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Departments: Legalisation Office

Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the merits of retaining a Legalisation Office of his Department in central London and opening a second Legalisation Office outside London to deal with postal and DX applications for legalisation. (155922)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) Legalisation Office needs to move from its current premises in the Old Admiralty Building because of security concerns, lack of space as the business expands, and the FCO's commitment to move positions out of London under the Lyons relocation programme. The additional space for an expanded operation will allow us to improve significantly the current levels of service.

We explored options outside central London, notably Birmingham, Milton Keynes and Bristol, to allow for the much needed expansion of the office, an improved office environment and a readily available employment pool, while at the same time addressing security concerns and our Lyons relocation commitments.

Our initial assessment pointed to moving the entire operation outside London. FCO officials met with a group of representatives from a cross-section of the Legalisation Office's customers in the FCO on 3 July. Following this initial meeting and subsequent discussions with the Confederation of British Industry and our key stakeholders, we received strong representations for a continued presence in London.

We have now completed our consultation exercise and will be shortly announcing our decision on the future location of the Legalisation Office.