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Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department and its agencies spent on promotional items carrying the Department's branding and logo in the last five years; and what such items were. 
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has incurred expenditure on (a) foreign exchange derivatives and (b) consulting on currency hedging strategies in each of the last three years. 
Chris Bryant: Prior to May 2008 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office purchased our foreign currency requirements at the spot rate at the time we needed the currency. From May 2008 we began a foreign currency forward purchase programme. The forward purchase contracts are placed via the Bank of England. HiFX Intelligent Financial Services provide ongoing specialist consultancy support at a cost of £3,000 per month + VAT.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 28 October 2009, Official Report, column 381W, on departmental telephone services, whether his Department has awarded contracts for the provision of services relating to its travel advice telephone information line. 
Chris Bryant: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office awarded MM Group the contract to run its Travel Advice Help Line from 13 February 2003. MM Group were acquired by Teleperformance in 2004. The contract is managed by the Central Office of Information.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from which companies his Department sourced temporary staff in each of the last three years; how many temporary staff his Department employed in each year; and what the monetary value of the contracts with each such company was in each such year. 
Chris Bryant: The following tables show the number of temporary staff the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) recruited in the UK in financial years 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 on short-term civil service contracts. They do not include staff recruited locally to work at posts overseas. We could not obtain figures for these without incurring disproportionate cost.
|Temporary employees recruited into FCO|
In September 2006 the FCO devolved the responsibility for hiring temporary staff from agencies to directorates. FCO directorates have been able to choose from a selection of employment agencies under the national framework for temporary staff. Most of these are for the supply of Administrative Officer (FCO Grade A2) staff in London. The agencies that have been used are : Eclipse, Manpower, Select Appointments , Adecco, Hays and Kelly Services.
In July 2009, the FCO's Corporate Procurement Group negotiated a single contract on behalf of the whole organisation with Hays Specialist Recruitment for the provision of temporary agency staff. The aim is to give more effective controls, secure better management information, simplify requisition processes and deliver better value to the taxpayer. The contract became effective on 1 March 2010 when it was introduced to three key FCO Directorates, with others rolling out a phased approach over the next three months.
FCO Services (FCOS) is an executive agency of the FCO and has been operating independently as a trading fund since 1 April 2008. It is not possible to provide details on the number or cost of temporary staff FCOS employed during the period requested without incurring disproportionate cost.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the Georgian government over the screening on Georgian television on 15 March 2010 of a film purporting to represent a Russian invasion of Georgia; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: Our ambassador in Tbilisi met Georgian Foreign Minister Vashadze on 17 March to discuss Imedi Television's 13 March news broadcast, which simulated a Russian attack on Georgia. The ambassador also made our position clear in a public letter to Imedi, in which he described the broadcast as irresponsible, and protested against the unauthorised and misleading use of images of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and himself.
The Georgian Government have acknowledged our concerns over the use of this footage, and the risks the programme posed to stability in Georgia. Imedi has written to our ambassador and publicly apologised.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the President of Georgia on (a) media freedom, (b) human rights, (c) democracy and (d) the rule of law in Georgia in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
I raised the importance of continued Georgian efforts to reform in these areas when I met President Saakashvili on 18 February. We continue to remind the Georgian Government, including at ministerial level, that commitment to reform, particularly judicial and electoral reform, and strengthening democracy,
media freedom and human rights are key to maintaining international support. My hon. Friend, the Minister for Europe raised these issues with the Georgian Foreign Minister in October 2009, and the Prime Minister in November 2009.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the state of (a) media freedom, (b) human rights, (c) democracy and (d) the rule of law in Georgia; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: Georgia is making some progress towards necessary reforms in these areas. Public trust in the media is low and there are concerns about a lack of transparency surrounding ownership of the media. Georgia has taken steps to improve human rights and detention conditions, but can still do more to investigate the alleged harassment of opposition activists and take action against security forces responsible for such harassment. Georgia has improved its electoral code, with support from the Venice Commission but May's local elections will be an important test for the new arrangements. We, with our partners, will continue to monitor the human rights situation closely, raise areas of concern, and support Georgia's efforts to meet international human rights standards.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the President of Georgia on the conduct of forthcoming elections in that country; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: I raised Georgia's elections when I met President Saakahsvili in February. I reminded him of the importance we attach to free and fair elections, and to Georgia's continued democratic and judicial reforms.
We regularly discuss and encourage these reforms with Georgian Government Ministers. We have made clear that free and fair elections are important in demonstrating Georgia's progress in taking forward political reform, underpinning Georgia's strategy of engagement with the separatist regions, and moving towards greater integration with the EU.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what resources (a) the Government, (b) the EU, (c) the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and (d) other international institutions have provided for monitoring the forthcoming elections in Georgia; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: Georgia has invited Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) observers to monitor the May elections, which will be a key test of Georgia's democratic credentials. We welcome this invitation: the presence of OSCE monitors will help increase transparency. The UK, our EU partners and other OSCE participating states are considering how best to support the OSCE's call for up to 30 long-term and 350 short-term observers. In addition, our embassy plans to observe the elections in close coordination with other missions and local civil society organisations.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the critical facilities managed by Group 4 Securicor (G4S) are at GCHQ that are referred to on page two of the unprinted paper reported to the House by the Defence Select Committee on 10 February 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Bryant [holding answer 29 March 2010]: The services provided by Group 4 Securicor (G4S) help ensure that GCHQ's office facilities are: secure, fit for purpose and maintained to appropriate standards of cleanliness. G4S also provide catering and other logistical support (e.g. mail and recycling services).
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the contribution of the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, 18 March 2010, Official Report, column 997, on Intelligence and Security Committee, if he will take steps to ensure that when the current committee members stand down, there will be no attempt to interfere with the Committee's secretariat in the intervening period before a new committee is appointed; and if he will make a statement. 
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Government contracts have been awarded to Marine Resources and Fisheries Consultants Ltd. since January 2008; and what the monetary value of such contracts is. 
The FCO has however awarded one contract to the Marine Resource Assessment Group (MRAG) Ltd. since January 2008. The contract is for the provision of technical and scientific fisheries advice in relation to the UK's Overseas Territories and was awarded after the conclusion of a competitive tender exercise, in line with public procurement guidelines. The contract is a call-off contract and the value of the contract is therefore subject to variation depending on the amount and type of work undertaken. During the 2008-09 financial year the amount spent on this contract was £200,296.85 excluding VAT.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the number of (a) rockets and (b) mortar bombs launched into Israeli territory from (i) Lebanon and (ii) Gaza since 1 January 2010; what reports he has
received of the number of persons (A) killed, (B) seriously injured and (C) slightly injured; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Bryant: According to our information, in 2010, as of 10 March, there have been 41 rockets and 28 mortars fired at Israel from Gaza. There has been one fatality (a foreign worker) in 2010 in Southern Israel as a result of a rocket attack, and no injuries. Additionally two Israeli soldiers were killed on 26 March following a clash with Palestinian militants.
Chris Bryant: The UK regularly raises concerns regarding coexistence between the Jewish and Arab communities in Israel. I discussed these in my meeting with the Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister on 9 February. We also highlighted the issue in the 2009 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Report on Human Rights, which was published on 17 March.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will request HM Ambassador in Morocco to seek information on the detention by the Moroccan authorities of (a) Ali Salem Tamek, (b) Brahim Dahane, (c) Ahmed Nasiri, (d) Yahdih Tarouzi and (e) Rashid Sghir. 
Chris Bryant: We are aware of the arrest of these five people, and two others, at Casablanca airport on 8 October 2009. The Moroccan authorities have publicly stated that the individuals are being held in relation to charges of treason and conspiracy against the state with enemy forces. Six remain on remand in Morocco. One has been released pending trial.
We and our EU colleagues continue to monitor the case. We have discussed this with the Moroccan authorities on several occasions and underlined the importance of a free and fair trial. We are also in contact with local
non-governmental organisations who are following the case. Some of these been granted access to visit the individuals in prison and have stated their intention to observe the trial.
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