Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from the Permanent Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office


  Over the last few months, we have made a number of changes to the way the Office is managed. The new, unified FCO Board has met monthly since the beginning of the year, considering policy and resource issues together. Since May, the new Directors' Committee has discussed papers in advance of Board meetings, as well as the implementation of Board decisions afterwards. Both are supported by the new Directorate for Strategy and Innovation. Earlier this month Jack Straw chaired the first meeting of the Ministerial/Official Strategy and Finance Group, which will determine policy for the resource allocation round following the Spending Review settlement in July.

  When the Board discussed these issues earlier this year, we agreed to look also at the individual roles and responsibilities of DUSs. We have now decided to make a number of changes aimed at strengthening the corporate role of DUSs as members of the Board and senior managers. To achieve this, we will:

    —  share the responsibility for supervision of geographical commands more evenly between FCO members of the Board, to ensure that all Departments and Posts have a Board member who is able to take a particular interest in their issues and activities, and see to it that these are taken into account in Board decisions. They will also have line management responsibility for senior staff. Policy responsibility remains clearly with Directors;

    —  clarify the responsibility of FCO Board members as owners of Objectives, bringing them into line with the new Objectives (which formally take effect next April). FCO Board members will be responsible for the delivery of Public Service Agreement targets, and for agreeing with Ministers priorities for resource allocation within each Objective.

  To reflect these changes to the role and responsibilities of FCO members of the Board, together with the reforms to the management structures I have already mentioned, we have also decided to change their titles from DUS to Director General. I think this better reflects the new roles, is less anachronistic, and will be better understood both in Whitehall and in many countries overseas. At the same time, and for the same reasons, Commands will be called Directorates.

  Some changes will take place with immediate effect. Further changes will be made next year, to coincide with changes to the structure of the Office that will be needed to reflect the forthcoming enlargement of the EU. The allocation of responsibilities set out below will take effect from 1 October. As you will see, this will result in some delayering of responsibility: Dickie Stagg will report straight to me as Director for Information; UK Visas and Consular Division will be managed directly at Board level by Graham Fry. The Group Chief Executive of British Trade International will continue to be responsible for delivery of FCO Objective two relating to trade development and investment promotion.

Sir Michael Jay

Permanent Under-Secretary of State

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

25 September 2002

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