I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether candidates for the situation of prison clerks were required to undergo the Civil Service examination, and whether, pursuant to the notice in the London Gazette, of the 9th September, 1879, they were charged the examination fee of £3; whether the fee charged is, as recently stated by the Secretary to the Treasury, according to a scale proportioned to the maximum salary attainable in the ordinary course of promotion; whether the examination fee of £3 corresponds in the scale to a maximum salary of £400 to £450; whether certain of the prison clerks who entered under the scale are debarred from any further increment after attaining to a salary of £150 after 15 years' service; and, whether, considering the expectations which were practically held out to the candidates for these posts, and the improbability that equally qualified men would compete for posts with a maximum of £150, he can see his way to redress the inequality between them and the members of the other branches of the Civil Service.
The answer to the first and third paragraphs is in the affirmative. The answer to the second paragraph is that, in the view of the Treasury (and it is that department, and not the Home Office, which is responsible in the matter), the fee has no relation to the rate of promotion in the particular department; still less to the chance of a particular clerk attaining the maximum to which it is proportioned; but depends on the maximum value of posts to which the persons passing the examination can be promoted without obtaining a further certificate. In the case of the prison clerks there were, and are, such posts in the Home Office of which the salary is as high as £450. As to the 4th paragraph, it is true that the salary of clerks of the second class cannot, so long as they remain in that class, rise above £150. I regret that, owing to the disuse of certain of the prisons and to other causes, there has been a block in promotion which has kept in the second class some clerks who might by this time have expected to be in the first. But large promotions took place from one class to the other in 1891, and I fear I cannot do anything further to improve their position.
asked whether the notices issued by the Treasury stated that the maximum salary for those who paid £3 examination fees would be £400 to £450?
Yes, that is true.