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Diplomatic Service: Recruitment

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria internal selection boards in his Department apply to the selection of heads of mission. (244253)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) number 1 and number 2 Selection Boards appoint heads of mission at senior civil service (SCS) level. Members are appointed by virtue of their position, without further criteria for membership of the selection boards. Members of the number 1 selection board are FCO board members, that is Directors-General of the FCO. One non-executive FCO board member also sits on the number 1 selection board. Membership of the number 2 selection board is drawn by rotation from the list of FCO Directors. FCO Directors and Directors-General are appointed to those positions on the basis of merit.

The Band D selection board appoints heads of mission in the delegated grades, that is those grades below the level of the senior civil service. This board is chaired by the Human Resources Assistant Director for Operations. Its members are volunteers at SCS level, who are required to have experience of working in our missions overseas as well as in UK positions. Their membership of the selection board is approved by the trade union side.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in which towns his Department participated in (a) careers fairs and (b) community business events in order to extend the diversity among its recruits. (244271)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has participated in careers fairs at the following locations in 2007 and 2008. For the years previous to 2007, 1 refer to the answer of 6 November 2006, Official Report, column 838W on careers fairs.

FCO attendance at careers fairs






















FCO Services, a trading fund of the FCO, attended two careers fairs in Milton Keynes in 2008.

The Department has not participated in any community business events in order to extend the diversity of its recruits.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1763W, on the Diplomatic Service: public appointments, what outreach activities have been undertaken in the last 12 months. (244447)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) takes a targeted approach to outreach activities, aimed at broadening the diversity of our work force, including through a new positive action programme, the Partner University Placement Scheme (PUPS).

The partner universities are Bath, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Kings College, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford and University College London, and were chosen because they scored highly both in terms of academic achievement and ethnic diversity and/or social inclusion.

The FCO also participates in Cabinet Office diversity internships taking students from the Summer Development Programme (SDP) and the Summer Placement Scheme (SPS). The SDP is an internship for students from a minority ethnic background and the SPS is for students with a registered disability.

The FCO has also attended:

Two university work experience fairs at Durham and Kings College;

Four university careers fairs at Cambridge, Edinburgh, Bath and Kings College;

The National Graduate Recruitment Exhibition in Manchester.

FCO Services, a Trading Fund of the FCO, has attended two careers fairs in Milton Keynes.

These outreach activities were specifically targeted at the recruitment of candidates for vacancies and work experience schemes. All these events contained a strong message aimed at increasing the diversity base of those who apply for roles at the FCO.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for people appointed to senior posts in his Department on an ad hoc basis by selection boards appointed for the purpose in the last 12 months, how many went to (a) private school, (b) state school, (c) Oxford or Cambridge University and (d) other university. (244450)

Four members of staff at senior civil service level have been appointed in the last 12 months by open competition. Of these, two went to state school, one to public and one to both state and private schools. Three are Oxbridge graduates and one attended another university.