Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Travel

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 9th July 2015.

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Labour, West Bromwich East

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many (a) civil servants and (b) special advisers in his Department are entitled to the use of (i) a car with a dedicated driver, (ii) a car from the Government car pool and (iii) a taxi ordered through a departmental account.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff in the UK do not use a car with dedicated driver. FCO Services has a small pool of vehicles and security cleared drivers which are used mainly for transporting Queen's Messengers, diplomatic bags and other classified material. As part of a long-standing arrangement, the Permanent Under-Secretary and other senior officials are able to draw on this pool for official and operationally necessary travel. The FCO does make use of a taxi service provider which FCO staff are entitled to use according to strict policy rules governing the use of taxis for official journeys. FCO policy states that ‘for duty travel staff should use the most efficient means of transport; the use of taxis for official business should be avoided unless it is absolutely necessary, usually when there is no other means of public transport to the destination, or there is a need to transport bulky official materials (not personal luggage) to or from a course, seminar or meeting. FCO Staff are entitled to use a taxi when it is considered the most efficient means of transport. Special Advisers are not entitled to us ethe FCO Services provided small car pool or the departmental taxi provision. The statistical information requested is not held centrally and can only be collated at disproportionate cost.

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