|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Thomas: DFID does not collect data on the qualifications of its new recruits. The vast majority of our posts require qualifications above level 2. We verify qualifications before a new recruit takes up post. Even where we do not require qualifications at level 2 or above, our competence based recruitment, which may include literacy and numeracy tests as appropriate, provide an assurance on levels of skill.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what methods of assessment of (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills are used as part of the recruitment process by employees of his Department. 
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many people in his Department (a) were relocated in 200405 and (b) are expected to be relocated in 200506 following the Lyons Review; where they have been relocated; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: As a result of the Lyons Review, DFID agreed to relocate 85 posts from London to its office in Abercrombie House, East Kilbride. As at the end of September 2005, 74 posts have so far been relocated, of which five were relocated between January to March 2004, 40 were relocated during the financial year 200405, and 29 in the first six months of 200506. Another five moves are planned before the end of December 2005, and the target will be met by the end of 200506. All relocations are to East Kilbride.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the contribution to (a) development and (b) his Department's work of United Kingdom embassies and high commissions in developing countries. 
Hilary Benn: The United Kingdom impacts on development through many of its policies, not just those relating to aid. DFID therefore works closely with other Government Departments on issues such as trade, agriculture, migration and security, to improve the development impact of UK policies. DFID works particularly closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) because of its political role and presence in developing countries. We do this through several mechanisms at Whitehall and country level. For example, the global and Africa conflict prevention pools bring together the FCO, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and DFID to improve the UK's response to countries affected by conflict. We post development experts into embassies, and in the case of Sudan, have set up a joint FCO-DFID unit. These mechanisms have helped to promote closer understanding and working between the Departments.
UK Government Departments make assessments of their own performance against their objectives (as expressed in their public service agreements (PSA) twice annually. These assessments are published in the departmental reports and autumn performance reports which are available in the Libraries of the House. Where Departments share public service agreement targets, these assessments of progress are made jointly. The FCO therefore makes its own assessment of progress against its PSA target on sustainable development, which is their target most closely related to international development. DFID, the FCO and the MOD make a joint assessment of progress against the shared conflict prevention target, and DFID, the FCO and the Department of Trade and Industry make a joint assessment of progress against the shared target on international trade. The next assessment will be provided in the autumn performance report 2005, which will be published in December.
Both DFID and the FCO closely monitor our working relationship and an action plan is in place to improve in collaborative working, both in the UK and overseas. We are reviewing how best to work with the FCO at country level. DFID country offices may be co-located with a British embassy or high commission, or may operate from stand-alone premises, depending on local circumstances. Whether co-located or not, there is close co-operation between the embassy/high
8 Nov 2005 : Column 309W
commission and the DFID country office. This includes the sharing of analysis of local political, economic and development issues, of mutual benefit to the work of both Departments. Efforts to monitor collaboration at country level forms part of our work on improving the impact of the overall UK policy on development.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will encourage the Disasters Emergency Committee to extend the list of organisations to whom it offers free transport of relief materials to those areas in Kashmir, Pakistan and India that were affected by the recent earthquake. 
Mr. Thomas: DFID is funding flights for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) agencies so that the money they raise from their public appeal is spent on relief materials and programmes. So far we have funded 46 flights. We encourage the DEC to share available space on flights whenever possible.
Mr. Thomas: Each country affected by the Tsunami produced a detailed needs assessment in order to guide the relief and reconstruction effort. DFID's humanitarian relief and reconstruction work has been agreed in close consultation with country Governments in light of these assessments. A detailed independent review of our humanitarian response in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India has been completed. This confirmed that DFID projects were appropriate to the relief needs of the affected populations, and were effectively implemented in a way which maximised their impact. DFID will undertake similar assessments of our reconstruction work once the balance of funds available has been fully committed.
Individual agencies providing relief and reconstruction assistance are expected to have set their own targets, taking into account affected country Government's needs assessments. In line with the Charity Commission's Statement of Recommended Practice 2004, it is then expected that they report annually on progress and activities against their stated objectives.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the progress of (a) UK and (b) EU-funded reconstruction programmes in countries affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami. 
A detailed independent review of our humanitarian response in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India has been completed. This confirmed that DFID projects were appropriate to the relief needs of the affected populations, and were effectively implemented in a way which maximised their impact.
8 Nov 2005 : Column 310W
DFID has allocated £65 million to meet reconstruction needs in the tsunami affected countries. Of this, £41 million has been committed; the use of the balance will depend on evidence of where this funding can be most appropriately used. Assessment of the use of these funds will begin once they have been fully committed.
The Government of Sri Lanka, together with donors, is currently reviewing the impact of all tsunami recovery programmes. This review is expected to be completed by the end of November, and as well as detailing successes will also identify areas where increased effort is required.
The European Court Authorities are currently evaluating the humanitarian programmes of ECHO (Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission). However, their report is not yet available. No assessment has yet been made of EU funded reconstruction programmes as much of this work is still underway.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|