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May-June 1977 Information Circulars

As luck(?) would have it, I have about my person a volume of HMSO Information Circulars from 1977-1978, and nothing better to do than to provide the eager reader with the following extract from the editions which arrived in every In-tray during the months of May and June 28 years ago.

I/C 23/77 dated 4 May 1977 kicked off by informing us that HS Williams, formerly Compositor, Harrow Press, had been awarded the Imperial Service Medal. This was followed by the sad news of the death of Tommy Taylor, HEO Belfast (he worked in Atlantic House in the 1960s, and died suddenly on a golf course in his native Edinburgh). Ian Armstrong, EO, became Executive Assistant to the Controller, succeeding Phil Gainsborough, who transferred to Supplies. Mrs MA Hawkins continued as Controller’s Personal Secretary. Mrs Jackie Langlois, EO (Finance) was promoted to HEO (Supplies) and an advert appeared for applications for the post of Director, Northern Ireland (Principal).

The usual admonitory notices were included: Use of Official Telephones for Private Calls; Economy in the Use of Envelopes; Correct Addressing of Correspondence; Interest rates for Trading and Cost Accounts; Meal Allowances, Non-Industrial Staff (increased from 75p to 85p); Files Required. Several people were successful in their First Aid Courses (if you fall over in London Street, pray that Judy Tassell is around and has not forgotten her kiss-of-life skills). Various staff changes were listed: Mrs DK Dukes (PD) was promoted to EO; Mrs BA Robbins and Mrs SM Stuart (PS) to Personal Secretary; Peter Wilde (PS) to EO.

The Norwich Supplement lead on Use of Official Telephones by Visitors, followed by HMSO Staff Horticultural Society (Secretary Tom Parslow, Annual Show Secretaries Philip Blyth and Glenys Dole) and Sovereign Singers (Librarian Phil Storey). Ballroom Dancing Classes were organised by Archibald Campbell ‘Jock’ Barr and the Sovereign House Jigsaw Club by Mrs E Cosgrave. There was a Blood Donor Session, and Ken Elphick gave an illustrated talk on Tristan da Cunha. The Sovereign House Table Tennis Club was thriving. Letter and Parcel Bombs were still a threat, and the Queen’s Birthday Holiday still a privilege. The National Whitley Council Memorandum of Agreement went into some detail. At the time, the Assistant Secretary (Director level) Maximum was £11,000.

Senior Staff Changes included the retirement of HW Leader, to be succeeded by BCE Lee on promotion to Senior Principal. HV Roe OBE, M Inst PS, also retired, and his duties were split between DTJ Rutherford who became Director of Accounts and DJ Balls on promotion to Senior Principal as Director of Planning and Finance. FE Davey was to retire later in the year, to be succeeded by DC Dashfield OBE, MVO. KA Allen and WD Bissett were to take up appointments as Director of Works and Director of Technical Services respectively. The Senior Principal post of Director of Reprographic Services was forfeited, responsibility falling to AM Foote. EJ Deller was also to retire, resulting in AA Smith’s promotion to AS as Director of Print Procurement. JJ Cherns was appointed Director of London Region.

I/C 27/77 dated 11 May 1977 announced an Interview Board to select Personal Clerks, chaired by CJ Penn ADPS6, GG Robbie CTO, Miss VY Bailey S19. Notices included Leave Pay in Advance; Claims for Travelling; Trawl notices for several Departments etc. NR Veitch PP Edinburgh was promoted HTO and PJ Wright to HTO, Printing Works. An interview board to select HEOs resulted in success for JH Childs Rep Norvic House, H Currie Supplies, ME Gigg Publications, Mrs WB Jenkins Publications, LGH Porteous PMA. KB Odle was appointed OMTS Foreman, Cornwall House. A teleprinter operator was required for Norwich, at a basic adult rate of £38.77 per week. Files were still required — did they ever find CNB 1583 (Standing Arrangement 9274, Admel Division of Addressograph-Multigraph)? JH Payne SEO was transferred from Works to Rep; Miss MM Pinnock changed her status to Mrs MM Carver and Miss AC Smith to Miss AC Chilvers. TA Roberts retired as OMTS Foreman in London.

The long-awaited Identification of Posts to be Dispersed was issued on 19 May. ‘It is proposed that all the posts in the Cornwall House Laboratory will be dispersed when the new Crown building in Botolph Street, Norwich is ready; this cannot be before 1982/83. The total of 301 posts in the list for the 1978 dispersal, plus 37 posts in Laboratory for later dispersal, falls short of the total of 380 posts for dispersal to which HMSO remains committed. The balance will be identified later when the Main Distribution Centre project for the distribution of publications and the related accounting work matures.’ Dispersal Branch officers working to JR Wilson were nominated as HJ Teedon, HA Barrie, Miss CA Watson, GAJ Toner. Total staff to be dispersed to Norwich in 1978 were: Admin 12; Publishing 67; Graphic Design 22; Supply 6; Rep Services 11; CRS 14; PP43; Tech 29; Works HQ 38; Work Study 8; PS 42.

Back down to earth, the Sovereign House Car Users Club required renewal of season tickets (apply to Mrs EE Saunders) and the Sovereign Club (Secretary Mrs J Rose) arranged a trip to the Shuttleworth Collection. ISMs were awarded to EE Morriss, formerly Works Overseer SSPP, and TGE Smith, formerly Bookbinder, British Museum Bindery. The deaths of WD McNeill TO Edinburgh and HS Wheeler, Warehouseman SSPP, were announced with deep regret. FR Payne SEO Supply was promoted to Principal, becoming Director, Management Services vice DJ Balls. JR Allen, SEO PS, transferred to Supply vice Mr Payne, and JH Eason HEO was promoted to SEO vice Mr Allen. JN Palmer SEO (Tech) was promoted to Principal (Tech) vice JH Hynes OBE who was to retire. RS Roberts SEO (Tech) Gateshead Press transferred to PP vice Mr Palmer, and E Downs HTO was promoted vice Mr Roberts. An interview board to select Assistant Supervisors of Duplicator Operators selected Mrs J Day, Mrs MJ Richardson and Mrs RR Wright (who was working at RB Reading). A board to select EOs was announced, with AM Foote Chairman and FR Payne and Miss EM Coyle board members. 28 people were interviewed.

We were told how to use British Rail Parcel service; how to dispose of classified waste paper (no pernicious contraries!); and how to requisition on form Est 583a books and periodicals to be used as desk aids. The welcome (?) news that ‘Subject to the usual legal formalities, the Gas Board have accepted the PSA offer for the site of the Nine Elms Lane in Wandsworth on which HMSO proposes to build the new Publications Main Distribution Centre . . . the building is not now expected to be ready for occupation until some time in 1981).

I/C 31/77 dated 1 June 1977 announced the promotions to CO of Mrs V Bailey (Bristol) and Mrs S Dunn (Edinburgh) and boards announced to select Technical Officers and a Senior Personal Secretary (salary scale £2505-£3205 pa). Under the Staff Suggestions Scheme DP Freeman, WOIII Harrow press, was awarded £100 for his suggestion for the installation and setting of back perforator blades on the knife cylinder in the folders of S&H Rotaries. ‘By command of Her Majesty the Queen, Silver Jubilee Medals have been awarded to 34 members of HMSO.’ Names included Teresa Bridget Cremmins, Mabel Florence Denton, George Douglas Macaulay, Alexander Lamb McLeod, Margaret Dorothy Neill, Robert Fielding Norris, William Ross, Louis Basil Woodhouse. HW Leader (D Publishing) was awarded OBE and E Nolan (PO Belfast) BEM. Among promotions to CO in London were MW Trigg and Miss R Hutson. The HEO (A) scheme was announced ‘to identify outstanding officers for intensive training and testing experience with a view to becoming Principals in 2 or 3 years’ time. Were Eric Bone and Mick Moore HMSO’s only two candidates?

‘In a statement in the House of Commons on 5 May 1972 the then Prime Minister said ‘HMSO remains a separate Department, and will continue to undertake the printing, publishing and marketing of Government publications and the supply to Government Departments of office machinery, stationery and other office equipment. The Controller will be responsible for developing the application of accountable management to his organisation, and the introduction of systems appropriate to a trading organisation.’ The lengthy i/c note went on to describe the new Management Accounting Systems. Officers leaving the department included FG Banham PO in Finance; RTL Potts, HEO in PS(L) and CR Salter Accountant PMA. Den Moss was put in charge of the new Industrial Payroll Implementation Team. A sad note declared that ‘Response to the offer of an evening course in Action Centred Leadership was insufficient to organise a course, and therefore none will now be run.’ An interview board to select HTOs was announced. RH Chisholm Chairman, TJ Soutar and JN Palmer board members, with 24 victims(‘unsuccessful on this occasion’) and GA James, ST Edwards, TE Morgan, AG Ramsay, PR Vivian and T Whiston, who were buying the drinks when the results were announced in July. There was also a CO Limited Competition, held by written examination plus interview.

As a result of the retirement of FE Davey as Head of Publishing, GB Furn Senior Principal, Rep., became Director of the new Office Services Division; AM Foote Head of Reprographic Services Resource Planning; MD Lynn SEO Manchester promoted to Principal vice Mr Foote; WS Porter Principal, Supply transferred to Finance and Planning vice BCE Lee, CE Harrold SEO, Supply promoted to Principal vice Mr Porter; AA Smith HEO, Supply promoted to SEO vice Mr Harrold. Mrs IG Williamson EO Supply, was promoted to HEO. Successful candidates for Personal Clerks (Norwich) were Miss S Young, Miss JA Dean, Mrs L Hignett, Mrs GA McColl, Mrs GS Russell-Davis. The deaths of B Cooper, Harrow Press, HF Deering, SSPP, FS Turner, Pubns, and FW Tyler, Harrow Press, Mrs EM Regens Personal Secretary, Supply and HW Tinsdale, Drury Lane Press were announced.

I think, at 1685 words, that is enough for now. One thing that stands out is the number of promotion opportunities there were around in those days. Not the same since privatisation, I understand.
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