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21 Nov 2005 : Column 1590W—continued

Ministerial Travel

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost was of rearranging his flight from Moscow on 9 November; and whether the cost was met by public funds. [28887]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Peter Luff) on 16 November 2005, Official Report, columns 1267–68W.

National Minimum Wage

Ms Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many
 
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employees in his Department were affected by the rise in the national minimum wage on 1 October. [28979]

Mr. Straw: None.

Nuclear Non-proliferation

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 31 October 2005, Official Report, columns 753–54W, on non-proliferation, whether he expects the Stability Instrument in the Financial Perspective 2007–13 to enable the financing of programmes that (a) provide support to chemical weapon destruction facilities and (b) relate to bio-safety. [28458]

Mr. Straw: The current draft of the Stability Instrument under discussion in Brussels does not provide for funding to finance programmes that provide support for chemical weapon destruction facilities or that relate to bio-safety. This instrument is intended to finance assistance to help establish, re-establish or maintain the essential conditions necessary to permit the effective implementation of the European Community's development assistance and co-operation policies and to contribute to the reinforcement of stability, in particular in a situation of crisis or emerging crisis.

Public Service Agreement

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which data sources he will use to measure progress against 2004 Public Service Agreement target number 2. [29944]

Mr. Straw: The 2004 Public Service Agreement (PSA) target number 2 covers Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) work on reducing the risk from international terrorism".

The FCO will use a variety of data sources including the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre's assessments of international terrorist threats and of terrorism trends, networks and capabilities; reporting from our diplomatic posts on trends in other governments' will and capacity to counter terrorism, and their success, or otherwise, in doing so; evaluations of our counter-terrorism capacity-building programmes in priority countries; and reports from government experts on the enhancement of protective security measures which reduce the vulnerability of UK citizens and UK interests overseas.

As with other Government Departments, the FCO publishes an Autumn Performance Report containing progress against our PSA targets. The 2005 report will be published by early December and will be available in the Library of the House. It will contain information on the data sources used to generate performance assessments.

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which data sources he will use to measure progress against 2004 Public Service Agreement target number 4. [29945]


 
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Mr. Straw: The 2004 Public Service Agreement (PSA) target number 4 covers Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) work on promoting a reformed and effective EU", ranging from future financing to the Common Foreign and Security Policy. As this target touches on a wide variety of FCO activity, we draw on many data sources to measure progress across the target.

These sources include: internal judgments made by the FCO and other Departments, based on feedback inter alia from other member states and the EU institutions; the outcome of Council and other EU-level meetings; political reporting from our Diplomatic Posts; and media commentary in the UK and across the rest of Europe. We use the Eurobarometer opinion poll to measure public awareness of the EU.

As with other Government Departments, the FCO publishes an Autumn Performance Report containing progress against our PSA targets. The 2005 report will be published by early December and will be available in the Library of the House. It will contain information on the data sources used to generate performance assessments.

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which data sources he will use to measure progress against 2004 public service agreement target number 7. [29946]

Mr. Straw: The 2004 public service agreement (PSA) target number 7 covers Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) work on increasing

and promoting political and socio-economic reform.

Our data sources for measuring progress against this target will include Freedom House, EU Neighbourhood Policy Action Plans, World Bank regional studies, United Nations Development Programme—Human Development Reports, Pew Global Attitudes Surveys and other surveys.

As with other Government Departments, the FCO publishes an autumn performance report containing progress against our PSA targets. The 2005 report will be published by early December and will be available in the Library of the House. It will contain information on the data sources used to generate performance assessments.

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the 2004 public service agreement target number 9 applies to each year within the target period. [29947]

Mr. Straw: Yes.

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which data sources he will use to measure progress against 2004 public service agreement target number 8. [29948]

Mr. Straw: The 2004 public service agreement (PSA) target number 8 covers Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) work on promoting


 
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Details of the data sources we use to assess performance across this target are contained in the FCO's PSA 'Technical Note'. This document is available on the FCO website. Pages 33 to 36 relate to PSA 8:

Delivery of the PSA is also supported by the Global Opportunities Fund Sustainable Development Programme, which provides £5 million per year for sustainable development and human rights projects in priority countries. Progress is measured individually for each project.

Specific aims, targets and objectives on the issues covered by PSA 8 are set out in our Sustainable Development Strategy and our Strategy on Human Rights, Democracy and Good Governance, both available at www.fco.gov.uk.

As with other Government Departments, the FCO publishes an autumn performance report (APR) containing progress against our PSA targets. The 2005 report will be published by early December and will be available in the Library of the House. It will contain information on the data sources used to generate performance assessments.

Recruitment Practices

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in reforming recruitment practices within his Department. [29604]

Mr. Straw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is constantly striving to improve its recruitment practices. For instance, in order to improve our diversity and bring in expertise from the private sector, we are opening up more senior jobs to open competition. These include the Ambassador to the Holy See, the Director of UKVisas, the Legal Adviser and the Head of Science and Innovation.

In addition, we are streamlining our recruitment processes at administrative, operational and policy entry levels by using the latest on-line application and sifting packages and following a proactive diversity advertising policy.

All of this is considered with the fundamental principle of the Civil Service Commissioners' Recruitment Code, which states that selection for appointment should be made on merit on the basis of fair and open competition.


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