Examination of Witnesses(Questions 140-158)|
TUESDAY 23 JULY 2002
PHILLIPS GCB, MR
CB AND MS
140. But it was not met.
(Ms Rowe) It was not met on that occasion. I am trying
to see if I have the relevant figures here or not.
(Sir Hayden Phillips) I see the point absolutely.
It is important to us that we do pay our bills on time, particularly
where you are dealing with small suppliers. We do have statistics
about this actually, I have not got them with me, about how well
we are performing. I am sorry to do this but if I could let you
have a note that indicates why the target was not met and what
our achievement rate actually was, I think that would be the best
way to help the Committee.
141. One thing the Home Office said was even
if a target was dropped that it would be reported on in future
years because otherwise one would just come up with a new set
of targets every year. It would be nice to see the Department
reporting upon how it is paying its invoices and how quickly and
how small businesses are being affected, even if it is not an
(Sir Hayden Phillips) I accept that. Just making the
comment that we had in earlier discussion, the issue of reporting
on past targets, even if they do not have them any more for performance,
is a good thing but at the same time we want also to simplify
and clarify the presentation. I think there may possibly be an
issue here between the difference between what is sensible to
put in the departmental reportthis is not a decided viewand
what we make available to the Committee for its investigation
into the performance of the Department.
142. With respect, I think it would be good
if every Department had this as a best practice target about paying
invoices on time.
(Sir Hayden Phillips) I agree.
143. So that it goes into the public domain
so that small business organisations can see how you are getting
on as well.
(Sir Hayden Phillips) I was not commenting on that
specific point, I agree with that. I do think there is an issue
about the presentation of reams and reams of figures and targets
in these reports which is worth looking at.
(Ms Rowe) Can I just make a point on that. There is
a target for every government department and we do report through
the Office of Government Commerce. I suspect the figures may appear
in a report that they produce.
(Sir Hayden Phillips) We will give you a note and
explain this. I am sorry about that.
Mr Cameron: Thank you very much.
144. One final point: freemasons, disclosure
by magistrates and members of the judiciary who are members of
the secret society. Where are we up to?
(Sir Hayden Phillips) Where are we up to? We are up
to a continuing reasonable story to tell both in relation to the
judiciary and the magistrates on a voluntary basis. For serving
magistrates we know that 4.6% of the total of serving magistrates
are Masons, 88% gave us information, only 12% refused on conscience
grounds to respond to the survey.
145. That is magistrates, is it?
(Sir Hayden Phillips) This is magistrates.
146. On what grounds?
(Sir Hayden Phillips) On conscience grounds. That
is what I am told. The position is that all new magistrates are
required to answer the question on the application form and all
first-time part-time and full-time appointees to judicial office
are required also to indicate whether they are Masons or not.
We have not had a problem so far with anyone refusing to do so.
147. At that stage they do not have a conscience
because they know they will not get the job if they do not answer
the question but this conscience develops later on once they have
been in the job, is that right?
(Sir Hayden Phillips) I take it from what you are
saying, Chairman, you rather approve of what we have done.
148. I do approve of what you have done although
personally I would go a step or two further. Let me put it to
you: those who decline to respond perhaps you ought to publish
the names. It is openness we are talking about here, there is
nothing wrong with being a Freemasonit is just nobody wants
to talk about it.
(Sir Hayden Phillips) We are taking the view that
as far as serving judges or magistrates are concerned, as this
was not a condition when they joined, we should do it on a voluntary
basis and that remains, I think, the Lord Chancellor's view. As
for publication or access, ministers have not decided that yet,
they are still thinking about it.
149. This is the longest piece of thinking.
(Sir Hayden Phillips) It is a very difficult matter.
There is an issue about whether to do that would actually be an
unreasonable interference in someone's right to privacy in this
area and that has to be taken into account. I am not saying that
is a conclusive view, I am saying the factors are the balance
in favour of openness on the one hand against individual rights
on the other against the background that at least in relation
to the magistracy and the judiciary we have a system that is working
and has been fully observed by all new entrants, which I think
150. Have you got some figures for the declarations
by new entrants?
(Sir Hayden Phillips) I have not got numbers for new
entrants. What I know is there have been no problems in the sense
that no-one has refused to make the declaration, but I can send
you the numbers.
151. Would you send us a note?8
(Sir Hayden Phillips) Ever since the compulsory requirement
has been in place.
8 See Ev 52-3.
152. Since the new system came in.
(Sir Hayden Phillips) Yes.
Chairman: Thank you.
153. That is magistrates but as regards other
judicial positions from the highest to the less high positions,
judges and so on, the new entrants, are they required to give
an answer whether they are Freemasons or not?
(Sir Hayden Phillips) Yes, they are. All new entrants
to the full-time or part-time judiciary at whatever level are
so required and we have had no-one yet who has refused.
154. Where existing magistrates have refused
to answer on the grounds of what is described as "conscience",
is there any follow-up where the Lord Chancellor's Department
writes back and suggests that since others have answered the question
there is no reason why they should not?
(Sir Hayden Phillips) We have not done that, to my
knowledge. The survey which I was referring to, as the Chairman
knows, was conducted in 1998. We asked people to do it on a voluntary
basis, we thought that was right at the time. Certainly I am willing
to consider discussing this again with the Lord Chancellor to
see whether we should do a further survey and ask those who had
not responded then whether they are prepared to because 88% of
their colleagues have.
155. Of magistrates?
(Sir Hayden Phillips) Of magistrates. I prefer not
to make a decisive conclusion on that but to take that away with
me and have a look at it.
156. Others in judicial positions who have refused
to answer the question, have you got any figures on that?
(Sir Hayden Phillips) As far as the judiciary are
concerned, as of 30 September 1999 86% had disclosed they were
non-Masons, that is the main figure I have got. I do not think
I can give you any more information than that at the moment.
157. So it is much the same as magistrates?
(Sir Hayden Phillips) It is very much the same sort
of rate of response from serving judiciary on a voluntary basis.
I take the point you are making both in relation to magistrates
and I assume to the other judiciary. I will go back and have a
word with the Lord Chancellor about it.
158. Thank you, that is fine. Sir Hayden, Ms
Rowe, Mr Magee, thank you very much for coming along, you have
been extremely helpful.
(Sir Hayden Phillips) Thank you.
6 See Ev 52. Back
According to earlier figures, 86% of Magistrates replied giving
their Masonic status in 1998; 2.4% did not disclose and 11.4%
did not reply. The figure of 88% represents the current figure
for the serving magistracy who have disclosed; the remaining 12%
is made up of those still serving who chose not to disclose previously
and those who did not reply. These figures are subject to revision
in the light of further analysis. Back