Delivering the mission statement
A Foreign & Commonwealth Office case study

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Page 2: Aims and objectives

It is important for every organisation to be clear about what it wants to achieve. A mission statement gives the direction and focus for the organisation. 

FCO's mission statement is: 'Better World, Better Britain'. This statement recognises the interdependence of countries, for example, Britain trades with the Caribbean islands for its year round supply of tropical fruits. This means that the Caribbean has a stable economy. It also means by maintaining good relations with other nations it should make the world a safer, more just and prosperous place and in turn Britain too.

Events in other countries impact upon businesses, individuals and the economy in the UK. For instance, when oil prices increase in the Middle East, it has a knock-on effect for the cost of petrol/diesel prices making it more expensive to transport goods in and out of the UK.

In order to meet its mission, FCO needs to set clear goals and aims. Within each aim, FCO sets out a number of objectives. Objectives are more precise statements that help to deliver the goals.

The FCO has identified a number of goals and objectives in three main areas to support its mission to create a fairer and safer world. This benefits British citizens living in the UK and abroad and helps improve their quality of life.

  1. Essential services - are about supporting the British economy and people. One objective within this goal is 'to improve the reputation of the UK as the international business partner of choice in key sectors in leading overseas markets'. The aim of this objective is to improve the performance and opportunities of UK companies operating in an increasingly globalised and competitive world by prioritising these sectors: creative industries, life sciences, information and communication technology, energy technologies and financial and legal services. As part of this the FCO also supports and advises foreign companies who want to invest in the UK. Latest figures show that more than 7,500 companies improved their performance as a result of FCO support, generating around £2.5 billion benefit. FCO identified 17 high-growth markets with significant opportunities for UK business. They focus their staff and resources in markets such as India, China, Brazil and Russia.
  1. Policy goals - are about wider issues and relationships. For example, within the goal of preventing and resolving conflict, objectives include 'to promote human rights, democracy, rule of law and good governance.' For example managing projects in China to restrict the use of the death penalty.
  1. The global network -This includes setting up meetings between host governments and experts from the British government, and making sure that the right messages are communicated at the right time to host governments. For example FCO's High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan, has staff from the Home Office, Metropolitan Police Department for Transport, Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development.

The skills and expertise of FCO's staff in languages and diplomacy can be essential for other UK Government departments to work effectively with their foreign counterparts.

Objectives can be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and with a Time-frame). This means clearly measurable targets or outcomes are set, so that the FCO can identify when they are achieved. FCO has produced a new strategic framework to bring together its goals and objectives and demonstrate how it is planning to achieve them.


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Foreign & Commonwealth Office | Delivering the mission statement