Previous Section Index Home Page

9 Jan 2006 : Column 187W—continued

Correspondence

Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill of 13 December 2005 concerning the case of the late James McInally, who died in Turkey. [39467]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: My right. hon. Friend's letter was received by consular directorate on 21 December 2005 and a reply issued on 4 January 2006.

Departmental Consultants

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many secondees there have been to his Department from consultancy firms, including the Big Four accountancy firms, in each of the last three years; and what areas of the Department they have worked in. [37358]

Mr. Straw: There has been one secondment in the past three years. The secondee came from PricewaterhouseCoopers and worked in the Inward Investment Group, United Kingdom Trade and Investment from 27 March 2002 until 31 March 2005.

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent on external consultants and advisers by (a) his Department, (b) each (i) non-departmental public body and (ii) Executive agency for which his Department is responsible and (c) each independent statutory body, organisation and body financially sponsored by his Department in each year since May 1997. [39065]

Mr. Straw: The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total administrative costs of his core Department were in the last year for which figures are available; and whether
 
9 Jan 2006 : Column 188W
 
these are regarded as (a) identifiable and (b) non-identifiable for the purposes of public expenditure statistical analyses. [39836]

Mr. Straw: The total administration out turn for 2004–05 as shown in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Resource Accounts was £752,907,000. For the purposes of public expenditure statistical analyses, these costs are non-identifiable, being in the general national interest and not identifiable against particular individuals or regions.

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the administrative costs were of each agency for which he has responsibility in the last year for which figures are available; what the total of such costs was in that year; and whether the costs are regarded for the purposes of public expenditure statistical analyses as (a) identifiable and (b) non-identifiable. [39851]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has responsibility for Wilton Park, which is run as an Executive Agency. Wilton Park's Resource Accounts are published for financial year 2004–05 as part of the Wilton Park Executive Agency Annual Report and Accounts, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House (publication reference HC 234).

Within the Financial Statements section of the Annual Report, the Operating Cost Statement shows Total Administration Costs of £3,332,000-comprising Staff Costs of £1,932,000 and Other Administration Costs of £1,400,000. Details of what is included under this category are provided in Note 5 to the Accounts.

These costs are regarded as identifiable for the purposes of public expenditure statistical analysis.

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on bottled water in 2004–05. [40335]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Guidance (Evidence/Documentary Access)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is with regard to (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department giving evidence to the (i) Scottish Parliament, (ii) National Assembly for Wales and (iii) Northern Ireland Assembly committees; and to what categories of document he gives (A) full access, (B) restricted access and (C) no access to the (1) Scottish Parliament, (2) National Assembly for Wales, (3) Northern Ireland Assembly and (4) House of Commons select committees. [37415]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: There is no obligation for Ministers or officials to give evidence to Parliamentary Committees of the Devolved Assemblies. However, Ministers for Europe have appeared before the European and External Relations Committee of the Scottish Parliament. Most recently, the former Europe Minister, my right hon. Friend for Rotherham (Dr. MacShane) appeared before the Committee on 7 January 2004. Foreign and Commonwealth Office
 
9 Jan 2006 : Column 189W
 
(FCO) officials attended the European and External Affairs Committee of the Welsh Assembly also in September 2005. We would consider requests to appear before all Devolved Assembly Committees on a case by case basis.

Official documents are released to the Devolved Assemblies on an as necessary basis", based upon the 2001 Memorandum of Understanding which agrees that each administration will aim to provide any information that may be reasonably requested by another administration to enable it to carry out its responsibilities effectively, provided that (a) this is practicable, (b) it would not involve disproportionate cost and (c) the information is available in reasonably accessible form (Part 1 para 10).

The FCO always seeks to respond positively to all requests to provide documents to select committees of the House in accordance with Ministers' general duties to account to Parliament for the policies, decisions and actions of their Departments. Special arrangements are made for classified documents.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreignand Commonwealth Affairs how many civil servants in his Department worked from home for at least one day a week in the last year for which figures are available. [40290]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not hold this information centrally and disproportionate time and resources would be needed to answer this question fully. However, the FCO does have a flexible working scheme which enables all staff to request to work flexibly. Examples of flexible working which our staff currently do include job-sharing, working from home and other remote locations, reduced hours, and condensed hours. As part of the FCO's work to improve the diversity of its workforce, we are constantly looking at ways to encourage more flexible working opportunities for staff.

Diplomatic Staff (Complaints)

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) complaints and (b) grievances made by diplomatic staff to the management and individuals in the Senior Management structure of his Office (a) remain to be determined and (b) are unresolved; and what the duration of each outstanding complaint or grievance was from the date it was first lodged. [40490]

Mr. Straw: There are no grievances made by diplomatic staff that remain to be determined or that are unresolved under the Department's internal Grievance Procedure, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Grievance Procedure encourages informal resolution of complaints in accordance with best practice guidelines. No record is kept centrally of such complaints unless attempts at informal resolution are unsuccessful and the formal procedure is invoked.
 
9 Jan 2006 : Column 190W
 

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions in the past five years complaints or grievances made by diplomatic staff against the management and individuals in senior management of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have been withdrawn following the payment of money in full and final settlements; and if he will make a statement. [40505]

Mr. Straw: No grievances invoked under the Department's internal procedure, a copy of which is in the Library of the House, have been withdrawn following the payment of money in the past five years.


Next Section Index Home Page