another urban authority, and as a result schemes are developed for the housing of the people on less favourable and more expensive sites, merely because the site is within the council's area. The same anomaly exists with regard to rating, workmen engaged in the same works at the same occupation living in separate urban areas often have a considerable margin of difference between the amount they contribute towards the local rates though they are practically one community. Another feature, and one that is most important, as bearing on the question of area is that in connection with the department of the Medical Officer. The common practice of appointing a part time Medical Officer is one that is not conducive to a high state of efficiency in the administration of the Public Health Acts. In this department, in many of the industrial dis- tricts the Medical Officer of Health is a private practitioner, who has not the time necessary to the efficient discharge of his duties as medical officer. Coupled with this is the fact that often he is the professional attendant to families who have a vested interest in the district for which he acts, and he is placed in the unfortunate position of having to choose between his duty to the public on the one hand, and private interest on the other hand; in addition to which the subordinate officials of his department do not receive the supervision which is necessary to maintain a high state of efficiency in the Public Health Department. The only .remedy for this state of things is the grouping of areas for the employment of a whole time medical officer, whose remuneration will be such as to make him absolutely independent of private practice, and will enable him to pay that close attention to the duties of his office which the important position he holds demands. In this respect, I am pleased to observe that the tendency of the Local Government Board is to the grouping of urban areas for the purpose of employment of a whole time medical officer with Sanitary and Health Committees for each area. This system cannot be as efficient as that of the unification under one authority having one Sanitary Com- mittee responsible for the whole area. The same might be said with regard to the lack of appointment of Lady Health Visitors in a large number of the industrial areas. The small size of many of the districts with the lack of progressive ideas by the members of these local authorities and the idea prevailing of the non-interference in the private life of the various families that make up the com- munity, is one that is largely responsible for the comparative small number of Lady Health Visitors employed by the Public Health Authorities. The proper administration of the various acts dealing with the food supply of the people such as meat, milk, fruit and fish is also one that is dependent upon the whole time medical officer being in charge of the department. There is another aspect of this question which is worthy of consideration, namely, that in the case of practically every one of these small authorities professional gentlemen act as part time clerks and enjoy at the same time the rights of private practice. The situation that arises from time to time when one of these small authorities has occasion to promote a Bill in Parliament or in fact when a group of authorities act, as in the case of Bills for the purpose of acquiring a supply of water or for the construction of sewers over extended areas, too often it is found that the neighbouring authorities instead of rendering assistance to the promoting authorities are induced on various grounds to lodge petitions in opposition to these measures sometimes on the most flimsy pretext. During my eight or nine years association with public work I have observed this time after time. Clauses in the Bill of the promoters are closely scrutinised with a view of ascertaining whether there is ground for locus standi so that they can advise the authority for whom they act to lodge a petition and to instruct Parliamentary Agents to draw up the petition, and all this means added expense to the promoting authorities. What follows is that the promoting authorities are invited to send a deputation to London in order to enter into a conference with the opposing parties, each party taking their legal and other professional advisers. Days are spent in conferences of this kind and ultimately, com- promises are arrived at, the petition is withdrawn, but the bill of cost has to be paid. The unification scheme for a number of authorities would tend to reduce a number of these frivolous petitions, and be a saving of thousands of pounds to the ratepayers of the various districts. Inci- dentally, it may be stated that private companies are still greater sufferers from this kind of thing than even the local authorities, and the appointment of a whole time clerk for unified areas would tend to reduce this particular evil. Incidentally also I may refer to the fact that the establishment of Home Rule for Wales would tend to a considerable reduction in the cost of promoting Bills, and even the cost of opposing such Bills, as a visit to Cardiff or Swansea, or some other centre in Wales would be far less expensive to the public authorities than a visit to London, and the temptations of Parliamentary Agents and gentlemen connected with the Parliamentary Bar to con- vene conferences would be less, if such conferences were held in the provinces instead of at their offices in London. The problem of differentiation of rates in the different districts is one that I shall probably deal with another time as well as the problem of the unfair representation upon the County Administrative areas of the urban and the rural districts. Already the question of unifica- tion is receiving some attention, and conferences are being held in certain of the industrial valleys, and steps are being taken to convene conferences of the various local authorities within certain well defined areas that lend themselves to grouping purposes. These suggested conferences are all in the industrial and populous centres, whilst the evil arising from limited areas is greater in the rural and semi- rural districts, than in those of the great industrial centres, and until action is taken by either the Imperial or Federal Parliament to deal with the matter, I very much doubt whether the problem will be tackled voluntarily in these semi-rural districts, and yet with all the talk of reconstruction and professed sympathy with the idea of reconstruction we will still find that we have the same old battles to fight in attempting to so allocate areas for local government as to render them serviceable to perform the functions necessary to secure administrative reconstruc- tion.
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