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Correction to PQ 95254

Volume 451: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2006

In my reply on 26 October 2006 to the below question from the hon. Member for Cotswold (Mr. Clifton-Brown) two pages were omitted from the answer (Official Report, column 2071W). I regret this error and now attach the whole reply.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many redundancies there were in her Department in each year since 1997; what the cost of such redundancies was in each year; how many temporary staff were employed in each year; and how many staff were seconded by outside organisations to posts within the Department in each year. (95254)

The rules governing redundancies are set out by the Cabinet Office and include schemes for Compulsory Early Retirement (CER) for officers over 50 and Compulsory Early Severance (CES) for those under 50.

The annual number of junior/middle management officers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) who have taken redundancy through the CER or CES schemes for the years 1997 to 2006 are shown below and include efficiency restructuring in FCO Services. Costs shown for the years 1997 to 2001 are the total for all early retirements in each of those years. We could not break these figures down further without incurring disproportionate costs. The costs from 2002 to 2006 cover redundancy packages only.

Numbers

Costs (£1)

1997

23

2,824,767

1998

1

3,314,768

1999

5

3,801,817

2000

7

1,871,688

2001

3

2,825,390

2002

2

198,498

2003

1

173,353

2004

2

68,739

2005

10

1,270,758

2006

17

2,080,925

1 Estimated Costs

Since 1995, we have given FCO senior management staff the opportunity to volunteer for early retirement on CER or CES terms if they complete a full posting before retirement age or had been unable to find a suitable appointment within the Department. To meet efficiency targets, in particular to reduce substantially the number of staff in the Senior Management Structure, we extended this offer to a wider range of senior officers in September 2004, using funding from the HM Treasury’ Efficiency Challenge Fund. The numbers of officers who took early retirement on these terms since 1997 are shown below. As mentioned previously, the costs for 1997 to 2001 are totals covering all early retirements; to provide a further break down would incur disproportionate costs.

Number

Costs (£1)

1997

10

2,824,767

1998

2

3,314,766

1999

2

3,801,817

2000

9

1,871,688

2001

8

2,983,651

2002

7

1,079,194

2003

17

1,905,058

2004

20

2,920,305

2005

35

6,827,231

2006

32

6,042,855

1Estimated costs

The number of temporary/agency staff employed annually by the FCO is as follows:

2003

30

2004

41

2005

57

2006 - January

35

The figures listed refer to FCO and FCO Services members of staff on temporary contract whose salary is paid from the FCO pay bill. Officers paid from project or departmental funds have been excluded. Information prior to 2003 has not been included; the research required to collect these data would incur disproportionate costs.

The FCO does not have a central record of the numbers of staff under contract from agencies. To obtain such figures would incur disproportionate costs.

We do not maintain central records of staff working in the FCO on inward secondment. Individual Directorates within the FCO have the authority to recruit and deploy staff on inward secondment to fill knowledge and skills gaps within the organisation.

The FCO considers inward secondments to be loans from organisations other than Government Departments or agencies. Loans from other Government Departments or agencies are known as interchange.