|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I maintain regular contacts with political leaders from all communities in Iraq, including the Kurds. During his 2021 February visit to Iraq, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met, among others, President Talabani, the Kurdistan Regional Government President Barzani, Foreign Minister Zebari and Planning Minister Saleh. Security considerations preclude me from announcing specific plans for Ministerial travel in advance, but we will continue to visit Iraq in the next year, and to stay in close touch with its political leaders.
Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has asked the United States authorities how many individuals have been rendered by the US via the UK since 1997. 
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much is expected to be saved as a result of meeting the civil service work force reductions targets for his Department set out in the 2004 Spending Review; and whether these savings count towards the agreed efficiency target for his Department set out in the review. 
Mr. Straw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) annual savings from reductions in the civil service work force is expected to be £15 million by 31 March 2008. This will count towards the agreed efficiency target for the FCO set out in 2004 Spending Review.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much of the agreed efficiency target for his Department set out in the 2004 Spending Review is to be cashable; and under what budget headings these cashable efficiency savings will be re-spent. 
Mr. Straw: By 31 March 2008, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) annual efficiency savings will total £86.7 million of which £44.8 million will be cashable. These savings will enable the FCO to operate within the financial budgets set in 2004 Spending Review and to reprioritise its resources, enabling additional expenditure in such areas as combating Afghan Drugs, Counter Terrorism and Engaging the Islamic world.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the target level of employment expressed as full-time equivalents is in his Department by April 2008, in order to meet his Department's civil service work force reductions target set out in the 2004 Spending Review. 
The target level of full-time equivalents and UK based staff in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) by 31 March 2008 is 6,245. This includes increases in the number of staff providing services directly to the public, namely Consular and Entry
1 Mar 2006 : Column 776W
Clearance, that are fully funded by fees paid by users of those services e.g. through the purchase of visas and UK passports. Demand for these services, and hence the income derived from them, is increasing and this enables the FCO to employ more staff to meet the demand. These increases have been agreed with HM Treasury.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what total efficiency savings were achieved by his Department in 200405; and whether these count towards the agreed efficiency target for his Department set out in the 2004 Spending Review. 
Mr. Straw: In 200405, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office achieved £6.6 million of efficiency savings counting towards the targets set out in the 2004 Spending Review. The agreed target for 200405 was £4.7 million.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what baseline figures he is using for assessing progress on his Department's targets to (a) rationalise back office functions, (b) reduce the overall paybill, (c) increase productivity through delivering improved ICT, (d) improve the efficiency of procurement practices, (e) rationalise back office functions, change procurement practices and reduce the overseas estate of the British Council and (f) rationalise back office functions and change procurement practices of the BBC World Service; what progress has been made towards these targets to date; and what the total efficiency savings achieved to date are for these targets. 
Mr. Straw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) (excluding BBC World Service and British Council) has a number of discrete efficiency projects for each of the business areas mentioned in the question, each of which has its own data sources. Details of the FCO's efficiency projects including baselines are set out in the FCO's Efficiency Technical Note published on our website: http://www.fee.gov.uk/Files/KFile/EfficiencyTechnicalNote_2005.pdf. Overall efficiency targets for 200405 were met (£6.6 million against a target of £4.7 million), and the FCO is on track to meet its target of £38.7 million for 200506.
The efficiency targets for the BBC World Service, agreed as part of the 2004 Spending Review, were £5.5 million for 200506 and £7.3 million annually for 200607 and 200708. The target for 200506 is forecast to be achieved. Individual savings targets have been identified for 200607.
The British Council has an efficiency target of £13 million to be achieved by the end of 200708. These savings are tracked from a baseline of 200405. Current plans indicate that savings of £5 million targeted for 200506 are on track to be delivered.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Northern Ireland cattle herds that, when first tested for bovine tuberculosis (BTB) in each year between 2003 and 2005, had animals
1 Mar 2006 : Column 777W
identified as possible carriers of BTB which were given inconclusive status; and how many such herds had animals proved positive after a second test. 
Angela E. Smith: The number of cattle herds in Northern Ireland that, when first tested for bovine tuberculosis (BTB) in 2003, 2004, and 2005, had animals interpreted as having inconclusive status was 3,849, 4,078 and 3,807 respectively. The number of these herds that had animals deemed positive after a second test was 555 in 2003, 523 in 2004 and 376 in 2005.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what approval and oversight mechanisms are in place for the acceptance of hospitality from the private sector by senior Northern Ireland civil servants. 
Angela E. Smith: The principles on the receipt of hospitality by a NI civil servant, including senior civil servants, which are set out in the Northern Ireland civil service pay and conditions of service code, clearly state that where a civil servant has any doubts about the propriety of accepting gift or benefit, it should be refused.
Each of the NI Departments and the Northern Ireland Office has departmental hospitality guidelines based on these principles. In addition each Department maintains records for the acceptance of hospitality by all staff, including senior civil servants.
The guidelines on the receipt of hospitality by NI civil servants are currently under review, including approval and monitoring arrangements. When finalised these guidelines and arrangements will apply consistently across all NI Departments.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether any (a) employee of his Department, (b) person engaged by his Department as a consultant and (c) paid advisor to his Department is a Member of the House of Lords; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woodward: The Northern Ireland Office do not employ any (a) employees within the Department, (b) persons engaged by the Department as consultants and (c) paid advisors to the Department who is a Member of the House of Lords.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|