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Prison Service (Promotion)

Volume 390: debated on Thursday 3 June 1943

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asked the Home Secretary what has been done to eliminate the stagnation of promotion in the prison service?

If, as I assume, the hon. Member is referring to the prospects of promotion of male members of the prison disciplined staff, the position is that in 1938 such officers were promoted to the rank of principal officer on an average after just under sixteen years' service, and in 1942 and 1943 after just under seventeen years' service. The main cause of this change is that in present circumstances the man-power situation makes it right to retain fit and efficient officers in the posts of chief officer or principal officer up to the age of 6o instead of calling on them to retire, as was the normal pre-war practice, at the age of 55. The proportion, however, of higher posts to the total numbers employed is now higher than it was before the war, and additional higher posts are created whenever this is justified by the needs of the service.

asked the Home Secretary how many officers in the prison service have passed part II of the examination of officer for promotion to principal officer; how many of the successful candidates have been promoted; how many candidates for this part of the examination are awaiting examination; and what percentage of the officer grade can expect promotion to the principal officer grade?

There are at present 386 officers of the basic grade who have passed part II of the principal officers' examination; 193 officers who have passed the examination are now serving in the higher ranks and 35 applicants are awaiting examination. Out of 220 officers who have retired from the prison service during the last four years, 45 per cent. retired in grades higher than the basic grade. Success in the examination makes an officer eligible for promotion but is not the only factor that has to be considered when filling a vacancy.