Ministry of Food: Permanent Record of Operations (1939 to 1954)
This collection, recording the main functions and activities of most of the divisions of the second Ministry of Food originated as the result of an instruction issued in 1945 by Sir Henry French who was then permanent secretary of the department. Each executive division was asked to prepare a permanent record of its operations when they were at their peak. Subsequently further additions were made to the records to show what was done during the transition period in the way of decontrol or relaxation of control.
Generally the records include, where relevant:-
(a) an account of the arrangements whereby the divisions functioned and could be set up again at short notice in any future emergency, with recommendations for improvements and for avoiding any mistakes made during the period of control
(b) a set of statutory instruments and forms used with notes on their use where necessary
(c) statistical information on transport, storage, distribution and processing of the various foods
(d) commodity divisions -(i) summary of methods of fixing datum quotas (ii) constitution of wartime associations or bodies of authorised or licensed traders (iii) price structure (iv) area organisation
(e) other divisions - method of functioning and relationship with other departments and divisions.
There is some difference in the methods of completion of the record by different divisions owing to the variety of operations covered and the varying practices of different parts of the ministry. Generally, however, the history and description of operations are contained in the registered file while the supporting documents, such as forms and statistical tables, are attached as appendices.
Two pieces are microfiche copies of the rest of the series.
Shortly after the Ministry of Food was established it set up an Economics Division, which formulated general policy on such matters as price and import control, and at first dealt also with the allocation of raw materials to food manufacturers and negotiations over market prices. In February 1941 it was replaced by a General Department, whose functions were to plan and coordinate the work of the ministry, to interpret its policy, and to collect information. Besides a secretariat it included divisions dealing with economics, external relations, statistics and intelligence, public relations, food economy (later food advice), post-war planning and reconstruction, and that of the Chief Scientific Adviser.
In the reorganisation of January 1947 the General Department was abolished: its responsibility for long-term planning and international negotiations passed to the Supply Department and its secretariat and statistics and intelligence division to the Central Secretariat; the Chief Scientific Adviser's Division became autonomous; and the other divisions of the former department, dealing with nutritional and food consumption policy, cost of living, distribution and marketing and consumer surveys, were regrouped with the Services Department.
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