10 JANUARY 1914, Page 3

Sir Edward Ward, on whom a baronetcy was conferred at

the New Year, has retired from the post of Secretary to the War Office, which he has held with great distinction since 1901, and is succeeded in that office as well as on the Army Council by Sir Reginald Brade. The statement that Sir Edward Ward is about to enter the service of a private employer raises a question of great public interest. For our own part, we are strongly of opinion that this practice, which of late years has been decidedly on the increase, calls within certain limits for regulation. We say this, of course, without particular reference to Sir Edward Ward, as we do not even know the name of the firm which be is joining. We are far from holding that Civil servants should be forbidden to transfer their services from the State to private firms either before or at the normal time of retire- meat. But we think it highly undesirable that they should be free to accept positions with firms habitually contracting with Government departments, where their inside knowledge renders them more valuable than ordinary experts. At the same time, the conditions of State service ought not to dis- courage young men from entering it, and such a regulation as we have outlined might well be tempered by a time-limit.