The mission of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is to promote the national interests of the United Kingdom and to contribute to a strong world community.
The Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs (Foreign Secretary) is responsible to Parliament for the work of the FCO. He is supported by two Ministers of State and three Parliamentary Under-Secretaries.
The Permanent Under-Secretary (PUS) of the FCO, who is also Head of the Diplomatic Service, is responsible for the flow of advice on all aspects of foreign policy to the Foreign Secretary, and for the management of the FCO and Diplomatic Service. With the help of the Deputy Under-Secretaries (DUSs), he supervises and coordinates the work of the Directors, who are responsible for the formulation of policy and the deployment of resources within their area of command. Commands fall into three categories:
- geographical (eg Europe, Africa and Commonwealth)
- functional (eg International Security, Public Services)
- administrative (eg Resources, Personnel and Security)
Resources are allocated to Commands through the annual Resource Allocation Round. On the basis of the Mission Statement, the FCO Departmental Objectives and strategic guidance from the PUS, individual Commands prepare annual Management Plans. These comprise assessments of Command performance against objectives, and bids for human and financial resources.
The FCO's Departmental Report, published in April, sets out the FCO's objectives and achievements over the past year, highlighting the
progress the department has made towards delivering on the Government's foreign policy goals. The report is available, along with FCO's Mission Statement, Ministers' biographies and other information.