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Departmental Manpower

Volume 502: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff of his Department were in its redeployment pool on 1 (a) January, (b) April, (c) July and (d) October 2009. (306716)

The corporate pool is a valuable source of short-term cover for urgent operational demands, for example the recently announced Afghanistan conference, where corporate pool resources have been essential. However, it is kept under constant review to ensure that the number of people in the pool is kept at the optimum level.

The size of the pool during 2009 was as follows.

Total

January

228

April

232

July

218

October

215

Over 90 per cent. of staff in the corporate pool were deployed to departments or on language or other pre-posting training. The October figures represent 4.6 per cent. of total UK-based staff.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the FCO-DfID Shared Services Plan of November 2006, which body is responsible for assessing in each instance whether sharing services represent value for money; and what criteria are used in making such an assessment. (307055)

Under the 2006 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)-Department for International Development (DFID) Shared Services Plan the two Departments have agreed to work together to share services wherever it represents value for money.

Work to date has focused on increasing co-location of FCO and DFID operations in countries where both departments have a presence, harmonising the pay and conditions of support staff, increasing collaboration in procurement, coordinating ICT plans, and improving practical cooperation in the UK and overseas.

The two Departments meet quarterly at senior official level to review progress. They seek in these discussions to make joint assessments of whether co-operation in a given area is delivering value for money and the other practical benefits which the plan aims to achieve.