No official funds were used for Christmas parties in the last three years: any parties attended are entirely at the cost of the individual member of staff. Expenditure on staff entertainment is tightly controlled, and is only incurred as part of the Home Office policy on staff reward and recognition, and where it is shown that alternative forms of recognition (such as saying thank you, providing vouchers, or a bonus) have been considered. The Department's accounting system shows that expenditure on reward and recognition has been:
£ 2005-06 13,687.08 2006-/07 57,963.78 2007-/08 203,980.11
All Home Office expenditure on rewards and recognition, including staff entertainment, conforms to the principles of regularity, propriety and value for money, and any other guidance as applicable contained within Managing Public Money.
The increase in expenditure is attributable to enhanced communication and senior management support of the reward and recognition policy, which in line with Central Government practice.
For the Department's agencies, the Criminal Records Bureau and the Identity and Passport Service's spend could be provided only at disproportionate cost.