§ Mr. Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his estimate of the expenditure of his(a) Department, (b) agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies on external consultants in (i) 1995–96, (ii) 1996–97, (iii) 1997–98 to 238W date and (iv) 1997–98 full year; and if he will also estimate the cost savings resulting from the employment of such consultants for each of the above years. 
§ Mr. Tony Lloyd
[holding answer 5 February 1998]: Spending on external consultants' by the FCO, its executive agency and non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs):
£ million 1995–96 1996–97 1997–98
1997–98 FCO 17.65 11.80 10.80 15.36 Agency — 0.06 — — NDPBs2 0.05 0.03 0.06 0.08 1 As defined in the 1994 Efficiency Unit Scrutiny. 2 Excludes the British Council, for whom figures could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The bulk of FCO consultancy spending is for technical expertise on capital projects and information technology, often for infrastructure projects, designed to promote overall efficiency. Where savings are achieved, the work of external consultants is only one factor to be taken into account. Quantified annual cost savings for such work are therefore not available.