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Diplomatic Service

Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will estimate the cost of electronically contacting (a) heads of missions and (b) governors of overseas territories to ascertain their region of birth. (100703)

The approximate cost of contacting heads of missions and governors of overseas territories and collating the information requested is £1,200, which is double the cut-off figure for disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who the current members of the internal selection board for appointing heads of mission for her Department are; and in what region each was born. (100720)

Ambassadors and other heads of mission are mostly selected by internal competition at various boards. Individuals bid for specific posts and selections are made on the basis of a competitive process. Appointments are agreed at the appropriate political level.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff sitting on these internal selection boards are all drawn from the senior management structure (SMS) of the FCO.

The No 1 (Selection) Board makes recommendations for head of mission appointments in the SMS at Pay Bands 3 (Director-General) and 2 (Director). The members of the board are the five Directors-General on the FCO Board of Management listed on the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk?About_us?FCO_Board) and one of the non-executive members of the FCO Board also takes part. The board is chaired by the Permanent Under-Secretary. They were born in:

West Midlands

East Midlands

Cheshire

Berkshire

Buckinghamshire

London

Lancashire.

The No 2 (Selection) Board makes recommendations for head of mission appointments in the SMS at Pay Band 1 (Deputy Director). Members of this board are drawn rotationally from a list of FCO Directors (who are also listed in the public domain). Membership of this board is voluntary. The current members were born in:

London (6)

Devon

New Zealand

Surrey

Strathclyde

Austria

Middlesbrough

Edinburgh (2)

Germany

Warwickshire

Jamaica

Cambridgeshire

Somerset

Lancashire.

The Band D (Selection) Board makes recommendations for head of mission appointments in the Delegated Grades. Members of this Board take part voluntarily.

Kent (3)

Yorkshire

Lincolnshire

Surrey (2)

London (2)

Gloucestershire.

Specific appointments will sometimes be made on an ad hoc basis by selection boards appointed for that purpose, particularly at the most senior levels.