UK – Trade ministers spend over £1 million on recruitment agencies for Brexit trade negotiators

03 August 2017

The Department for International Trade has spent £1.15 million on recruitment agencies in the year to June 2016 in order to find trade negotiators with the necessary skills to strike deals once Britain leaves the EU.

INews reports that the details of the spending emerged through a series of parliamentary questions tabled by the Labour peer Lord Adonis, which showed the money was paid to “organisations for services relating to the recruitment of staff”. It was also reported that the Department has faced challenges in hiring enough trade negotiation specialists trade deals as ministers have confirmed only one appointment so far.

The DIT has been attempting to train its own staff on trade and negotiations policy. So far, 200 DIT have undergone trade policy training, according to the International Trade Minister Lord Price’s written answer. The department has a budget of £1.6m for 2017/18 to cover training.  “Since its formation in July 2016, the department’s headcount has increased to a global workforce of over 3,200 people. The Trade Policy Group that includes policy and country specialists, as well as expert economic analysts and lawyers, has itself quadrupled in size,” a spokesperson said. “To ensure the department gets the brightest and best people available, at every level, recruitment costs have been spread across the board through both external and internal service providers and are managed locally.”

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