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Departmental Responsibilities: Departments A-M [Departmental Responsibilities: Departments N-Z

Description of Departmental Responsibilities: Departments A-M



Responsibilities: Political and economic relations with Afghanistan; encouraging stability, security and prosperity in Afghanistan.
See also:


Responsibilities: Political and economic relations with Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, Liberia, Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Benin, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, and ECOWAS. AD(E) is one of two departments in the FCO's Africa Command. Africa Command's main objectives are to promote good governance and economic development throughout Africa, and to work to prevent conflict, with the goals of peace, stability and an improved quality of life for Africa's people.
See also: Policy on Africa


Responsibilities: Political and economic relations with Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe; the members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). AD(S) is one of two departments in the FCO's Africa Command. Africa Command's main objectives are to promote good governance and economic development throughout Africa, and to work to prevent conflict, with the goals of peace, stability and an improved quality of life for Africa's people.
See also: Policy on Africa


Responsibilities: Provide policy advice and information to other Government Departments and clients on the implications of developments in the Aviation, Maritime and Energy Sections.
Aviation Section: Ensure that the UK's political and commercial interests are reflected in HMG's international civil aviation policy. Contribute to the promotion of British interests through participation in bilateral air services negotiations with foreign countries. Advise civil airlines in cases of civil disorder or natural disaster. Aviation aspects of contingency planning; flight bans as part of sanctions regimes; Eurocontrol and International Civil Aviation Organisation matters; and aviation safety in the UK Overseas Territories.
Maritime Section: The global issues raised by human uses of the oceans. Ensure that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is upheld and developed in areas such as fisheries, shipping, and maritime delimitation. Global fisheries issues within the FCO. Work closely with Whitehall colleagues, Britain's Overseas Territories and other nations to ensure that the oceans offer a safe and reliable route for transporting people and goods. Work in conjunction with international organisations such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the United Nations.
Energy Section: Work with international partners both bilaterally and multilaterally on information and best practice, on international legal frameworks governing energy, on contingency plans in the event of supply disruptions and on ways of decreasing the impact of energy use on the global environment. Work with the DTI to ensure that UK energy needs are factored into foreign policy within the FCO and that international implications are factored into policy on energy in other Government Departments.
See also: International Maritime Organisation (IMO) United Nations (UN)


Responsibilites: Bring together the joint work of the FCO and the DTI in support of British trade and investment overseas and inward investment into the UK. (BTI has two operating arms: Invest UK, which aims to attract, retain and add value to foreign direct investment, and Trade Partners UK, which delivers trade development and outward investment services on behalf of British business. It operates nationally across Government departments, the devolved administrations and the English regions.) Maintain a high level of quality foreign direct investment and, according to BTI's Public Service Agreement:
'(i) Measurable improvement in the business performance of British Trade International customers.
(ii) Number of new-to-export firms assisted and with at least 15% improving their business performance within 2 years.
(iii) Number of established exporters assisted and with at least 50% improving their business performance within 2 years.
(iv) Number of firms receiving assistance to win major overseas projects, with at least 80% reporting that our help was a significant factor.
(v) All customers of our main services satisfied with the assistance received, and at least 65% very satisfied.'
See also:
Trade Partners UK Invest UK


Responsibilities: Relations with 15 countries and a number of regional bodies, such as CARICOM. To promote friendly and productive bilateral and multilateral relationships with the countries of the region. Together with our posts in the region, to work with other FCO departments, other Government Departments and Caribbean governments to further good governance, stability and security in the region and promote British interests.
See also: Caribbean


Responsibilities: Political and bilateral economic relations with Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway.


Responsibilities: Relations between the United Kingdom and China, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.


Co-ordination of foreign policy among EU member states and implementation of Common Foreign and Security Policy.
See also: International Security


Responsibilities: Policy, procedures and practices relating to the Commonwealth as a whole; Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings and Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group meetings; liaison with the Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth Foundation, and a wide range of pan-Commonwealth Non-Governmental Organisation's professional Associations, organisations and societies; Commonwealth constitutional questions.
See also: More on the Commonwealth


Responsibilities: Offer comprehensive conference and event management, visit organising and advisory services, as well as a full range of hospitality services to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, other Government Departments and International Organisations.


Responsibilities: Give the best possible support, protection and practical assistance overseas to all British nationals (including visiting British detainees in prison; safeguarding the human rights of British nationals; visiting injured British nationals in hospital if required; and drawing up emergency and evacuation plans). Determine the British nationality claims of those applying overseas, and to issue/renew passports, and to register births and deaths, and, where appropriate, marriages. Provide a public service for the legalisation of documents. Support legitimate claims by British citizens for compensation from foreign governments. Provide an official channel for the transmission of legal instruments to foreign courts and parties. Provide travel advice to British nationals.
See also: FCO Travel Advice


Responsibilities: Management consultancy services; overseas security advisers; security vetting.


Responsibilities: Ensure that HMG and the FCO make a concrete, visible and recognised contribution to national and international efforts to counter the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their delivery systems; promote responsible trade in conventional armaments, defence equipment and services; reduce destabilising accumulations of small arms. Issues include the Non-Proliferation Treaty; Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Nuclear Suppliers Group; missile proliferation issues and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR); Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions; Australia Group and Chemical Weapons/ Biological Weapons proliferation issues; arms inspection body UNMOVIC; policy on conventional arms sales and exports of Dual-Use Goods; UN Arms Register; Wassenaar Arrangement; Arms Control and disarmament research.
See also: International Arms Control


Responsibilities: Successful resolution of all international terrorist incidents involving UK interests. Minimise threat to UK interests from foreign terrorist groups through contingency planning, persuading foreign governments to take effective action against terrorism, provision of training and advice to foreign governments and by providing posts and others with accurate information, analysis and advice on terrorist threats. Contribute to increased international security through multilateral (especially UN, G8, EU) co-operation against terrorism. Facilitate and support effective investigation of all international terrorist attacks on UK interests and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. Minimise damage to UK foreign policy interests through activities of foreign extremists and terrorists in the UK and abroad. Safe release of British hostages held by foreign terrorist groups, resolution of hijackings without the loss of innocent life. Director and all CTPD staff fully exercised in crisis management.
See also: The International Fight Against Terrorism


Responsibilities: To ensure that Ministers and the FCO Board are effective in setting the strategic direction for the FCO. To ensure that Ministers and the Board have the means and support needed to set clear priorities in line with the longer term vision, and to make resource allocation and organisational decisions to reflect these priorities. To develop a common sense of purpose throughout the FCO in support of FCO objectives, based on the Strategy and effective two-way communication between Ministers and the Board and the Office as a whole, including Posts. To ensure that the Office provides Ministers, the FCO Board and others on an ad hoc basis with fresh, strategic thinking on current, long-term and cross-cutting issues, and to make an influential contribution to policy formulation. To maintain and develop effective mechanisms for stimulating, capturing, and sharing innovation, and feed this into the Office's decision making process. To support FCO Board members in leading change in the FCO, through their own actions and through encouraging effective leadership by other managers, and in enhancing the reputation of the FCO in Whitehall and beyond.


Responsibilities: Coordinate Government policies to counter the international drugs trade, both bilaterally and in international fora; foreign policy implications; foreign policy relating to wider organised crime.
See also:
Drugs and International Crime


Responsibilities: Relations with Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro (including Kosovo), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Albania. Work for peace and stability in the Balkans, including through the continuing absence of renewed conflict and the promotion of arms control and defence/security reform and through the promotion of constitutional, media, and electoral reform in line with relevant Security Council resolutions and OSCE and Council of Europe policies. Work for strengthened international co-operation on arms control and proliferation. Work for ratification of the Council of Europe's Criminal Law convention on corruption by states with which the Department has relations; economic reform throughout the region; reduced obstacles to UK investment and joint ventures within the region; improved processing times for export licence applications. Development of participatory and accountable democracy; strong, independent media, encouraging freedom of expression; human rights respected and improved; countries encouraged to protect the environment; reduction in threats from crime, drugs and organised crime; greater compliance with Council of Europe standards.
See also:
Policy on the Western Balkans


Responsibilities: Policy on Russia, Ukraine, The South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia), Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan), Moldova, Belarus and Caspian energy issues.


Responsibilities: Analysis of global economic trends and world economic conjuncture. Country economic analysis for the Americas, Asia, Australasia, Middle East, Africa, CIS and Southeast Europe. Economic analysis of commodities markets. Emerging market issues, including financial sector reform, exchange rate regimes. Development issues, including debt relief (Paris Club) and export credits. Support for UK G8 Sherpa and policy on the G8. Policy on and liaison with international economic organisations (IMF, IBRD, OECD, EBRD, UN Economic Commission for Europe). Financial sector relations, including Financial Action Task Force, mutual legal assistance, money laundering, financial fraud, asset confiscation, international tax issues, banking regulation and secrecy. Corporate sector issues, including global citizenship, investment protection and promotion agreements.
See also: Global Economy


Responsibilities: To maximise the UK's contribution to protecting and improving the quality of the global environment, as a foundation for sustainable development. International environment policy; climate change and global atmosphere including ozone layer; biodiversity and natural resources including whaling; forests and endangered species; the environment of the UK overseas territories; environmental aspects of EU policy including biosafe; trade and the environment; environmental security including nuclear safety, nuclear clean-up, the movement of nuclear materials, and the environmental causes of conflict.
See also: UK Policy on the Environment


Responsibilities: Baseload Services - technical advice, project management, condition surveys. Advisory Services - in-depth advice on estate issues encompassing the latest local/UK/EC statutory regulations and best practice advice. Executive Services - project management, estate surveying on larger projects, professional estate advice. Project Management and Design - Executive and Advisory Services duties for the geographical Commands.


Responsibilities: Ensure that the Estate Capital Investment Programme promotes the delivery of FCO objectives and enables the FCO to meet new challenges. Provide our staff with secure, fit for purpose offices and residential accommodation that are cost effective and help the post to achieve their own objectives. Ensure that projects are managed effectively to secure completion on time and to budget, in accordance with the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) Achieving Excellence initiative and other best practice including, where appropriate, use of innovative procurement strategies. Reduce, by investment and/or disposal, the number of offices and residences whose performance is sub-optimal as measured by estate Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Devolve the disciplines of Resource Accounting and Budgeting (RAB) to Commands to promote an optimal mix of owned and leased property assets. Meet Asset Recycling targets agreed with H M Treasury to finance both estate and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) investment. Obtain greater intensity of usage of the FCO's Home estate by means of more flexible working practices (London sites) and new investment (Hanslope Park). Promote, at home and, to the extent possible, overseas, HMG's environmental agenda.


Responsibilities: Enlargement - UK input to EU relations with the third candidate countries of central, eastern and southeastern Europe which have applied to join the EU. ,EU external policy - UK input to EU policy towards Wider Europe (former Yugoslavia and former Soviet Union minus the Baltics) and the rest of the World. Trade Policy - UK input to EC external trade policy, including in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and in bilateral trade relationships and disputes. Bilateral relations with Baltic States, France and BeNeLux countries.
See also: Britain and the European Union


Responsibilities: The internal economic and institutional policies of the European Union.
See also: Britain and the European Union


Responsibilities: Political and bilateral relations with Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Holy See, Malta, Spain, Portugal and Andorra; UK policy towards the UN-sponsored discussions on the future of Cyprus; external relations and some aspects of internal administration of Gibraltar.
See also: Britain and the European Union


Responsibilities: Help FCO Services prosper as a business by:

Responsibilities: Strengthening the FCO's commitments to reduce the risk of fraud; to improve financial control systems in the UK and at Posts overseas; and to ensure a good level of fraud awareness in the office. FCU are the first point of contact for all allegations or suspicions of fraud and financial malpractice.


Responsibilities: Provide managers and officers at all levels throughout FCO Services with support, advice and guidance on a range of personnel issues. Responsible for recruiting of generalist and specialist staff throughout the organisation, career development, management and postings of officers. Develop personnel policy for FCO Services in conjunction with Personnel Command, and contribute towards policy formulated by the centre. Maintain complete staff records for FCO Services staff. Through Training Services Branch, offer a range of professionally presented training courses and other facilities including IT training in London and overseas, technical training, HR and Health & Safety training, lecture and conference facilities.


Responsibilities: Be the central point of advice and expertise on human rights in the FCO and lead on thematic human rights issues. (The FCO's geographical departments and Posts who have the lead responsibility for taking forward HRPD's work on human rights in specific countries.) Advise geographical departments and Posts to help them develop policy to promote human rights and raise issues of concern in third countries. Draw up individual human rights strategies for countries around the world where we have significant human rights concerns. Advise in the scrutiny of arms export licence applications. Administer the Human Rights Project Fund - a resource for departments and posts to support grass-roots projects to promote human rights around the world. Participate in the UN Commission on Human Rights and in the UN General Assembly in New York. Coordinate FCO's work with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Play an active role in the FCO's development of joint approaches to human rights with European Union (EU) partners (raise issues of concern with other governments jointly with our EU partners, EU human rights dialogues with third countries, such as China, and a new EU Annual Human Rights Report). Advise on human rights aspects of our participation in the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Commonwealth. Work on the following thematic issues - with the Home Office against racism, protecting child rights, freedeom of expression, supporting penal reform, freedom of religion, women's rights, the abolition of the death penalty, combating torture. Organise Human Rights Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Forums. Coordinate production of annual human rights reports.
See also:
Human Rights in Foreign Policy


Responsibilities: Consists of Public Diplomacy Policy Department; Records and Historical Department; Parliamentary Relations and Devolution Department; the Press Office; Library & Information Services; and four units. The units are e-Media Unit (responsible for the Internet); London Correspondents Unit (LCU); Islamic Media Unit (IMU); Community Relations Unit. Also responsible for the Communication and Information Centre (CIC), the cross-Whitehall body dealing with the media aspects of international crises. Achieve the following objectives: a more coherent and comprehensive approach to our work with domestic and foreign journalists. Work with overseas journalists based in London. Ensure that our Missions overseas have at their disposal the information they need to handle local media enquiries. Ensure joined-up approach to our strategic, long-term public diplomacy. Ensure close relationship between the external use of information (press work; the website; public diplomacy) and internal generation and processing (the archiving systems; the intranet, data storage and retrieval). Use information efficiently and effectively, both internally and externally. Ensure fulfilment of legal obligations in terms of Freedom of Information and Data Protection.

Responsibilities: Communications Services; Information Systems Services.

Responsibilities: Understand the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) needs of FCO staff and act as their representative in the procurement and implementation of solutions to them. Explain the ICT strategy to those who would benefit from understanding it. Work with Change Management Unit to spread best practice in use of ICT. Encourage the input of ICT-related ideas and suggestions from the user community. Monitor technological developments to ensure we identify and follow up those relevant to the FCO. Track and help to direct central government ICT initiatives. Support the management of strategic changes programmes to deliver elements of the strategy. Ensure all ICT-related developments proceed in a coordinated way. Secure and manage appropriate financial resources for ICT work. Ensure ICT service providers deliver services which are cost-effective and fit for purpose. Run the FCO's Knowledge Programme.


Responsibilities: Help the world's companies to set up or expand business from a British base, fast and smoothly. One in three companies moving to Europe comes to Britain.
See also:
Invest UK

(Includes former DSLC and TIS)

Responsibilities: Language training, language competence testing, advice and consultancy, translation and interpreting services.


Responsibilities: Relations with 18 countries and a number of regional bodies, such as the Organisation of American States (OAS) and Mercosur (Common Market of the south). To promote friendly and productive bilateral and multilateral relationships with the countries of the region. LAD works with Latin American governments in pursuit of FCO objectives.
See also:
Latin America


Responsibilities: To provide sound, constructive & timely legal advice to commands & Posts working towards or supporting the achievement of this objective. Annual survey, by Legal Advisers, of relevant FCO commands, Govt departments and any other users of our service as to the extent to which the general & special objectives have been achieved. To assist in maintaining the UK's leading role in the UN Security Council by the provision of legal advice on drafting security council resolutions & on other matters of Council practice & procedure. To ensure that the UK contributions to the management & settlement of international crises & conflicts are consistent with UK policy on the maintenance of the international rule of law. To assist in efforts to establish a coherent & effective sanctions framework, compatible with the UK's international obligations.


Responsibilities: Relations with Bahrain; Iran; Iraq; Kuwait; Oman; Qatar; Republic of Yemen; Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates.
See also:
The Middle East Peace Process