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PRODUCTION STATEMENT. 7. Of 19,406 lbs. of Gunpowder R.F.G.2 manufactured at Waltham, 14,410 lbs. were Cost of Gunpowder priced at £5 88. 93d. per 100 lbs., as compared with £3 18. Ojd, in 1904–5, and 4,996 lbs manufactured at were accepted as Blank F.G. New at £2 14s. 8!d. per 100 lbs. (page 408). I am informed that the high price of R.F.G.2 was mainly due to the fact that the whole quantity had to be re-worked after rejection. After re-working, 4,996 lbs. were not considered sufficiently good for acceptance as R.F.G.2, but were accepted as blank at the rate for Blank F.G. New, and the difference between their value at this rate and the actual cost of their manufacture was spread over the cost of the quantity accepted as R.F.G.2. It is also stated that all the Waltham Abbey prices were adversely affected by the restricted output in 1905-6.
8. My attention has been drawn to the considerable reduction that has been effected Rate-fixing Branch. in the piece-work prices for operations in the Royal Carriage Department. The improvement is attributed to a change in the method of fixing piece-work rates. This duty, which had previously been carried out by Principal Foremen, subject to the supervision of the Manager and the approval of the Superintendent, is now performed by a specially constituted Rate-fixing Branch composed of selected men who are stated to have a complete and up-to-date mastery of their trades and the accessories thereof.
The piecework prices for new jobs are settled upon a proper scientific basis before the work is taken in hand, due regard being had to all the features of the particular job. Old prices are reviewed as occasion serves, and confirined or altered. The branch has also to decide on the most efficient and economical way in which the work is to be done, to design tools, jigs, gauges, and templates, to consult with the Drawing Office as to the economical aspect of designs, to advise as to the cheapest material suitable, and to assist in demanding it in the best way. It is satisfactory to learn, also, that, under the new system, the men have been able to earn their full money without difficulty and without complaint.
OVERTIME.- BUILDING WORKS DEPARTMENT. 9. In the course of the examination it was noticed that a large amount of overtime Excessive Overtina was continuously worked by the Office Staff of the Building Works Department. It appeared that throughout the year an average of between 12 and 13 men worked over two hours overtime each per diem, the total overtime recorded amounting to 8,302 hours. One man worked 34 hours overtime in a particular week; two cases of over 32 hours and 14 cases of from 20 to 27 hours were also noticed.
In reply to my inquiry on the subject, the Army Council have informed me that the question has been referred to a Committee which has recently been appointed to inquire generally into the staff and duties of the Building Works Department, and that a further communication will be addressed to me when that Committee has completed its investigation.
ALLOCATION OF WAGES IN BUILDING WORKS DEPARTMENT. 10. An independent check on the allocation of wages is secured by means of work- System of Work
takers in Building takers in all the Departments at Woolwich with the exception of the Building Works Works Department Department. This exception was the subject of correspondence between my Depart- impractienble. ment and the War Office in 1902–3, when I was informed that the introduction of
any work-taking system had so far been found impracticable, but that, if further experience should modify this view, the point would not be lost sight of. In reply, however, recent inquiry whether the question had been reconsidered, the War Office state that it has not been found practicable to introduce a system of work-taking into the Building Works Department, as the conditions of work are unsuitable, such a system being only applicable when the men employed are concentrated in one place. In the Building Works Department, it is contended, the men are so scattered and move so frequently that a very considerable portion of the work-taker's time would be occupied in tracing
The efficacy of the system of work-taking, both in securing a reliable account of work done and wages earned, and in assisting to obtain from the men a fair day's work in return for their wages, is, I think, generally acknowledged, and it is regrettable that the system is found to be inapplicable to accounts of this character, which lend themselves to manipulation for the purpose of adjusting expenditure to estimate.
Extent of Stocktaking, 1905-6.
STOCKTAKING. 11. The usual independent stocktaking of Ordnance Factory Stores by representatives of the Director-General of Army Finance was carried out in 1905-6, and covered items. of stock at the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield, the Royal Gun Factory, Waltham Abbey, the Brennan Torpedo Factory, and the Central Stores, Woolwich. The discrepancies disclosed were comparatively small.
Stock was also taken by Ordnance Factories' Officers at Woolwich, Enfield, and Birmingham.
Surplus of Teak
At Woolwich a considerable surplus of Teak Scantling was discovered, the actual stock being 20,905 cubic feet, value £5,251, as compared with the ledger charge of 5,998 cubie feet, value £1,539. The discrepancy is attributed mainly to an inaccurate method of measuring issues, the cubic contents having been arrived at by stocking the scantling upon a truck and taking the overall measurements of the pile. The issue as recorded in the ledger was consequently in excess of the actual quantity issued. It appears that stock had not previously been taken of this scantling, which was first obtained from contractors in 1899. I understand that improved methods of measurement have now been adopted.
Surplus of Coal at Entield.
The stock of coal at Enfield was found to be in excess of the quantity on ledger charge to the extent of 1,900 tons, value £1,258 158., and in explanation it is stated that the contractors probably sent in quantities in excess of those charged for, and that the issues to the boiler houses were in some cases less than the quantities written off. Stock had not been taken since 1890-91. The Superintendent proposes to make arrangements for a periodical stocktaking in future, and to have the weight of issues frequently checked.
The method adopted at Woolwich for verifying stocks of coal was explained to the Committee last year (Questions 5050-52, Minutes of Evidence), and I am informed that the question of issuing definite regulations as to the receipt and issue of coal, and the verification of stocks at all the Factories, is under consideration by the War Office.
At Enfield stock was taken of machinery in view of the necessity for converting a large number of machines to meet the altered requirements of the Factory, the last previous stocktaking of machinery having been carried out in 1897; and as a result machinery to the value of £189 16s. ld. was found deficient, and a surplus valued at £1,435 was brought on charge. It appears that no regulations exist for the periodical inspection of machinery on charge, but I have recently been informed that the general question of stocktaking of machinery will be considered.
Machinery Stock taking, Enfield.
Agreement with Credits shown under Appropriaticns in aid of the Vote.
CREDITS IN THE BALANCE SHEET. 12. I append the usual statement showing the agreement between the Credits in the Balance Sheet and those in the Appropriation Account of the Ordnance Factories.
Appendix (page 469.)
John A. Kempe, Comptroller General of the Receipt and Issue
of His Majesty's Exchequer, and Auditor General of Public Accounts.
Exchequer and Audit Department,
20 February, 1907.
STATEMENT shewing the Scheme of Agreement between the Ordnance Factories Balance Sheet and
Credits under Appropriations in Aid of Ordnance Factories Vote 1905-06.
I. ESTIMATE of the Sum required in the Year ending 31st March 1908, to defray the
Expense of the ORDNANCE FACTORIES, the Cost of the Productions of which will be charged to the Army, Navy, and Indian and Colonial Governments, &c.
28th February 1907.
R. B. HALDANE. N. G. LYTTELTON, C.G.S. W. G. NICHOLSON, Q.M.G.
E. W. D. WARD, Secretary.
ESTIMATE of anticipated INCOMINGS and OUTGOINGs in respect of Capital in the
ORDNANCE FACTORIES during the Year 1907-08.