their initial period of commitment. Cases are examined against the individual's continued fitness and efficiency and the needs of the service at that time. The latter would include age, rank and career structure considerations. Where these considerations permit, it is cost-effective to retain trained personnel, but new recruitment must also continue to meet future service needs.
The contractual retiring age for the Civil Service is 60 (or 65 for a small number of staff with reserved rights). The retention of civilian staff beyond age 60 is at departmental discretion. Non-mobile staff in my Department may continue in employment to age 65 subject to health, efficiency and the existence of a suitable post. Senior staff are generally required to retire at age 60. Some junior mobile staff may continue in service beyond 60 in their existing grade or be offered re-employment in a lower grade, subject to certain conditions. Mobile staff with short reckonable service for superannuation purposes may continue in service beyond age 60, subject to health, efficiency and the existence of a suitable post, to complete a specified number of years reckonable service or until age 65, whichever is earlier. Employment beyond age 65 is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.