FDA condemns Foreign and Commonwealth Office booklet

10 March 2009

(For immediate release)

FDA condemns Foreign and Commonwealth Office booklet

The decision by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) at a time of financial constraints to produce a glossybooklet of management slogans for staff - called Change 1 Thing - which includes brightly-coloured stickers to be issued to diplomats with words of encouragement such as "Congratulations", "That was Great" and "You're a Star!" has been condemned by the FDA. The FDA is the union representing all grades in the Diplomatic Service.

Dave Penman, FDA Head of Operations, said:

"This is a gross waste of public money. Aside from the potentially demeaning effect of such childish 'motivational tools',the publication of this booklet is particularly insensitive since it coincides with the announcement by the FCO of a highly demotivating reduction in the number of 'respite journeys' for FCO staff who have been posted to some of the world's more difficult and impoverished regions.

"In order to fund additional 'respite trips' for Diplomatic Service staff in some of the most difficult 'category 1' destinations such as Jakarta, Algiersand Tehran, the FCO has just announced it will remove 'respite journeys' altogether for staff incities considered less difficult, meaning that staff in these locations willreceive only one paid annual return fare home after each 12 months in post.

"If the FCO has monies to devote to glossy publications, 3-D spectacles and motivational stickers, it would be far better spent ensuring that all FCO employees who take up posts in dangerous or impoverished areas are fully supported by their employer, by way of essential benefits such as 'respite journeys'."

ENDS

Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union and professional body representing 18,000 of the UK's senior civil and public servants. Our members include policy advisors, senior managers, tax inspectors, economists, statisticians, accountants, special advisers, government lawyers, diplomats, crown prosecutors and NHS managers.

2. Members in HMRC are represented by the Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC), a section of the FDA.

3. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

4. For further information contact:

Dave Penman, Head of Operations, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07967 503827.

Oliver Rowe, Communications Officer, tel: 020 7401 5588 or 07590 838696.