Page 1: Introduction
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is the lead UK government department in foreign affairs.
Its mission is to formulate and deliver foreign policy and look after UK interests abroad. This includes providing services and supporting British citizens abroad. It also supports British companies through UK Trade and Investment.
The UK works with other countries on major issues like climate change, financial stability, resolving conflicts and countering terrorism. The FCO has a global network of embassies, high commissions and consulates that all support UK government policies, UK businesses and UK individuals overseas.
The FCO's work is diverse and is primarily in three areas:
- Its embassies, high commissions and consulates provide a worldwide network for its staff and other parts of the UK government to tackle the key issues affecting Britain today. This includes managing relationships with other countries and international institutions, such as theUnited Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU).
- It formulates and delivers British foreign policy. This means working on key issues such as climate change, human rights and democracy, conflict prevention and resolution, and counter terrorism.
- It provides services for British nationals travelling or working abroad as well as promoting and supporting British businesses in overseas markets.
The FCO has 16,000 employees worldwide based in 260 embassies, high commissions and consulates. It deals with around 2.9 million enquiries every year. British nationals run these offices supported by employees from the local community.
FCO employees handle a wide range of activities and stakeholders as part of their day-to-day diplomatic work. This might include arranging visits for members of the Royal Family, British politicians, or delegations of British Muslims who talk about life in the UK as a Muslim, issuing visas or helping a UK business export its goods overseas. This work is challenging and FCO employees need a wide range of abilities in order to deliver the FCO's mission.
This case study examines how the FCO meets its goals through the skills and competencies of its people.