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Departmental Manpower

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff there were in his Department (a) in 1997 and (b) on the latest date for which figures are available. (292063)

There have been numerous organisational changes in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) since 1997. Explaining changes in staff strength over that period is, therefore, not straightforward. In 1997 the FCO employed 5,539 Full Time Equivalent UK based staff, including those working on entry clearance. The comparable figure for 1 October 2009 is 5,478. This includes just under 950 staff in FCO Services, which is now a Trading Fund but excludes staff working on entry clearance. This function has transferred to the UK Border Agency (UKBA)—an agency of the Home Office.

The reduction in FCO numbers since 1997 is the net effect of:

the transfer to UKBA of the entry clearance function;

expansion in the consular and migration functions; and

efficiency savings in other areas.