Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many complaints about the work of his Department and each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies were received in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement.
Records of complaints received by our network of diplomatic posts around the world are not held centrally and cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost. Information on complaints raised with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) by the parliamentary ombudsman are recorded on page 29 of the FCO’s annual departmental report:
For the period April 2010-March 2011, 1,061 complaints relating to the FCO’s consular services were received by consular staff based in the UK. For the period April 2011-March 2012, 191 complaints relating to the FCO’s consular services were received by consular staff based in the UK. There was a change in reporting method for the 2011-12 figures, which do not include complaints regarding passports and visas following the transfer of responsibility to the Overseas Passport Management Unit/Identity and Passport Service and the UK Border Agency respectively.
FCO Services is an Executive agency and trading fund of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which operates commercially and competes with private sector suppliers for the provision of secure logistics, project and information communication technology services. As an organisation it supplies products and services to the UK Government and other international institutions and Governments with which the UK has close links. FCO Services has a formal complaints procedure to enable its government customers to resolve issues as they arise. Eight cases were logged through this procedure in 2010-11 and six in 2011-12. Complaints received outside of this formal procedure are not recorded.
The British Council is an Executive non-departmental body of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It is also a registered charity, and is incorporated by Royal Charter. The British Council does not hold a central log of complaints received across its global network. Offices overseas each have a designated complaints manager and deal with any complaints which arise locally. The British Council has recently begun to collect feedback which includes complaints on its UK operations. In 2011-12 383 such enquiries were received using this mechanism.
Wilton Park is an Executive agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which organises conferences on international topics. Wilton Park does not hold central records of complaints received, and it did not receive any complaints about its service in 2010-11 or 2011-12. Feedback from conference delegates indicate that the conferences are well received.
The Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission is a non-departmental body of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It administers the Marshall Scholarship programme, which provides scholarships to students from the USA to pursue postgraduate study in the UK. The Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission has a formal complaints procedure. It did not receive any complaints about its work in 2010-11 or 2011-12.
The Great Britain China Centre does not hold central records of complaints received.