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7 Feb 2008 : Column 1396Wcontinued
Actual spend in financial year 2006-07 exceeded the contract values shown in the table. This was the result of increased recruitment activity during that period and the extension of the contract.
Penalties for default are unenforceable in English law. Liquidated damages involving genuine pre-estimates of loss would be the preferred route to remuneration in the event of a contractor's failure incurring additional costs for the FCO. Liquidated damages were not included in the contracts listed.
The FCO awards all of its contracts on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender, defined as the optimum combination of the whole life costs and benefits assessed against pre-determined evaluation award criteria which would be included in the Invitation to Tender.
Capita Group plc no longer holds the HR recruitment contract. We now use the services of Barkers under the HM Prison Service framework.
Non-human resources FCO contract values (post 2003)
|Financial year||Total value of contracts|
The main areas of financial commitment and expenditure (based on financial values of purchase orders), for the period 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007, excluding those contracted by HRD, are as follows:
Specialist recruitment campaigns (EU and globalisation directorates);
Eligibility checks (EU and globalisation/finance directorates);
British sign language interpreter for selection tests (finance directorate);
Provision and marking for written and administrative tests (FCO services).
A breakdown pre-2006 is not readily available and could not be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.
These figures also only cover contracts made in the UK and exclude any made by our Missions overseas. This information could not be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent support his Department has offered to the government of Colombia in combating the smuggling of illegal drugs across the Colombia-Venezuela border. 
Dr. Howells: Preventing the cross-border flow of illicit drugs from Colombia to neighbouring countries is a top priority for the UK's international counter-narcotics efforts. The UK is investing in projects in Colombia and Venezuela to tackle the cross-border flow of illicit drugs. These projects have helped to build capacity amongst Colombian and Venezuelan law enforcement agencies and the judiciary. In addition, funding of a United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime project on cross border co-operation has recently been approved.
We take a broad regional approach to tackling the trade in illicit drugs, through a mixture of political engagement, capacity building and law enforcement support in producer, transit and consumer countries. This includes working with Governments of other producer and transit countries in Latin America and countries along the main trafficking routes for drugs via the Caribbean and West Africa.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 10 January 2008, Official Report, column 791W, on the Committee of Permanent Representatives, how many
personnel work in support of (a) the UK Deputy Permanent Representative in the Committee of Permanent Representatives I and (b) the UK Permanent Representative in the Committee of Permanent Representatives II. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The UK Permanent and Deputy Permanent Representatives are supported in their work in the Committee of Permanent Representatives by officials at the UK Permanent Representation to the EU.
A break down of total staff at the UK Permanent Representation to the EU between 2006-08 is as follows.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) diplomatic and (b) financial support the Government has given to the co-ordination of protection activities in Darfur in the last 12 months. 
Meg Munn: The UK was instrumental in the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1769 on 31 July 2007 mandating the UN-African Union hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur which, since 31 December 2007, has been responsible for protecting civilians in Darfur. We fund the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur through our assessed contributions to the UN. We are in regular contact with the UN, the African Union, the Government of Sudan and potential troop contributing countries to press for the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur to be an effective peacekeeping mission.
Previously the African Union mission in Sudan had been responsible for protection in Darfur and we committed £73 million in funding to this mission.
We are pressing the Government of Sudan to observe their obligations to protect their own citizens. We continue to make clear to the Government of Sudan and rebel movements in Darfur that we will press for tough measures against any party that obstructs progress towards peace. And we are closely monitoring the co-ordination of protection activities by the UN and other agencies in Darfur.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations his Department has made to the government of Sudan on the implementation of its commitments under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. 
Meg Munn: My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, raised the need to implement the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) when he met President Bashir of Sudan in Addis Ababa on 31 January, and the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, Sudanese Ministers, Members of Parliament and senior presidential advisers, Nafie Ali Nafie and Ghazi Salahuddin, when he was in Sudan from 28 to 31 January.
The UK has proposed a candidate to chair the Assessment and Evaluation Commission, the international institution that assists the parties in resolving disputes in implementing the CPA.
Our embassy in Khartoum engages regularly with Sudanese officials to support the effective implementation of the CPA.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking to seek to ensure a free and fair trial for Pastor Fernando Kutino in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); and if he will encourage the DRC Government to end the use of military tribunals in civilian cases. 
Meg Munn: We have registered our concern at the conduct of the trial of Pastor Kutino with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on several occasions. We have encouraged the authorities to establish judicial independence and will continue to monitor the situation and urge that due process be observed.
We contribute almost one sixth to the cost of the EU Security Sector reform missions. These aim to deliver improvements in the DRC justice system. We will continue to work closely with international partners to ensure that support for reform of the justice sector is targeted and co-ordinated.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government plans to make to the Government of Democratic Republic of Congo on its treatment of members of civil society in areas within its control, with particular reference to the military judge Major Mbokolo Wawa, his assistant Captain Kawende, and journalists Maurice Kayombo and Rene Kabala Mushiya. 
Meg Munn: We are aware of the cases brought against judge Major Mbokolo Wasa, his assistant Captain Kawende, journalist Maurice Kayombo and Rene Kabala Mushiya. We are following their status carefully and are working in collaboration with partners to ensure they are treated fairly and in accordance with the law.
We continue to remind the Congolese Government in the strongest terms of its responsibilities to protect human rights, in particular to protect freedom of expression, including criticism of the government and the President, and to ensure the right to a free and fair trial.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to increase the number of Pashtun speakers employed by his Department. 
Meg Munn: I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretarys written ministerial statement of 23 January 2008, Official Report, columns 52-53W, and the written answer he gave on 25 January 2008, Official Report, column 2312W to the right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague).
Pashto is one of our target languages at recruitment. We will provide language training in Dari and/or Pashto for staff going to Afghanistan wherever there is an operational requirement.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 23 January 2008, Official Report, columns 52-3WS, on the new strategic framework (1) whether any other Government department will be affected by changes related to the planned reduction in his Department's resources in certain areas; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what changes in (a) resources allocated and (b) staff numbers are expected in each area which has been identified for a reduction in departmental resources; 
(3) which areas have been identified for a reduction in departmental funding; what the reasons are in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The new strategic framework is intended to ensure that all Government Departments make most effective use of the FCOs global network. In respect of terrorism, conflict, climate change and international institutional reform we will be increasing FCO resources and working with a range of Government Departmentsnotably Home Office, DFID, MOD, HMT, DEFRAto maximise the effectiveness of UK effort. In order to increase in some areas, we have to reduce resources in others. In the areas of sustainable development, science and innovation and drugs and crimepreviously labelled as strategic prioritieswe will be discussing with DEFRA, DIUS, Home Office and OGDs and agencies how Government can best co-ordinate in London, and deliver and fund abroad, its international work. In respect of science, I am happy to confirm that FCO funding for the valuable Science and Innovation Network will remain at current levels for 2008-09 while these discussions continue.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will hold discussions with the government of Dubai to establish improved anti-money laundering capabilities to prevent Taliban funds being channelled through Dubai. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no plans to discuss this issue with the Dubai authorities. The Financial Action Task Force President Sir James Sassoon visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 24 January 2008 to discuss money laundering and my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Security and Counter-terrorism, Lord West of Spithead, discussed money laundering and terrorism finance issues during his visit in October 2007. He will be returning to the UAE in March to ratify the treaties on Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance.
Prior to my noble Friends visit I held talks with the financial authorities in the UAE on the subject of countering fraud and money laundering.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the GNI own resources column in the summary of financing of the general budget by type of own resource and by member state table appended to the latest budget adopted by the European Communities. 
Angela Eagle: I have been asked to reply.
The EC budget for 2008 is a publicly available document published by the European Commission which can be viewed at:
Table 6 of the revenue section of this document contains the summary of financing referred to, including the GNI column. The 2008 EC budget was adopted in December 2007 and will in due course also be published in the L (Legislation) series of the Official Journal of the European Union.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the level of co-operation between the UK and the EU on defence matters under the Treaty of Lisbon if ratified. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 7 February 2008]: The UK pioneered and supports the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). The treaty will not change the basic characteristics of ESDP. The commitment of UK troops for any EU led operation will continue to be on a voluntary basis and a decision for the Government alone. The requirement of unanimity for launching an ESDP mission is also maintained.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his European Union counterparts on the merits of a common European energy policy; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy
[holding answer 6 February 2008]: With the EU's increasing reliance on imported energy and the internal market increasingly inter-linked, there is a clear need for a coherent EU energy policy. An
effective energy policy will help ensure a balance between demand and supply and will help to drive the transition to a low carbon economy in the EU. EU leaders recognised the synergies between energy and climate change at the Spring European Council in March 2007 when they adopted the Energy Action Plan for Europe. The challenge now is to deliver that Action Plan by taking a common approach in our relations with key third country suppliers. The EU also needs to reach early agreement on further liberalisation of the internal energy market. This will serve to strengthen efforts to extend market principles to key third countries, and facilitate private investment in infrastructure in strategically important supplier and transit states.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I meet regularly with EU counterparts to discuss a range of issues, including European energy policy. The UK is currently working with EU partners to agree the Internal Energy Market package. The UK supports a diverse and liberalised energy policy to promote competition and ensure energy security across the EU.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the powers and responsibilities of the proposed EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy will be over (a) trade and (b) aid programmes; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 7 February 2008]: Subject to successful ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, as vice-president of the Commission charged 'within the Commission for responsibilities incumbent upon it in external relations' and for ensuring 'the consistency of the Unions external action' (amended Article 9E Treaty on European Union), the new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy will have a role to play in trade and the European Union's aid programmes.
The way in which the High Representatives will interact with the Commission (currently charged with the management of both trade and development dossiers) and the specific division of responsibilities will be a matter for subsequent agreement.
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