To ask the Postmaster-General whether he will state the respective numbers of deputy staff officers, first-class clerks, second-class clerks, and third-class clerks in the supplementary establishment of the Secretary's Office who have longer service in the Post Office than Messrs. J. Y. Bell and R. M. Stewart, respectively, who were recently promoted to first-class clerkships of the Higher Division in the Secretary's Office.
To ask the Postmaster-General whether the two vacancies as second-class clerks of the Higher Division recently created in the Secretary's Office by the promotion of Messrs. Bell and Stewart will be filled by the promotion of experienced and efficient officers of the supplementary establishment, many of whom have from twenty to thirty years service in the Post Office; and, if not, will he explain how the filling of these vacancies by officially inexperienced young men from a Higher Division, Class I., examination is in the interests of the public service.
To ask the Postmaster-General whether, seeing that Messrs. J. Y. Bell and R. M. Stewart were recently promoted to first-class clerkships of the Higher Division in the Secretary's Office, with increase of salary from£255 to £550 and from £225 to £550, respectively, that these two officers entered the Post Office service so lately as November, 1899, and December, 1901, respectively, that many officers amongst the third-class clerks, second-class clerks, first-class clerks, and deputy staff officers of the supplementary establishment have three, four, and five times the service of either of these two recently-promoted officers, he will explain why the more experienced and more efficient officials of the supplementary establishment did not get these two promotions.
I will answer the hon. Member's three Questions together. I consider that it is in the interest of the public service to recruit the higher grades in the Secretary's Office as a rule by the open Class I. competition, which attracts much of the best material from the Universities and secures a high standard of ability and education in the successful candidates. Promotions are occasionally made from the supplementary establishment to the Second Class of the Higher Grade, if candidates with very exceptional qualifications are available, but the comparisons of length of service which the hon. Member suggests have no direct bearing upon the matter.