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We have not been able to identify the number of officers who departed involuntarily within these figures. To check individual records for this purpose would incur disproportionate cost. It is our policy to do all we can to avoid or minimise compulsory redundancies.
All the officers departed under the provisions of the civil service compensation schemes. As a result of the 2004 spending round we have carried out a restructuring exercise since 2004 to realise efficiency savings. This early retirement programme will enable us to reduce the size of the senior management structure in the FCO by 18 per cent. by 31 March 2008.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people in her Department who participated in (a) involuntary and (b) voluntary staff exit schemes in each year since 1997-98 were paid between (i) £0 to £25,000, (ii) £25,001 to £50,000, (iii) £50,001 to £75,000, (iv) £75,001 to £100,000 and (v) over £100,000; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The following chart sets out the number of officers who have taken early retirement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for each year since 2002 and the cost to the FCO of their compensation:
|Total costs to FCO (£)||2002-03||2003-04||2004-05||2005-06||2006-07|
We are unable to supply the requested information for the years 1997 to 2002; as this information is not readily available. To check individual records for this purpose, and to identify officers who may have taken involuntary early retirement, would incur disproportionate cost. It is our policy to do all we can to avoid compulsory redundancies.
As a result of the 2004 spending review we have carried out a restructuring exercise since 2004 to realise efficiency savings. This early retirement programme will enable us to reduce the size of the senior management structure in the FCO by 18 per cent. by 31 March 2008.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many foreign language speakers were employed in the diplomatic service in each year between 1997 and 2006, broken down by language spoken. 
Mr. Hoon: The following table shows the total number of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff employed as of March 2007 who have a language qualification in one of the priority languages recorded on the FCO management information system.
FCO staff will have varying degrees of fluency in these priority languages. In order to provide a year on year breakdown of language qualifications we would need to extract both the start and end dates of the qualification. This information was not mandatory on the previous management information system and any breakdown would not provide a true reflection of the total number of staff who have a language qualification.
|FCO priority languages (critical languages that directly help achieve FCO strategic priorities)||Total number of FCO staff( 1) with a language qualification recorded on the FCO management information system March 2007|
|(1) Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff including a small number of monthly and fee paid officers.|
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 29 March 2007]: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is constantly modernising the way we operate. All Heads of Mission overseas are encouraged to provide their frank and confidential advice on policy and management issues at all stages of their posting, not just at the end. Modern communications allow this to be done in a more targeted way than the traditional valedictory telegram.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will place in the Library a copy of the valedictory telegram sent by Ambassador Roberts on the conclusion of his ambassadorship to Italy and his retirement from the diplomatic service. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 29 March 2007]: Sir Ivor Roberts provided advice in his valedictory telegram on a confidential basis. Placing a copy of this telegram in the Library of the House would be likely to inhibit the frank and confidential provision of advice.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures (a) have taken place and (b) are planned in the UK by the EU Gender Institute; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs following the statement in the Berlin Declaration, whether it is the Government's policy to support a treaty to give effect to the statement that member states are united in the aim of placing the European Union on a renewed common basis before the European Parliament elections in 2009; and whether she agreed to the statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The Declaration, marking the 50th anniversary signing of the Treaties of Rome, is a political statement recalling the historic achievements of the last 50 years, and looking ahead to the challenges that we, the member states of the EU, need to face together. It was right that the UK was part of that celebration.
At present, there is no consensus among EU member states on the future of the Constitutional Treaty. The German Presidency will present a report to the June European Council on the state of discussions on the question. The Government make no presumption on the outcome of these discussions. Their approach was set out in my written ministerial statement of 5 December 2006, Official Report, columns 10-11WS.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the UK is taking under the Europe for Citizens programme (EU budget code 15 01 04 66); and if she will make a statement. 
The UK supports the new Europe for Citizens Programme, which runs until 2013. The Government hope that citizens in the UK will take up opportunities the programme offers. These include co-operation projects such as town twinning, structural support for civil society organisations of general European interest and the preservation of the main sites and archives associated with the deportations and the commemoration of the victims of Nazism and Stalinism. The judging of eligible projects will be carried out by independent assessors from member states co-ordinated in Brussels by the Commission. As with all such EU programmes, bureaucracy is being reduced to make it easier for UK citizens to join with their counterparts in other EU countries in participating.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Governments policy is on disputes which might be considered by international courts or tribunals relating to the ownership and extraction rights of oil in Iraq. 
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what types of oil contracts her Department has considered for recommendation to the Iraqi Government; what representations her Department received from international oil companies on such contracts prior to making recommendations to the Iraqi Government; and what contract preferences were expressed by companies in such representations. 
Mr. Hoon: We have made no recommendations to the Government of Iraq on the types of contract to include in its hydrocarbons legislation. We continue to urge Iraqi Ministers and officials to consider the benefits of a broad range of contract types and not to rule any out prematurely.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what definition she uses of (a) production-sharing agreements for oil extraction and (b) exploration and production contracts in the draft Iraqi hydrocarbons legislation. 
Mr. Hoon: There is no mention of the term production- sharing agreements in Iraqs draft hydrocarbons legislation. The term exploration and production contract does appear in the draft hydrocarbons legislation. However, interpretation of Iraqi legislation is a matter for the Government of Iraq.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the restrictions on political liberty in Kazakhstan imposed by the Kazakh Government through the suspension of the registration of the Kazakh Conservative Party, the intimidation restrictions to freedom of speech and denial of fair access to political competition of party leaders and members; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: We welcome the steps made by the Government of Kazakhstan since the December 2005 presidential election towards political reform and democratisation. These include in April 2006 the removal from the Election Law of the prohibition on the right of freedom of assembly in the period between the end of voting and publication of official results in elections. In February 2007, President Nazarbayev also created a working group to implement the key recommendations of the State Commission on Democratisation including the strengthening of Parliament's powers and increasing the authority of local town councils.
Political pluralism has been affected negatively by recent legislation which restricts freedom of expression, association and assembly. The powers of the Parliament and Government and the independence of
the judiciary could be further enhanced to introduce checks and balances into the system of administration.
We welcome the registration on 26 January of one of the main opposition parties, the Social Democratic Party. There is no party officially registered, or seeking to register, as the Kazakh Conservative Party. Two centre-right parties, Alga! (Forward) and Atameken (Fatherland), have outstanding registration applications which have not yet been approved. In conjunction with EU partners and other interested parties, we will continue to encourage democratic progress in Kazakhstan and provide suitable assistance where possible.
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