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 1959 Review
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Directorate of Telecommunications

In July 1959 a six page minute was sent from Mr. W.H. Cornish to Sir Charles Cunningham (believed to have been the Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Home Office), seeking a decision regarding the continued existence of the Home Office Wireless Organisation, which had been under review for some years.

The minute outlined the current position, in particular drawing attention to the fact that the organisation remit had extended past its inception to support the police service and now encompassed the fire service and civil defence. Funding arrangements had become complicated as a consequence as it involved local authorities as well as the Home Office and Treasury.

Of the three possible options put forward in the minute conclusions, the preferred course of action appeared to be one of continued support to the organisation, whilst making the effort to raise the standards of service within the Directorate by implementing the introduction of new equipment promptly and investigating the feasibility of implementing preventative maintenance.

The report clearly highlights the irritation to senior civil servants regarding the continued review of the Directorate and that in his reply to Mr. Cornish dated 18th August 1959, Sir Charles Cunningham agreed with his preferred course of action in the minute conclusion (para 12.ii) should be followed. He also went on to express the view that there were stronger arguments for the continued existence of a nationally operated service in support of the police, fire and civil defence, rather than a denationalised approach, that would either leave the Home Office with a weaker organisation, or resulting in  widely differing efficiency standards to the three services.  He concluded that the present arrangements should kept in place, whilst ensuring the scheme was being operated efficiently and economically.

Martin Swift for the document

page updated: 15/03/19

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