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Mr Steve Reardon

Volume 300: debated on Monday 10 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if she will publish the level of salary paid to Government information officers on the same grade as Mr. Steve Reardon; and what plans she has for a successor to be paid more; [15060](2) for what reasons Mr. Steve Reardon ceased to work as Director of Information at her Department on 16 September; [15061](3) if she requested Mr. Steve Reardon to leave his post; and if she will make a statement; [15062](4) if she is seeking a replacement to the Director of Information at her Department from outside the Civil Service; and what is the maximum salary that her Department is prepared to pay an individual accepting that post or a post to replace Mr. Reardon; [15063](5) if she will list the advertisements and internal memoranda relating to the vacancy to replace Mr. Reardon at her Department; and if she will publish the job description and duties of the post; [15064](6) if the position of Director of Information at her Department as it existed up to 16 September has been abolished; and if she will make a statement; [15065](7) if the successor to Mr. Steve Reardon at her Department will be of the same grade as Mr. Reardon; [15066](8) if she will publish the job description and duties of the Director of Information at her Department prior to 16 September. [15067]

The former Director of Information at the DSS left his post on 16 September. I did not request him to leave; he stepped aside after agreeing with the Department the need for a different style and approach in his Directorate. An advertisement for a new Director of Information was placed in The Guardian newspaper on 20 October and, shortly afterwards, was circulated to members of the Government Information Service. The job is open to people with the appropriate skills and experience whether or not they are existing civil servants.The level of responsibility, the pay range and duties of the post are unaltered. It is a Senior Civil Service post and the appropriate remuneration lies in the range £52,020 to £86,700 per annum. The job description is as follows:

"The Director of Information is Press Secretary to the Secretary of State for Social Security and is responsible for advice to the Department on media handling and presentation across the full range of its responsibilities, including supporting the Secretary of State in her role as Minister for Women.
The Director is Head of Profession for all Government Information Service staff with the department and provides advice to Agency Chief Executives on issues such as information standards, staff recruitment and propriety. He/she manages a team of around 40 professional and administrative staff and is responsible for expenditure of around £5 million a year.
The postholder reports to the Head of Policy Group and is directly accountable to the Secretary of State".

The advertisement offers a salary of up to £70,000 per annum depending upon the experience of the successful candidate. The pay of other senior Information Officers is a matter for individual departments but is determined in the same way and by reference to rules laid down for appointments to the Senior Civil Service.

The selection of a new Director of Information will be conducted under the Civil Service Commissioners' rules which ensure fair and open competition. The selection process will be chaired by a Commissioner.