asked the Secretary of State for the Environment in view of the lack of close contact between the Government administrative civil servants and the administrative and treasury officers of local government, if he will consider a policy of active inter-secondment between the two services for periods of a year or so for selected middle seniority officers of both, in order to promote better understanding and efficiency for the public service.
The extent to which day-to-day contacts contribute to mutual understanding between the Civil Service and local government should not be underestimated. Nevertheless, I share the hon. Member's desire to see that understanding strengthened. Exchanges of staff are made, but at a time of severe restraint on public expenditure and manpower it is impossible to do as much as we would like. My own Department will, however, continue to seek exchanges with individual local authorities where these would be beneficial to both.