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Departmental Staff (Qualifications)

Volume 82: debated on Monday 1 July 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many clerical officers are currently employed in his Department who do not possess a general certificate of education ordinary level pass.

The information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why his Department is not prepared to accept as a qualification a general certificate of education ordinary level pass in English obtained in an examination held in Portugal.

The Civil Service Commission rules on recruitment of clerical staff require Departments, in respect of qualifications in "English" or "English Language" obtained in countries where the mother tongue is not English, to accept only candidates with a GCE "O" level pass in English language awarded by an examining board in the United Kingdom, or an acceptable alternative qualification in English language awarded in this country.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why Mrs. Maria Shah was promoted from clerical assistant to clerical officer in his Department without her possession of a recognised pass in general certificate of education ordinary level English.

During her employment as a casual clerical assistant with the Department Mrs. Shah was successful in an open competition for appointment at clerical officer level. She was offered such an appointment on a conditional basis, pending the usual inquiries regarding health, character, and other factors. The fact that Mrs. Shah did not have the necessary GCE O-level (or equivalent) qualification in English language was, unfortunately, overlooked at the time. Mrs. Shah subsequently agreed to take English language at "O" level and the result is awaited.