Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Service – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th July 1974.

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Photo of Mr Robert Redmond Mr Robert Redmond , Bolton West 12:00 am, 29th July 1974

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he is satisfied with the terms of reference and powers of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Robert Sheldon Mr Robert Sheldon Minister of State (Civil Service Department)

The Government are always ready to consider any recommendations on these matters which the Select Committee on the Parliamentary Commissioner may wish to make.

Photo of Mr Robert Redmond Mr Robert Redmond , Bolton West

I thank the Minister for that interesting reply. Is he aware that under paragraph 10(3) of Schedule 3 to the Parliamentary Commissioner Act the Ombudsman is specifically debarred from examining personnel matters, which include superannuation? An important point that I put to the Ombudsman on behalf of a constituent suffering from maladministration due to printing delays had to be turned down by the Ombudsman, who reminded me that the Select Committee had recommended the Minister to lay an order giving the Parliamentary Commissioner powers from which he is debarred by the sub-paragraph to which I have referred.

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , West Derbyshire

Will the Minister examine the position whereby the Ombudsman cannot consider redundancies among civil servants at local government level to see whether they are right? There have been such redundancies in Derbyshire but the Ombudsman was not allowed to look into them.

Photo of Mr Robert Sheldon Mr Robert Sheldon Minister of State (Civil Service Department)

The purpose of the Parliamentary Commissioner is to investigate maladministration by Government Departments. Three local government commissioners for England and Wales have been named so far.

Photo of Mr Peter Rost Mr Peter Rost , Derbyshire South East

When will the Parliamentary Commissioner be able to investigate complaints against the nationalised industries? Many of the complaints I receive concern bad service by nationalised industries or nationalised industry pensions. Will not this matter be increasingly important if the Labour Party plans to make us all nationalised?

Photo of Mr Robert Sheldon Mr Robert Sheldon Minister of State (Civil Service Department)

Complaints about industry are not confined to nationalised industries. There are problems about all industries. If there is to be an extension of the work of the Parliamentary Commissioner, the Select Committee might consider these matters.