Head of the Civil Service.

Oral Answers to Questions — Government Departments. – in the House of Commons on 4th August 1942.

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Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Rugby

asked the Prime Minister whether he is now able to announce the Government's decision on recommendations made to him to separate the function of the control of the Civil Service from that of the Permanent Secretary of the Civil Service?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

This matter has been considered, and, as my hon. Friend will have seen, Sir Richard Hopkins, G.C.B., has been appointed as Permanent Secretary to the Treasury and Official Head of His Majesty's Civil Service.

Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Rugby

Are we to assume that the Government have completely rejected the idea of separating these two quite different functions, and, if that is so, will the right hon. Gentleman say so definitely?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The appointment made is as I have replied. The point the hon. Member has put was fully considered and rejected.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

Has the giving of this title of Head of the Civil Service to the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury any legal status, or is it done on the action of the Government?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

I do not think it is done under Statute, but I understand it has been in use for 70 years.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Has this official any control in the particular Department apart from supervising the finances?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

Obviously he does not control the Department. His duties in his position as Head of the Civil Service have been set out in great detail, I cannot set them all out now, but it is not a matter of detailed control of the Department.

Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Rugby

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the head of the Treasury is also head of the Establishments Division of the Treasury, and that the Establishments Division exercises very close control over all kinds of staff questions in all the Departments? Is he not further aware that Treasury control is regarded by administrators and staff alike as improperly vested in that Department and that it ought to be vested elsewhere?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

I am aware of the hon. Member's point of view.