The FCO's performance and finances in 2013-2014 - Foreign Affairs Contents

1  Introduction

1. This short Report on the FCO's performance and finances in 2013-14 summarises our views on the future direction of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Although it is based on the FCO's Annual Report and Accounts for 2013-14, it draws more widely on evidence we have received since the start of this Parliament. We assess the impact of the 2010 Spending Review and the implications for the Department of any further cuts that might be imposed under the new Government after the May 2015 General Election. We also look at two aspects of the FCO which have received little scrutiny from us so far: the FCO's trade and economic diplomacy, and its efforts to improve the diversity of its workforce.

2. Our terms of reference were announced on 21 July 2014, as follows:

·  The FCO's diversity policies, including the steps it has taken to increase the number of women in senior roles, and other diversity targets;

·  The establishment of the Diplomatic Academy;

·  The interface between the FCO and the European External Action Service overseas;

·  Co-operation between the FCO and other Government departments and publicly funded bodies, including the arrangements for use of FCO premises and services overseas, and pooling of effort and funding in pursuit of policy aims;

·  The FCO's understanding and reporting of the costs of its activities;

·  The changing role of the FCO and its staff in promoting investment and trade; and

·  Corporate sponsorship of FCO activities.[1]

3. Written evidence to the inquiry is published on the Committee's webpages on the Parliamentary website.[2] We took oral evidence from the Permanent Under-Secretary at the FCO, Sir Simon Fraser, and other key FCO officials; and we took evidence from the Chair, Chief Executive and former Chief Executive of the British Council. Our Report, however, relates exclusively to the FCO. We are grateful to all those who have taken part in the inquiry.


1   FCO Performance and Finance 2013-14: Terms of Reference, 21 July 2014 Back

2   FCO Performance and Finance 2013-14: written evidence Back

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© Parliamentary copyright 2015
Prepared 27 February 2015