Public Relations and Press Officers.

Oral Answers to Questions — Government Departments. – in the House of Commons on 28th July 1942.

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Mr. De la Bère:

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in all cases when appointments as Press, publicity or public relations officers to Government Departments are made, the Institute of Journalists, the National Union of Journalists, the Newspaper Pro- praetors Association, the Newspaper Society, and other professional bodies are consulted as to the qualifications of candidates; and whether he will consider setting up an independent selection panel, including representatives of these bodies, to advise upon any future appointments and upon the qualifications of present holders of such positions?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

The final selection of Press, publicity or public relations officers for Government Departments is and must remain the responsibility of the Departments concerned. The Appointments Department of the Ministry of Labour and National Service maintains a list of persons with qualifications for such appointments, and wherever a vacancy is notified the Appointments Department makes a selection of candidates, after consultation with the Journalists' Advisory Committee, which consists of members of the profession.

Mr. De la Bère:

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that this country has some of the finest journalists in the world? Why do we not make use of the very best we have? Further, is he not aware that this chaos, muddle and confusion will go on just as long as Departments are allowed to go on as haphazardly as they please?

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Is it not true that there are more journalists in Government Departments than on all the London newspapers?

Mr. De la Bère:

In view of the very unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter and probe it properly on the first possible opportunity. It is a matter not lightly to be dismissed; indeed, it cannot be dismissed at all.