Press and Information Officers

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Service – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd February 1972.

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Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler , Nottingham South 12:00 am, 2nd February 1972

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether he is satisfied with the present distribution between Departments of Government Press and information officers; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr David Howell Mr David Howell , Guildford

The strength of information staff engaged on publicity and Press office work is primarily a matter for individual Ministers. The review which I mentioned in the reply to my hon. Friend on 25th May last will be completed shortly. If my hon. Friend is comparing staff between Departments he may find it useful to have the figures of the total staff in Departments' information divisions rather than the staff engaged on particular functions, as given in my reply on 25th May. I will, with permission, circulate the information in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler , Nottingham South

While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him whether he would not agree that there is a most extraordinary discrepancy in the facts that he has given? Is he aware that the Defence Department has 139 Press and information officers yet a major Department like the Home Office can get on with under 20?

Photo of Mr David Howell Mr David Howell , Guildford

I do not think the discrepancy is quite as bad as my hon. Friend may think. What he may have missed is that information staff includes people doing publicity, recruitment, advertising, exhibitions, general internal information, making films and a variety of other information services. Different Departments have quite different needs and these are reflected in the figures.

Following is the information:

Total Information Branch Posts at 1st December, 1971
10 Downing Street11
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food102
Cabinet Office3
Civil Service Department45
Customs and Excise3
Defence (excluding PE)272*
Defence (Procurement Executive)25
Education and Science40
Export Credits Guarantee Department6
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (News Department)24
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Overseas Development Administration)15
Health and Social Security47
Home Office27
Inland Revenue4
National Savings50
Posts and Telecommunications7
Privy Council Office1
Scottish Office30
Trade and Industry (including Metrication Board)125
Treasury and sub-departments24
Welsh Office24
Inquiry Offices and Departmental Libraries, where they form part of the Information Branch, are not included.
* Includes 133 posts in United Kingdom Commands.