Skip to main content

Departmental Official Hospitality

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 11 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what records his Department maintains of its expenditure on (a) official hospitality and (b) alcohol for official hospitality. (240477)

DCSF is unable to identify separately the costs of alcohol from those of official hospitality as such expenditure is claimed and recorded under the general heading above.

My Department's policy on hospitality, including that on alcohol, is in accordance with the principles of Treasury guidance in “Managing Public Money” and the handbook on “Regularity, Propriety and Value for Money”.

(a) Hospitality expenditure is limited to occasions when official business can best be transacted in that way. Personal entertainment is usually restricted to where senior managers (Deputy Director or above) are acting as host, and expenditure must be approved in advance by a Director or Executive Board member and recorded using the above category.

(b) The following guidance is issued by my Department to staff on the provision of alcohol.

There is a general principle that alcohol should not be provided at public expense and never when only civil servants are present.

It is accepted that there are some events, whose primary purpose is for non-civil servants, where not providing alcohol could be seen as unusual or cause embarrassment. It is done with due regard to value for money, any provision being modest and proportionate, and requires a senior manager's approval.