§ Lord Duncannon
rose to move for leave to bring in a Bill for uniting the office of Surveyor General of his Majesty's Works and Public Buildings with the office of the Commissioners of his Majesty's Woods, Forests, and Land Revenues. He thought it necessary to give a brief explanation of the views of his Majesty's Government in proposing this consolidation. It was the intention of Ministers, that for the future the Surveyor-general of Public Works should be one of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests; they proposed also to retain the services of the Deputy Surveyor of the Board of Works, who was an architect; in other respects considerable changes would be made in these departments. A great number of subordinate officers would be dispensed with, who were now employed at a considerable expense. It was intended for the future, that all articles furnished to the public buildings should be supplied by competition and contract, with the exception of the smaller articles, which would be furnished, as at present, by the Board of Ordnance. To some of the officers who would be thus displaced—namely, those who had given up the whole of their time and services to the duties of this department, and who had been employed in it for a considerable period, it would be necessary to give compensation. But that allowance was not to be given to those who had only been employed for a short period, or partially. He trusted this course would meet with the approbation of the House. In carrying this arrangement into effect, it was found necessary to apply to Parliament, because the accounts of the office of the Board of Works were audited by the Commissioners of Public Accounts, and those of the Woods and Forests by the Auditor of Land Revenues. It was proposed, that both should henceforward be audited by the Commissioners of Public Accounts, and that the place of Auditor of Land Revenues should be abolished. But, as the latter was a patent office, it was necessary that compensation should be given for its loss, and on that point the Government required the sanction of the House. He should move for leave to bring in a Bill for that purpose, and should propose, that the consideration of the proper allowance to be given as compensation should be decided by arbitrators, one to be chosen by the Commissioners of the Treasury, and the other by the patentee. The only other point to 148 which there was any necessity for him to allude at present, related to the valuable documents in the custody of the Land Revenue department, the preservation of which was alike important to the public and the Crown; and it would, therefore, be expedient to make some provision to take care of them. He believed, that the arrangement contemplated would be useful to the public, and he hoped, that there would be no objection to his bringing in a Bill to effect the proposed objects. The noble Lord concluded by moving for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the Acts, 10 Geo. 4th, c. 50, and 54 Geo. 3rd, c. 157, and for the purpose of uniting the office of the Surveyor-general of his Majesty's Works and Public Buildings with the office of the Commissioners of his Majesty's Woods, Forests, and Land Revenues.
said, he was anxious that the principle of consolidation should be carried into effect wherever it might be practicable, as he was convinced such a practice would lead to a considerable saving in the public expenditure, but he thought that it would have been better in this case to transfer the whole duties of the Board of Works to the Ordnance department; and that he was satisfied, might have been done without any increase of expense. It seemed to him, that the Commissioners of Woods and Forests could know nothing of public buildings, while the Board of Ordnance was fully in possession of all the necessary knowledge, and quite equal to the duty of taking care of them. That Board had a number of engineers attached to it, who were in full possession of the requisite knowledge, and the increase of their salaries, to allow them to perform the additional duties, would bear no proportion to the expense of a whole establishment of such persons, who would be required by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests to carry these new duties into execution. He therefore hoped his noble friends would take this subject into their further consideration, for he was convinced their great object was economy in the expenditure of the public money.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that the Board of Works was designed for the purpose principally of attending to the public buildings which were connected with Crown property, and his Majesty's Government thought that, as in the management of private property, the same individual should attend both to the land and the buildings upon it, so it ought to be with respect to the Crown property and the buildings upon it. For 149 this reason they proposed the incorporation of the Board of Public Works with that of the Woods and Forests, and he did not think, that this alteration would materially increase the expense of the management of the latter department, while a considerable saving would be effected in the office connected with the Land Revenue. Besides this advantage an individual responsibility would be secured, in the management of the business, by which he hoped the works undertaken would be better performed. He did not think, that the duties of the Board of Ordnance were analogous to those connected with the palaces belonging to the Crown, and he considered the arrangement proposed by his noble friend much better than that suggested by the hon. Gentleman.
said, that as the Board of Works had the superintendence of public buildings to the amount of 40,000l. or 50,000l. a year, including that House amongst the rest, he thought it would be better to transfer these duties to the Board of Ordnance, which Board, there were good reasons for believing, would be able to perform the duties most effectually, as it had already had the management of barracks, and other public buildings connected with them, and was provided with engineers and all necessary officers. That Board had the superintendence of the public buildings in Dublin, and he was at a loss to know what difference there could be between the repairs of palaces and other public offices belonging to the Government. No man approved more than he did of consolidation, but he hoped that no superannuation or compensation would be given until it had been first submitted to the Treasury, and by them submitted to that House.
said, that the only reason he had for objecting to the arrangement was, that he thought a permanent officer more likely to do the duty effectively than a removable officer, as the Commissioners of the Woods and Forests were, although he admitted that there was no reason to complain either of the present or the last persons who filled that office. He thought, that if the buildings now under the control of the Lord Chamberlain were placed under the same office, it would be a great saving and benefit to the public.
merely rose to observe, that the arrangement proposed, relating to the Lord Chamberlain's department, by the hon. member for Bridport, had been carried into effect some years ago.
§ Leave given, and Bill brought in and read a first time.