MPs release letters on Civil Service survey row

Chris Blackhurst@c_blackhurst
Wednesday 22 June 1994 23:02

(First Edition)

CONSERVATIVE and Opposition MPs banded together yesterday to release correspondence with a minister as part of a row over the Government's refusal to allow an attitude survey to be conducted among civil servants, writes Chris Blackhurst.

The unusual step was taken by the cross-party Treasury and Civil Service committee after William Waldegrave, the Civil Service and open government minister, refused permission for the survey.

MPs said the study was vital as part of its sub-committee's long-running inquiry into the role of civil servants. Mr Waldegrave and Sir Robin Butler, head of the Home Civil Service, objected on the ground that such an exercise would remove civil servants' traditional impartiality and lead to charges of politicisation.

In a letter to Giles Radice, the sub-committee chairman, Mr Waldegrave said: 'The results of a survey on the lines proposed would inevitably be used on the party political battlefield.'

The sub-committee proposed to ask 18 questions, such as: 'Do you believe that the factors which led you to join the Civil Service remain valid?' Mr Waldegrave said: 'Clearly the results would provide scope for political use to be made in trends of perceptions'.

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