General Manager's Report on Staffing - 1924

At a Special Meeting of the Bank's General Purposes Sub-Committee held at the Council House on January 22nd 1924, the members present (Messrs Appleby; George Cadbury Jnr: Simpson; Gelling; Higgins; and Poole) considered the following report submitted by the Bank's General Manager, J P Hilton:


General Manager's Report on the Staff



During the year the following changes have taken place:-

Resignations              Misses Griffiths and McKee, on marriage

                                   L H Shipton for reasons of health, another situation having been found for him

                                   J McQuire, not suitable after trial

Appointments           H Watson     Stationery Clerk and Chauffeur

                                   E R Jennings             )

                                   S E Dawes                )

                                   W J Woollons            )          Junior Clerks

                                   J T Bayliss                 )

                                   R H Plester                )


                                   M I Abel                     )

                                   D Gregory                  )          Lady Clerks

                                   H K D Wilkins            )


The staff now comprises 33 Males, 25 Females, 19 Juniors, Total 77


Health of the Staff

There does not appear to be much change in the health of Mr Hawkins, and it is unlikely that he will be able to rejoin the staff. Miss Blackwell has had a serious breakdown, and at present is away from duty on special leave sanctioned by the Committee. With these exceptions, there has been a marked improvement in the general health of the staff which is particularly noticeable during cold seasons. This improvement can be attributed to the more satisfactory premises provided and the better heating arrangements introduced.


Holiday Arrangements

There was naturally dislocation of work during the holidays which extended from May to November. This is inevitable, unless a suitable reserve staff is carried. It has not been the practice of the bank to carry a reserve staff, and there are serious objections to doing so, but it will be necessary to make better provision in this respect for the present year. There are more Branches to cater for and considerably more business, and at the same time as Head Office is being pressed to provide staff for Branches, Head Office itself is faced with an increasing business.


Junior Clerks' Educational Scheme

This scheme is one of the pleasing features in connection with staff matters. The youths are not only keen in their attendances at the classes selected for them during the winter months, but the reports from the Education Department of their term work and the results of the examinations indicate that an excellent type of youth is in the service.


Training of Branch Managers

The policy adopted by the Committee of giving each Branch Manager three months' training at Head Office has proved beneficial. Not only has it enabled one to correct little errors, but it has afforded an opportunity of judging the capabilities of the different Managers. Reports have from time to time been considered by the Committee, and the Managers have been graded with the exception of three (Messrs Smith, Crump, and Cheatle). Mr Smith is now undergoing his period of training and Messrs Crump and Cheatle will follow in due course, and as each finishes his period the reports will be considered.


Professional and other examinations

At the request of the Salaries, Wages, & Labour Committee the Chief Officials of the Corporation have had, for some time, under consideration the question of certificates which should be recognised by the Corporation and for which the Staffs should be encouraged to study. They have now recommended that the following should be recognised, and that on the final certificate being obtained in respect of any one of them a grant of 25 should be made, except in the case of a University Degree where the grant should be 35, viz:-


1 Institute of Bankers

2 Chartered Institute of Secretaries

3 London Association of Accountants

4 Institute of Municipal Treasurers and Accountants

5 Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors

6 Institute of Cost and Works Accountants

7 National Association of Local Government Officers

8 London University Degree


1 Institute of Mechanical Engineers

2 Institute of Electrical Engineers

3 Royal Institute of British Architects

4 Institute of Cleansing Superintendents

5 Institute of Municipal and County Engineers

6 City and Guilds of London Institute,

           (a) Gas Engineering

            (b) Gas Supply


It will of course be for each Committee to determine from the list which particular Institute, Society, etc, they are prepared to recognise in the manner recommended, and after conferring with the Chairman thereon the General Manager recommends, so far as the Bank Staff is concerned, that the Institute of Bankers be recognised. Much of the syllabus of this Institute has a direct bearing on the work of the Bank, and the lectures given under such syllabus will be of assistance to the staff in understanding more clearly what is expected of them in the daily discharge of their duties. The other Institutes and organisations do not, in the opinion of the Chairman and General Manager, as directly affect the work of the Bank as the Institute of Bankers, and at present there is no need to extend the recognition beyond that Institute. It is further recommended that the holding of the final certificate of the Institute of Bankers be a necessary qualification in future appointments of Branch Managers. Many members of the Staff are already taking the course of lectures under Part 1 of the Institute which includes the Practice and Law of Banking.


The General Manager will submit to the meeting a report by the Head Office of the School of Commerce on the work and progress during the present Session.


Social Gatherings

The practice instituted two years ago of holding periodical gatherings of the officers has again met with satisfactory support. The fact that the Branch Bank system tends to detachment of staffs makes it all the more necessary to hold these gatherings where, for the time being, business can be forgotten. Much of the success of the Bank can be attributed to the interest of the staff in their work, which interest has been encouraged by these gatherings. The General Manager wishes to express his appreciation of the support given to the movement by the Chairman.


Discharge of Duties

Generally, there has been little cause for complaint  as to the way the duties have been discharged by the individual members of the staff. There have been one or two cases where the Chairman and General Manager have felt it necessary to impress upon the officers concerned the great importance of studying and adhering to the instructions laid down by the management, and the necessity of making themselves more proficient.



On the 30th April last the Committee approved of adjustments in salary to certain officers being spread over a number of years, which adjustments automatically take effect on the 1st April each year, and there is no necessity to consider these cases again.


Similarly, under original agreements, certain officers are entitled to automatic increases on the 1st April each year. There is no necessity to consider these cases again.


The following adjustments have been decided upon by the Chairman and General Manager under the authority vested in them by Minute No. 1337 passed on the 29th January 1923, Viz:-


Grade             Officer          Present          Max. salary    Adjustment of

                                               salary             according

                                                                      to Grade         Salary   



C (2)     Mr Ladbrooke         265               300                  To reach the minimum rate by

                                                                                               annual instalments of 20, 7 and 8,

                                                                                              commencing from 1st April 1924


                       Mr Rees         240                300                 To reach the minimum rate by

                                                                                               annual instalments of 20,

                                                                                               commencing from 1st April 1924


                       Mr Bennett    232                 300                To reach the minimum rate by

                                                                                               annual instalments of 28, 20 and 20,

                                                                                               commencing from 1st April 1924



On the 28th May 1923 Mr H B Davis was placed in Grade C (3) and his existing agreements allowed to remain in force. The General Manager at that time advised such grading, as he wished to have a little further experience of Mr Davis. He is now satisfied that Mr Davis ought to be placed in the higher grade C (2) and recommends such promotion, and further that he reach the Minimum salary for the grade (300) by annual instalments of 33, 33 and 32, commencing from the 1st April 1924 and that his existing agreement be terminated.

On the 29th January 1923 Mr J E Chapman was placed in Grade C (3) on appointment at a salary of 235 per annum. At the time of his appointment it was felt that, having regard to his previous position in the Gas Department, he merited a higher classification, but it was desired to have 12 months' experience before making a definite recommendation. This officer has shown marked ability, and the General Manager has no hesitation in now submitting that he should be promoted to Grade C, division 2; and that he reach the minimum salary for the grade (300) by annual instalments of 22, 22, and 21, commencing from the 1st April 1924.


Confirmation of Appointments

The following female clerks having completed a satisfactory probationary period are now recommended to be placed in Grade C as and from the 1st April 1924, and that their salaries be adjusted from the date named as follows:-


Officer                                   Present          Minimum       Increase

                                  Salary             for Grade       recommended


M I Abel                        75                    85                      10

H K D Wilkins                75                   85                      10             

D Gregory                    75                    85                      10

N A Plant                      75                    85                      10


Merit Advances

The Salary List will be submitted to the meeting, when the Committee will have an opportunity of considering any proposals put forward.


Position of Staff.

Apart from the absence through prolonged illness of Miss Blackwell and Mr Hawkins, the staff is below reasonable strength, and steps have been taken to ease the situation by the engagement of female and junior clerks, but this will not altogether meet the position which arises from the increase and contemplated increase in the number of Branch Banks.


The placing of the present staff are as follows:-


Branch    Males Females     Youths
Aston 2 1 1
Aston Cross 1 1
Balsall Heath 1 1 1
Bearwood 1 1
Duddeston 1 1 1
Erdington 1 1
Handsworth 1 1 1
Kings Heath 1 1
Ladywood 2 1
Lozells 1 2
Rotton Park 1 1 1
Saltley 1 1
Selly Oak 1 1
Small Heath 1 1 3
Sparkbrook 3 1 1
Sparkhill 1 1
Stirchley 1 1
Reserved for Hockley 1 1
Reserved for Harborne 1 1
Head Office -
   (House Purchase) 1 1 2
    (Accounts, etc) 1 1
    (Typists, etc) 4 1
    (Branch) 2 3 2
   (Relief Branch Managers) 2
    (Chauffeur) 1
    (Superintendents) 2
                      Total 31 25 19

The Head Office staff for the Branch, as such, will be seen to be 2 males, 3 females, and 2 youths. This is insufficient to carry on the work, and for some months it has been possible to do so only by using staff in other sections whose work has gone behind, and by working extra hours. This situation will be eased to some extent by the 1st February, when additional female and junior clerks will be available, though for some time they will not be of great value, being unfamiliar with the work.


Head Office is called upon to provide reliefs for sickness in respect of 10 Branches where only two officers are employed. In addition Head Office has to  find assistance for Evening Branches.


When the holiday period arrives, and this follows quickly after the Annual Balance, the position becomes worse. From May to November the holidays are on, and an average of 9 are away. Head Office loses the services of 2 clerks for 10 weeks, or one clerk for 20 weeks.


The present difficulty which we have to overcome is that we have an excellent staff of youths from 16 to 22 years of age, who each year gain in experience, and in their latter stages are more valuable than outside men are ever likely to become, and it would be unfair to the youths to make appointments to senior positions just now and prejudice their chances. Further, it should be carefully watched that the taking on of outside men does not result in youths becoming redundant at 21 years of age.


It therefore becomes necessary to make an appointment of a male clerk as early as possible, and the General Manager recommends that the matter be left in the hands of the Chairman and himself. It is undesirable to make the appointment of a Branch Manager, but it may be desirable to appoint a person as Relief Branch Manager, and preference should be given to those who now assist the bank during evening hours and who occupy posts in other Departments.