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Mr. Woodward: Information on employees is only held for five years. The number of press officers working in the Northern Ireland Office for each of the five years is detailed in the following table. There are no communications officers in the Department.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department paid in bonuses to press and communication officers in each of the last 10 years; and what the (a) highest and (b) lowest such bonus was in each of those years. 
Mr. Woodward: This information is held electronically for the previous two years and details are set out in the following table. Prior years would have to be obtained through a manual exercise and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 27 November 2007, Official Report, column 340W, on Afghanistan: detainees, how many detainees have been transferred from UK forces to the Afghan authorities under the terms of the bilateral memorandum of understanding on the transfer of detainees. 
Information available to 29 January shows that a total of 74 detainees have been transferred
from UK forces to the Afghan authorities under the terms of the bilateral memorandum of understanding on the transfer of detainees. Of those, 13 remain in Afghan custody.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) pursuant to the answer of 27 November 2007, Official Report, column 340W, on Afghanistan: detainees, whether the UK's bilateral memorandum of understanding on the transfer of detainees with the Afghan authorities contains provisions for the monitoring of the human rights condition of detainees after transfer; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the human rights situations in prisons used to house detainees transferred to the Afghan authorities by UK forces in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
The Afghan government has shown that it is fully aware of its obligations and takes its human rights responsibilities seriously. The arrangements for access to detainees by our officials and by human rights organisations to monitor their treatment were restated in an exchange of letters between the Afghan government and the governments of Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the United States in 2007.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK staff are serving in diplomatic posts in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq; and what plans there are for UK staff numbers in those posts in each of the next three years. 
David Miliband: Our embassies and other diplomatic posts in both Afghanistan and Iraq are staffed by officials from a range of Government Departments, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, the Ministry of Defence and (in Afghanistan) the Afghanistan Drugs Inter-Departmental Unit.
In Afghanistan, there are over 100 UK-based civilian officials in our embassy in Kabul and over 30 UK-based civilian officials in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. Their roles include work in governance, reconstruction and development, and counter narcotics. We plan to increase over the coming period staff numbers to further strengthen our efforts in Afghanistan: the precise details remain to be determined.
Over 50 UK-based civilian officials work in our embassy in Baghdad and our embassy offices in Basra and Erbil. They are there to support the democratically elected Government of Iraq in their efforts to achieve reconciliation, democracy, good governance, economic prosperity and
security. We do not expect staff numbers to change significantly over the next three years.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has received representations from (a) human rights organisations and (b) International Security Assistance Force coalition partners about the human rights conditions in Afghan prisons; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: We maintain an ongoing dialogue with human rights organisations and International Security Assistance Force partners on a range of detention-related matters, including human rights issues. British officials have also met human rights organisations to discuss reports on specific detention-related issues. We have a constructive relationship with the Afghan government on these issues, and are working closely with them on a number of projects to improve facilities and governance.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which British Council offices and facilities were closed (a) permanently and (b) temporarily (i) as a result of pressure from foreign governments and (ii) in other circumstances in each of the last two years. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: No British Council offices were permanently closed as a result of pressure from foreign governments within the last two years. Operations have been suspended in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg since 17 January 2008 in the light of pressures from the Russian government.
As part of its global strategy and re-allocation of resources into priority regions, the British Council permanently closed three country offices and 29 facilities in 2006 and 16 facilities in 2007. There were no country closures in 2007.
Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to sign the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse; and if he will make a statement. 
The Convention is a significant instrument, which contains a number of provisions that will help improve child protection. The UKs signature will be a signal of our continued commitment to this important area of protection.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his
Department is on course to meet the commitment in the Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate targets to (a) source at least 10 per cent. of its electricity from renewables by 31 March 2008 and (b) increase recycling figures to 40 per cent. of waste by 2010. 
Meg Munn: Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate targets apply to the central Government estate in the UK. In financial year 2005-06 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office sourced 39 per cent. of its electricity from renewables and recycled 32.7 per cent. of its waste on its UK estate.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department met the target in the sustainable operations on the Government Estate to reverse the then upward trend in carbon emissions by April 2007. 
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department is working towards an accredited certified environmental management system for (a) its whole estate and (b) some of its buildings. 
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's environmental management system is accredited to the International Organisation for Standardisation 14001, and covers 91 per cent. of its staff on our three major sites. We keep under review whether we can effectively and efficiently extend coverage to our other relatively small sites.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the likely annual cost to the UK of the external action service as proposed in the Lisbon Treaty. 
Mr. Jim Murphy
[holding answer 1 February 2008]: The Lisbon Treaty provides for a European External Action Service (EEAS) which will bring together staff
currently working on external issues in the European Council Secretariat and the European Commission, along with secondees from EU member states. The EEAS will be launched only after the Treaty comes into force.
Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what checks his Department plans to make on companies and organisations tendering for contracts to administer visa application checks; how it will monitor the performance of those awarded such contracts; and what estimate he has made of the likely annual cost to his Department of such monitoring. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The commercial partnership contract to provide visa application services was signed on 27 February 2007 with CSC and VFS Global. Procurement was conducted in accordance with EU rules and under the Official Journal of the European Union procedure. Prospective bidders were required to provide evidence of their financial standing. UKvisas also conducted due diligence on all three short-listed companies and both successful companies have signed parent company guarantees. Performance is monitored through a regional and central governance structure and this includes performance against a number of agreed critical service performance levels/criteria, which can attract financial recompense to UKvisas if not met. In respect of the cost of monitoring, the information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total cost to the public purse of processing visa application checks at embassies and consulates was in the last financial year; and what estimate he has made of the equivalent annual cost arising in those countries where processing such checks has been outsourced. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: UKvisas is funded by income generated from the charging of visa fees agreed by Parliament through the Consular Fees Order. The cost of processing visa application checks at our embassies and consulates in the financial year 2006-07 was wholly met by visa fee income. The estimate of the full cost of the commercial partnership contract for outsourced visa application services in the financial year 2007-08 is £53.366 million. This cost is incorporated into visa fees which are applied globally.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the annual UK contribution was towards maintaining, staffing and operating the representative offices of the European Commission in (a) EU capitals, (b) non-EU capitals and (c) other locations in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 1 February 2008]: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold information on the UK contribution towards maintaining, staffing and operating the representative offices of the European Commission over the past 10 years.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British nationals worked in representative offices of the European Commission in (a) EU capitals, (b) non-EU capitals and (c) other locations in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many cases of bullying have been reported in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in each of the last 12 months. 
Meg Munn: In the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), two cases involving bullying were raised as internal grievances. One was partially upheld and one not upheld. One member of staff received a disciplinary penalty for bullying.
In FCO Services, an Executive agency of the FCO, there were three allegations in 2007: one was withdrawn; one was upheld and disciplinary action taken against the perpetrator; and one which is still under investigation.
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