Volunteers (Inspection of Work)

Oral Answers to Questions — Technical Co-Operation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th February 1964.

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Photo of Mr Francis Noel-Baker Mr Francis Noel-Baker , Swindon 12:00 am, 18th February 1964

asked the secretary for Technical Co-operation what steps he is taking to inspect the work of British volunteers and their projects in developing countries; and what reports he proposes to publish about them.

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

Staff of the voluntary societies which send out the volunteers make overseas visits for this purpose.

British Embassies and High Commissions keep in touch with the volunteers and their work and the British Council looks after the volunteers sent out by one of the societies, namely V.S.O.

Projects are settled by the Lockwood Committee and my Department in consultation on the request of overseas Governments.

With regard to reports, I recognise the interest of the House in this matter and I will be consulting the Lockwood Committee.

Photo of Mr Francis Noel-Baker Mr Francis Noel-Baker , Swindon

Does not the Minister agree that the bodies which he mentioned in the first part of his Answer, admirable though they are, are not always ideally qualified for inspecting work of this kind and there is a case for technically qualified inspection for this purpose? Is he aware that not only the House of Commons but the public at large is interested in and entitled to the fullest reports on the work of these volunteers both in order to ensure that knowledge of what they are doing is widespread and to encourage sufficient volunteers in the future?

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

The object of some of the recent arrangements I announced is to increase public knowledge and understanding. As regards inspection, we must bear in mind that we have no right to inspect these posts. The volunteers work for the Government of the countries to which they go. Continuing contact is, of course, kept by our own British posts abroad.