§ 35. Mr. Sydney Chapman
asked the Minister for the Civil Service for what areas of recruitment policy the Management and Personnel Office is responsible.
§ The Minister of State, Treasury (Mr. Barney Hayhoe)
The Management and Personnel Office has the central responsibility for all aspects of recruitment policy for the home Civil Service. However, it is for individual Departments to determine their own recruitment needs within those wider personnel management policies. The Civil Service Commission, which forms part of the MPO, undertakes the recruitment of staff to grades at broadly executive officer level and above; Departments themselves carry out recruitment to the more junior grades.
§ Mr. Chapman
I thank my hon. Friend for that information. As I understand that the number of civil servants has been reduced by more than 100,000 in the past five years, with very few forced redundancies, at least among non-industrial civil servants, is my hon. Friend satisfied with recruitment policies for the service, which presumably have been diminished, and which might inhibit that noble service in getting the right people for the right job?
§ Mr. Hayhoe
My hon. Friend is right to say that the Government have achieved their target of reducing numbers in the Civil Service by over 100,000 since we came into office in May 1979. In the non-industrial Civil Service, that has been done with few redundancies. The number of recruits has come down from about 64,700 in 1978 to 29,300 in 1983, and the number of people leaving the Civil Service voluntarily has also decreased.
§ Mr. Maxton
Has the Minister's Department undertaken any research into, and comparisons between, growth in the Civil Service and that of middle management in the private sector? If there has been research, will it be published? If not, will the Minister instruct the Department to carry it out?
§ Mr. Hayhoe
I am sure that the House will share the regret and concern of the Government that no appointment has yet been made for the head of the Government accountancy service. There have been exchanges between the Select Committee on the Treasury and Civil Service and the Government about that matter, and I understand that they are being pursued. Suitable candidates are being interviewed by the permanent secretary to the Treasury and the head of the home Civil Service, who advise my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on that appointment. I hope that they will be successful in getting the right candidate for that very important job.
§ Mr. Campbell-Savours
Have not the cuts in the Civil Service been made at a heavy cost to the state and its services? Is it not true that there are not enough Inland Revenue officers to cope with revenue arrears? Is it not the case that Customs and Excise officers cannot deal with the problems developing in our ports and in the collection of VAT, and that Department of Health and Social Security officers cannot deal with the confusion over supplementary benefit? Has not this exercise in reducing civil servant numbers damaged the interests of the state and of the British people and created greater confusion in Government Departments?