Research Associations (Management-Staff Relations)

Oral Answers to Questions — Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st May 1963.

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Photo of Mrs Judith Hart Mrs Judith Hart , Lanark 12:00 am, 21st May 1963

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science if he will make it a condition of grant aid to research associations that they shall satisfy him that machinery for ensuring good management-staff relations exists.

Photo of Mrs Judith Hart Mrs Judith Hart , Lanark

Can the hon. Gentleman give a good reason for that answer? Is not it entirely reasonable that where we are spending a considerable amount of public money we should satisfy ourselves that the minimal management-staff relationships exist, that appeals against dismissal are guaranteed and that in the research association to which we contribute tribunals do not give damning indictments of relationships which exist at the present time?

Photo of Mr Denzil Freeth Mr Denzil Freeth , Basingstoke

With regard to the wider point, the management of research associations are responsible to their councils and directors. It is a condition of receiving grants that they should be capable of carrying out research programmes effectively, which would not be possible if management-staff relations were poor. With regard to the case about which the hon. Lady and I have corresponded, one has to remember that the principal criterion which may be adopted by a National Insurance tribunal may not always be exactly the same as the criterion which may be adopted by an individual employer and employee.

Photo of Dr Jeremy Bray Dr Jeremy Bray , Middlesbrough West

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this is a more widespread difficulty than his reply would seem to suggest? Will he look into the relationships of the staff and the technical direction of research in some of the larger research associations?

Photo of Mr Denzil Freeth Mr Denzil Freeth , Basingstoke

If the hon. Gentleman has any particular research association in mind, naturally I will take up the matter.

Photo of Mrs Judith Hart Mrs Judith Hart , Lanark

Has not the Parliamentary Secretary in correspondence with me already replied that he is not prepared to look at individual cases because administration is entirely a matter for the management?

Photo of Mr Denzil Freeth Mr Denzil Freeth , Basingstoke

That is true. But I am capable of passing on a letter from an hon. Member, which naturally would receive careful attention, to the directors of research associations.