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17 Nov 2008 : Column 191W—continued

Departmental Working Hours

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many hours (a) in total and (b) on average per employee were worked by civil servants in his Department in the last year for which records are available. [195821]

Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) operates around the world 24 hours a day seven days a week, requiring careful management of staff time. Our terms and conditions of service require full-time staff in the UK to work 41 hours a week in London (and 42 hours elsewhere) including five hours paid meal breaks. Staff and their managers are expected to ensure that they are able to keep to this pattern as far as possible. The precise hours actually worked by individual staff above the conditioned hours are not recorded centrally. Where staff below senior management are required to work in excess of their conditioned hours for a particular period, they may claim overtime or time off in lieu (TOIL) by agreement with their line managers.

Except in exceptional circumstances, UK civil servants employed by the FCO at diplomatic missions overseas work similar hours to their counterparts in London.

Diego Garcia: Detainees

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who was responsible for carrying out the modifications to prison facilities on Diego Garcia required under orders issued in December 2001. [228499]

David Miliband: In exercise of powers conferred on him by the Prisons Ordinance 1981 of the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Commissioner for the Territory declared certain specified premises in Diego Garcia to be a prison. In December 2001, the Commissioner declared that the fenced compound containing tended or other accommodation facilities, adjacent to the British Indian Ocean Territory Police Station on Diego Garcia, to be a prison.

Diego Garcia: Police Stations

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons a police station is maintained on the island of Diego Garcia. [228466]

David Miliband: The UK is responsible for maintaining law and order in the British Indian Ocean Territory and, therefore, a police station is maintained on Diego Garcia. Adjoining the police station is a detention facility operated by the UK authorities. It has primarily been used for the detention of Sri Lankan fishermen caught fishing illegally in the British India Ocean Territory's Fishing and Conservation Management Zone (FCMZ).


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Diplomatic Service: Education

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many members of his Department’s advisory board on the appointment of British ambassadors and high commissioners were educated at (a) private school, (b) state school, (c) the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and (d) other universities. [219008]

Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not hold information on the educational backgrounds of its employees as a matter of course. The information here has been compiled in order to answer this question. Figures are given for the members of the three selection boards which appoint ambassadors and high commissioners (excluding the non—executive board members of the Number 1 Selection Board).

Diplomatic Service: Manpower

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in which overseas posts overseas security officer positions are filled by (a) private contractors and (b) employees of his Department; and if he will make a statement. [203484]

Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) stopped employing overseas security officers following the 2002 FCO review of overseas security management, which recommended separating security management and guarding duties.

Disciplinary Proceedings

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) UK-based officials and (b) local employees have been dismissed from positions at UK posts for disciplinary reasons since 2000. [223705]

Gillian Merron: The number of UK-based officials that were dismissed from the FCO for disciplinary reasons while serving in positions at UK posts (overseas) are:


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Number

2000

0

2001

0

2002

0

2003

0

2004

0

2005

0

2006

2

2007

2

2008

0


Records are not held centrally on the number of local staff dismissed for disciplinary reasons. This information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Discrimination

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many claims for discrimination, based on (a) sex, (b) race and (c) sexual orientation, were brought by members of his Department and settled (i) in and (ii) out of court in each of the last five years. [194980]

Gillian Merron: The information is as follows.

In 2003, there were no employment tribunal claims based on discrimination on grounds of sex, race or sexual orientation against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In 2004, there were two tribunal claims based on discrimination on grounds of sex and one on grounds of race brought against the FCO. The two sex claims were dismissed by the tribunal. The race claim was withdrawn. There were no claims based on sexual orientation.

In 2005, there were six tribunal claims based on discrimination on grounds of race brought against the FCO. The Home Office was a joint respondent in two of these. Two claims were dismissed by the tribunal. Four were settled out of court. There were no claims based on discrimination on sex or sexual orientation.

In 2006, there were five tribunal claims based on discrimination on grounds of race that included one joint sex/race claim brought against the FCO. The tribunal dismissed all five race claims and ruled that it did not have territorial jurisdiction to hear the sex discrimination claim. There were no claims based on discrimination on sexual orientation.

In 2007, there was one claim based on discrimination on the grounds of sex and one joint claim based on
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discrimination on grounds of sex and race brought against the FCO. The sex claim was settled out of court. The joint sex/race claim was dismissed by the tribunal. There were no claims based on discrimination on sexual orientation.

To date in 2008, there have been two tribunal claims based on discrimination on grounds of race brought against the FCO. Both claims were withdrawn. There have been no claims based on discrimination on grounds of sex or sexual orientation.

Dorneywood

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Horsham of 19 June 2008, Official Report, column 1187W, on Dorneywood: official hospitality, what use his Department has made of Dorneywood for official engagements in the last 12 months. [222082]

Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has made no use of Dorneywood for its official engagements in the past 12 months.

EDF Energy

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contracts (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have with EDF; and how much (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies paid to EDF in each of the last 10 years, broken down by the purpose of the payment. [221842]

Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have six contracts with EDF to supply its UK offices with electricity. This includes five for its London estate, and one for its office in Hanslope Park. These contracts incorporate FCO Services, as they share its premises with the FCO.

Information relating to the amount paid to EDF, by the FCO and its agencies, is only available from 2004, following the introduction of a central management information system. Information pre-dating the introduction of this system could therefore be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

Please see the following table for further details on the FCO’s expenditure with EDF.

£
Electricity Metering contracts Other Comments

2003-04

190,632.69

Year only partially accounted for on new management information system.

2004-05

1,254,618.74

3,037.40

2005-06

1,809,299.51

2,058.63

63,689.96

Other expenditure was a connection charge and £621.94 for two charges incurred by our European posts.

2006-07

2,391,364.77

2,019.84

2007-08

2,082,117.03

4,783.46

2008-09

549,865.74

4,267.69

Financial year up to August 2008.


Embassies: Foreign Workers

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many positions in UK posts overseas have been localised in each of the last five financial years; and if he will make a statement. [216304]

David Miliband: Statistics on positions being localised in UK posts have only been compiled since 1 October 2007. The figures include localisations since 1 January 2007.

115 UK-based positions in our posts overseas have been, or are about to be, localised.


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Internet: Regulation

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received on regulation of access to the internet in other countries. [204319]

Gillian Merron: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary regularly receives representations on freedom of expression including access to information. The Government remain concerned that access to information is greatly restricted in many countries around the world. We continue to raise our concerns on this and other related issues as part of our ongoing human rights dialogue with other countries, both bilaterally and in international fora.

Iraq: Prisoners

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received on the treatment of Khaled al-Magtari by UK personnel in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [196313]

Gillian Merron: No representations have been received in respect of the treatment of Khaled al-Magtari by UK personnel in Iraq. We are nonetheless aware of the report published by Amnesty International in March 2008 concerning his alleged mistreatment while in detention.

Israel: Armed Conflict

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take at the United Nations on the reported storage of (i) rockets and (ii) arms by Hamas in civilian areas in Gaza; and if he will make a statement. [196141]

Gillian Merron: The import and storage of rockets and other weapons in Gaza is of grave concern. We and the Quartet (of which the UN is a member) call on Hamas to accept the Quartet principles: non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations.

Jerusalem: Railways

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Israeli government on the construction of the Jerusalem Light Railway; and if he will make a statement. [221699]

Gillian Merron: No representations have been made recently but we have raised our concerns about the construction of the Jerusalem Light Railway on occupied land with the Israeli authorities in the past. We believe that any actions that facilitate the transfer of population onto occupied land are illegal under international law.

Mexico: Trade Unions

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Mexican
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government on the position of the National Miners' and Metalworkers' Union of Mexico; and if he will make a statement. [202823]

Gillian Merron: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made no representations to the Mexican government on the position of the National Miners' and Metalworkers' Union of Mexico.

The explosion at the Pasta de Conchas mine in Mexico in 2006, which killed 65miners from the National Miners' and Metalworkers' Union, was a tragedy. We expect the unions and the Government of Mexico to continue to work to improve the safety of mine workers.


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