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British Consulate (San Francisco)

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the grades were of the civil servants, and what the total cost was of, the visits of two groups of civil servants to San Francisco to inspect the British Consulate, broken down by (a) travel, (b) subsistence and (c) other costs; how many other properties they inspected; and what length of time was taken for the two visits.[121456]

The first visit took place in March 2002 and the second in March 2003.The first comprised three D Band (Home Civil Service Principal equivalent) officers from different sections of our estate departments in Croydon. Two visited for five working days, and one for two, to inspect properties the Post had short-listed as potentially suitable as a new Residence. The cost of the three return flights was £11,986. Subsistence totalled £2,031. There would also have been some minor local expenditure on transport within San Francisco and photocopying.The second visit also comprised three people: one from the Senior Management Structure (SMS) of the FCO, one D Band officer and one external adviser. The combined cost of air fares was £11,612. The SMS officer and the Estate Adviser spent five days in San Francisco but the D Band officer remained for a further six days (including the weekend) for a detailed technical investigation of the property selected. Subsistence totalled £4,026. Sundry expenditure including telephone calls totalled approximately £55. Local transport was arranged and paid for by the Consulate-General and the total cost is not readily available.