HC Deb 20 March 1998 vol 308 cc766-7W
Dr. Whitehead

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps have been taken to facilitate participation by the Civil Service as an employer in the New Deal programme for young unemployed people. [35605]

Dr. David Clark

The Government want the Civil Service, as an employer, to play its full role in the New Deal programme.

Recruitment to the Civil Service is governed by the fundamental principle of selection on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. The Civil Service Commissioners have agreed to a modification of that principle so that departments and agencies can take part in the New Deal by offering New Deal participants fixed term appointments in the Civil Service. The Privy Council yesterday approved the necessary amendment to the Civil Service Order in Council 1995. Copies of the amendment Order are being placed in the Libraries of the House.

Under their Recruitment Code, the Commissioners will allow the appointment of New Deal participants on fixed term contracts of up to three years without the need for open competition. However, they have made it clear that the selection of successful candidates must be done in a way that is demonstrably fair and based on the requirements of the job, and that there should be competition between those New Deal participants who may be considered suitable for appointment. Any Civil Service appointment beyond the limited period allowed for under these arrangements may be made only after fair and open competition and selection on merit under the terms of the Commissioners' Recruitment Code. Departments and agencies will construct their own programmes within this framework, but a key objective for all will be to prepare participants to compete successfully in fair and open competition for longer term appointments.

Officials in the Office of Public Service have been discussing with departments and agencies and the Council of Civil Service Unions the arrangements for participating in the programme within the Civil Service.