The Civil Service in Britain and France

By William A. Robson | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
THE COLONIAL SERVICE

By The RIGHT HON. A. CREECH JONES, M.P. (Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1946-50)

THE Secretary of State for the Colonies recently announced that as from 1st October 1954, the Colonial Service would be constituted Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service. The White Paper issued by the Colonial Office revealed the anxieties felt in the public services of the dependent territories, and the diffi- culties being experienced in London in the recruitment of young men and women essential for these services. A Service which has provided many remarkable men for the work of government in the Colonies and Protectorates, and which has worked for de- cades with great devotion and efficiency, is in danger of founder- ing because of the success of the policies it has encouraged and helped to apply. For well over a century it has carried exceptionally important responsibilities for the British Crown and today there still remain vast territories where its work is indispensable; but it is experiencing a crisis because of the con- ditions which have emerged in our contemporary world.

It was inevitable that the Service, such as it was in its early days, should consist of men appointed from Britain or recruited locally from the colonists. Later, members of the local popu- lation were more and more drawn into public work, but always it was necessary to draw from Britain young men for service in the administrative, professional and technical branches because of the inadequacy or unsuitability of the local resources. But the Colonial Service is a comparatively young Service, and from time to time efforts have been made to systematize and regular- ize it in relation to the whole field of public employment in the dependencies overseas. Less than sixty years ago the Service could not have been said to exist as a service in anything but name. Twenty-five years ago the men and women brought into the Service by the Colonial Office and recruited for the higher

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