To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the average cost to his Department was of processing the payment of an invoice in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of invoices settled in that period his Department paid (a) electronically and (b) by cheque.
The average cost of processing an invoice for payment at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) UK Corporate Service Centre in Milton Keynes is £2.94 for the month of September 2011. The number provided is based on average salary costs, excluding overheads. The Department is unable to provide the average cost of processing invoices for payment across the whole of the FCO's global network. This information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
In the UK, the FCO settles all invoices electronically. Our overseas posts are able to make cheque payments. However, obtaining transactional level information from our overseas network could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.