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"Civil Servants And Change" (Report)

Volume 887: debated on Monday 3 March 1975

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38.

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what steps he proposes to take to implement the proposals for action by his Department set out in the report "Civil Servants and Change".

My officials are already working out the way forward on the measures indicated in the report, including the strengthening of line management, a review of the administration of staff rules, and improved interdepartmental promotion opportunities. The Civil Service Department will also be assisting Departments, as appropriate, in their evaluation of their own domestic follow-up programmes. Work is continuing in areas where results have already been achieved, including flexible working hours, job satisfaction studies, and the office improvement programme.

Will my hon. Friend pay particular attention to the proposal that artificial barriers to the promotion of technically qualified and specialist staff—which I note his Department now admits to exist—should be removed, and will he report progress to the House?

My hon. Friend has a great knowledge of this matter. I assure him that the Civil Service Department is working to remove the artificial barriers to which he has referred in order to reach the general objective of improved unified grading.

Will my hon. Friend agree to change the conditions of employment of civil servants so that they can be given paid absence from work to the same extent as Sir Christopher Soames, so that they may take part in the EEC referendum campaign?

I have no responsibility for the conditions under which Sir Christopher Soames is at present employed.