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New British Consul for the Algarve

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New British Consul for the Algarve

Post by Pedro Silva on Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:59 am

My friends, new British Consul for the Algarve:

please take a look at this link, from the Algarve Resident:

http://www.algarveresident.com/story.asp?XID=37086

Also at The Portugal News:

Three years on - British Ambassador reveals a job well done
17/7/2010
Almost three years since his appointment as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Portugal, Mr. Alexander Ellis has this week spoken of his time in office, the immediate challenges he is facing and what his aims and objectives are for the future.
In an interview on Wednesday, Mr. Ellis told The Portugal News of the joys of cycling in Lisbon traffic, feeding guests from the vegetable garden at his residence, and the new appointments at the Lisbon and Algarve Consuls.
Touching on the economic crisis and the new coalition government, the Ambassador says: "There are going to be changes. I am going to have to disappoint anyone who thinks there will be none".
Since being awarded the post as Ambassador to Portugal, Mr. Ellis has moved his office to the second floor of the British Embassy, which serves as an indication of his open-natured personality and will to not exclude himself from the staff employed at the embassy.
"I moved my office from behind some heavy metal doors down to a place where a lot of people can now come in", he says, adding that a number of walls have been brought down in the embassy to create a more open plan environment.
The embassy has in the past three years also looked to build on its energy efficient practices and is now one of the top performers in the world in terms of environmental friendliness.
"We reduced our gas consumption by 50 percent last year and our electricity usage by a little less than that", explains Mr. Ellis, before rising from his chair to point to a large photovoltaic panel outside his office, "We installed that yesterday", he smiles, before saying proudly: "We were one of the top three ‘green’ embassies in the world last year".
Mr. Ellis also reveals that produce from the vegetable gardens located at the embassy and the official residence are often served at the dinner table.
The Ambassador also discloses that he usually covers the four kilometres between the residence and the embassy with a bicycle.
"It usually takes me around 25 minutes. It is a very nice bike ride", he says. When questioned over the habits of Lisbon drivers while riding, he leans forward to ‘touch’ the wood centre-table before explaining: "I have so far had no issues from Portuguese drivers and it’s a great way to keep in shape".
He admits that he did not take his bicycle to work on the day of this interview, but explains that this was only the result of a flat tyre.
Staying on the ‘green’ theme, the Ambassador says that he and his team have spent the best part of the last three years looking at how to make improvements and be more innovative at the embassy.
"We have tried to innovate a lot. Electronic invitations, as an example - while they are not to everyone’s liking, they are cheaper and more efficient.
"We share better practices a lot more here in Iberia by learning from each other.
"Portugal and Spain were last year together up for the most innovative and efficient embassies in the world, an award which we won."
The Ambassador further reveals that the aim is to manage the embassy in the most transparent manner possible, with the staging of monthly board meetings a great help in this aspect.
"We also try to reward good performance and tackle bad performance" as a means of obtaining general improvements.
"We try to tell people early when they are not performing by taking the appropriate remedial action and improve our training."
Questioned over whether drastic measures have been taken to "tackle bad performers", Mr. Ellis responds with a simple "Yes".
The current staff contingent at the embassy is 61, but the Ambassador makes no secret about the fact he would like more help.
"I would always like more, but the pressure is on the British exchequer.
"We have already reduced staff numbers, and we now have more locally-based staff. There has been a big change culturally over the past two or three years, though many of our local staff are Britons."
As for the overall mood of embassy employees, the Ambassador disclosed the findings of the most recent staff survey. "I am pleased to say we were up in 16 and down in only 4 categories".
But the route British Embassies located across the globe will have to take with the election of the new government was made clear last week by Foreign Secretary William Hague who, as Mr. Ellis recalls, told Ambassadors: "I want all of you to be commercial ambassadors".
"The good news is I am doing that already", says the Ambassador, adding: "Roughly 20 percent of my time is spent on commercial issues, and that’s a mixture speaking to Portuguese investors and potential Portuguese investors to the UK and helping British investors looking to export to Portugal."
The Ambassador adds that as is the case with Portugal, Britain is going to have export its way to recovery.
As for the expatriate community in Portugal, he says: "What really impressed me is how much people do within the community and that is fantastic. I am really struck with the commitment British expats show, whether they are involved with businesses here, charity work or in education. British expats make a huge difference."
Speaking of the new appointments at the respective consulates in Lisbon and the Algarve, Mr. Ellis says: "I am very happy with both the new appointments. [New Algarve Consul] Clive Jewell brings in enormous experience from the travel industry and of the Algarve itself, having lived and worked there for 20 years, which is great. [New Lisbon Consul] Simona Demura brings with her the skills gained from working many years at the British Council, while she lived in Lisbon for many years", explains the Ambassador.
"While these appointments are very different, they are a very good fit for what we are trying to achieve."
Happy with what you have achieved since your appointment in the autumn 2007?
Speaking of the perceived success since his appointment in , he replies humbly: "It is not for me to make the judgement and I am still here for another year so there is still work to do."
The post of British Ambassador to Portugal will be advertised next summer, which will signal the end of Alexander Ellis’s time in Lisbon.
The Ambassador comes from a family of teachers and once seriously contemplated becoming a teacher, following in the footsteps of both his parents and grandfather.
But the urge to travel, he says, was stronger, and was partly the reason why he decided to look for work in the diplomatic service.
"My avatar is a teacher - I always seek opportunities working with schools and universities. Teaching is very tough, but a rewarding profession nonetheless", he says.
"I think if I stay in the foreign office, it is likely that I will be going back to London. I have been abroad for most my career, and you can’t get away with that forever", he reasons.
As for a future in politics, he replies: "I am not a political person, I am a civil servant. But it will be a great wrench to leave Portugal."
Mr. Ellis also worked for the British government in Lisbon for five years between 1992 and 1996, serving as third and later second secretary.
"My wife is a Portuguese diplomat and our son (12) is very happy here. So we’ll see what happens next", concludes Alexander Wykeham Ellis, having so far, by all accounts succeeded in boosting relations between the world’s oldest alliance.

Brendan de Beer

Pedro Silva
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Re: New British Consul for the Algarve

Post by jean on Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:50 am

I wonder whether it is worth contacting him. He seems to be a positive person who cares about people. Can you find his address anywhere Pedro?

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Re: New British Consul for the Algarve

Post by Pedro Silva on Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:06 pm

jean my friend, here is the contacts, taken from Algarve Resident newspaper:

For further information about British consular services in the Algarve, please visit
www.ukinportugal.fco.gov.uk/en or call 282 490 750

Mr. Jewell is based in Portimao.

Thank you.

Pedro Silva
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