§ Mr. Baldry
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has further to improve the skills and professionalism of civil servants.
§ Mr. Brooke
Her Majesty's Treasury is today issuing guidance to Departments on improved personnel management arrangements for two key groups, information technology staff and purchasing and supply staff. In future, most entrants to these groups will be recruited for these specific areas of work, and developed and promoted primarily on the basis of their specialised skills rather than those required for general administration. To meet their needs for specialised expertise, Departments will have the facility to recruit staff at more senior levels on a permanent basis. They will also be able to recruit, if required, on a short-term basis. There will be a greater emphasis on professional training and development for both groups. I am confident that the new arrangements will allow Departments to develop rounded professional expertise and thus further improve value for money in their IT and purchasing work.