§ Mr. Tony Lloyd
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what instructions are given to the factories inspectorate about dealings with(a) hon. Members and (b) the press.
§ Mr. Nicholls
Civil servants in HSE are subject to the Official Secrets Act and to instructions which guide staff as to their conduct. The general principles are that the relation of trust between civil servants and Ministers must be maintained and that civil servants should not engage in activities likely to call their political impartiality into question. Area directors of the factory inspectorate are free to respond directly to Members of Parliament on specific matters affecting their constituencies. HSE staff deal with the press through the HSE press office or through the regional offices of the Central Office of Information.