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Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 16 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions Capita Group plc tendered for contracts let by his Department in each of the last five years; how many such tenders were successful; how much his Department paid to Capita Group plc for the execution of contracts in each such year; how many contracts which terminate after 2010 Capita Group plc hold with his Department; and what the monetary value is of all outstanding contracts between his Department and Capita Group plc. (303155)

Capita Group PLC has primarily provided services to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the last five years undertaking and supporting specific recruitment campaigns as well as recruiting individual specialists and other staff to fill specific slots in the organisation both in the UK and overseas.

The FCO is committed to recruiting a talented and diverse work force, ensuring that the most qualified candidates from the widest range of backgrounds apply. It sometimes outsources specific recruitment campaigns for new entrants, and when specialist knowledge of a specific job market is required. This is more cost effective than running all recruitment campaigns through a larger in-house team and is a model used extensively across Central Government.

The following amounts were paid to Capita Group PLC by the FCO in the UK in each of the last five years:












FCO Services, an Executive Agency of the FCO operating as an independent Trading Fund since 1 April 2008 spent the following amounts with Capita Group PLC:








FCO Services acquired Trading Fund Status in April 2008. To be a successful and efficient trading organisation, a different set of skills and underlying processes were required. Temporary skills and resource were therefore brought into the organisation by Capita through a government procurement framework, in order to help set up of new processes and then transfer those skills in-house. For example, FCO Services needed to develop its own capability to support critical services around the world in the event of a business continuity incident. As these skill sets were new and not available in-house, a temporary contract was provided through Capita to build up this capability and enable the skill sets and processes to be adapted and transferred in- house. Contracts were also, for example, awarded through Capita to provide specialist sales and marketing resources. FCO Services had no specialist sales people prior to trading fund, but the need to drive forward their wider market sales in order to enable financial benefits to the FCO (e.g. price stabilisation and dividends) meant FCO Services needed the skills these resources provided.

Prior to 2007-08, FCO Services spend with Capita Group PLC is incorporated in the overall FCO figures.

Information regarding how many occasions Capita Group PLC tendered for FCO contracts in each of the last five years; how many such tenders were successful; how many contracts which terminate after 2010 Capita Group PLC hold; what the monetary value is of all outstanding contracts with Capita Group PLC; and the spend by overseas posts with Capita Group PLC, is not held centrally and would be available only at disproportionate cost.