The Expert in the Civil Service


    CERTAIN important considerations in connexion with the position of the expert in the Civil Service are raised by the retirement of Sir Frank Baines from the position of Director of Works to His Majesty's Office of Workers. Some months ago Sir Frank Baines was approached by a former First Commissioner of Works, Sir Alfred Mond, to undertake the construction of a headquarters on a site in Westminster for the Imperial Chemical Industries, Ltd. Sir Frank Baines applied formally for permission to add to his responsibilities in this way, and, following precedent, this permission was granted. Later, certain members of parliament discovered that the new building involved an outlay approaching one million pounds, and asked if an architect carrying out such a contract could devote his proper attention to his duties as a civil servant. The official reply to the first question, put on May 26, was to the effect that the Government had no right to interfere with the spare time activities of a civil servant, arid that this particular contract would not militate against the efficient performance of Sir Frank Baines' official duties. Within a month the Government came to the conclusion that its Director of Works should either cancel his contract with Imperial Chemical Industries or retire from the Civil Service, although, as it was stated by the Government spokesman, Capt. Hacking, there was no suggestion that the work in connexion with the undertaking had so far interfered with the director's official duties.

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    The Expert in the Civil Service. Nature 120, 285–286 (1927).

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