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Departmental Public Relations

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost was of (a) entertainment, (b) advertising and promotion and (c) public relations consultancy to his Department in 2007-08. (228162)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not keep a central record of amounts spent on entertainment, and advertising and promotion. The information required to answer this question could be obtained only by requiring individual budget holders in the FCO to examine all invoices for the required years. This could be done only at disproportionate cost.

Annual expenditure on external consultants is published in the Department's annual reports, copies of which are in the Library of the House. The two most recent annual reports also contain details of expenditure on the top five consultancy suppliers. Expenditure on public relations contracts is not categorised separately, and could not be identified without incurring a disproportionate cost. However, it is not likely to be significant as the vast majority of work undertaken for the FCO by consultants is associated with its major information communication technology and estate construction programmes.

The FCO is committed to ensuring that all expenditure, including that on entertainment, is incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.