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Colonial Service Officers

Volume 650: debated on Thursday 30 November 1961

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asked the Prime Minister whether he will transfer the Commonwealth Relations Office from the Home Civil Service to the Foreign Service; and whether he will then request the Civil Service Commission to abolish the written examination for Colonial Service officers with 10 pears' experience and satisfactory reports on their service who may apply to transfer to the Foreign Service or Commonwealth Relations Office.

The doubts felt by my hon. Friend about the expediency of requiring a certain class of candidate to take a written examination can hardly be regarded as a sufficient reason for the major change of organisation suggested in the first part of his Question.

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that it is a trifle anomalous that a Department which will shortly be responsible for about one-fifth of our overseas diplomatic representation should still belong to the home Civil Service? Does he not agree that this somewhat comic examination can hardly add any information which is not already known in the confidential reports available to the Government about these distinguished officers?

There are two separate questions in this issue, which I understand has recently been debated. The first is the organisation of the Civil Service itself and the transfer of a great Department from one side to the other. The second minor question related to that is the particular form of examination to recruit particular candidates.

At the end of Questions—

On a point of order. I do not know which clock you were looking at, Mr. Speaker, but on the clock at this end of the Chamber it is now only 3.30 p.m.

I observe with great regret that we did not reach the hon. Member's Question. I am afraid that I have to see the time when I see it, and I do my best to do it honestly.