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The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is a
department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility Government and military *Department (country subdivision), a geographical and administrative division within a country, for e ...
of the
Government of the United Kingdom ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o the Unitit Kinrick , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size=220px, date_established = , state = United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, comm ...
. It was created on 2 September 2020 through the merger of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the
Department for International Development , type = Department , logo = DfID.svg , logo_width = 180px , logo_caption = , picture = File:Admiralty Screen (411824276).jpg , picture_width = 180px , picture_caption = Department for International Development (London office) (far right ...
(DFID). The FCO, itself created in 1968 by the merger of the Foreign Office (FO) and the Commonwealth Office, was responsible for protecting and promoting British interests worldwide. The head of the FCDO is the
secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs The secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs, commonly known as the foreign secretary, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Developm ...
, commonly abbreviated to "foreign secretary". This is regarded as one of the four most prestigious positions in the
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
– the
Great Offices of State The Great Offices of State are senior offices in the Government of the United Kingdom, UK government. They are the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary, respectiv ...
– alongside those of
prime minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
,
chancellor of the exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to the chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and the chief executive officer of HM Treasury, Her Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Grea ...
and
home secretary The home secretary, officially the secretary of state for the Home Department, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with overall responsibility for all Home Office business. The ...
. The FCDO is managed from day to day by a
civil servant The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leader ...
, the
permanent under-secretary of state for foreign affairs {{Use British English, date=October 2016 This is a list of Permanent Under-Secretary of State, Permanent Under-Secretaries in the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (and its predecessors) since 1790. Not to be confused with P ...
, who also acts as the Head of
Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service (HMDS) is the diplomatic service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, dealing with Foreign policy, foreign affairs and representing British interests overseas, as opposed to the Civil Servi ...
. The current permanent under-secretary is Sir
Philip Barton Sir Philip Robert Barton (born 18 August 1963) is a British diplomat, currently the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is a department Depa ...
, who took office on 2 September 2020. The expenditure, administration and policy of the FCDO are scrutinised by the
Foreign Affairs Select Committee The Foreign Affairs Select Committee is one of many select committees Select or SELECT may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * ''Select'' (album), an album by Kim Wilde * ''Select'' (magazine), a British music magazine * '' MTV Select'', ...
.


Responsibilities

According to the FCDO website, the department's key responsibilities (as of 2020) are as follows: * Safeguarding the UK's national security by countering terrorism and weapons proliferation, and working to reduce conflict. * Building the UK's prosperity by increasing exports and investment, opening markets, ensuring access to resources, and promoting sustainable global growth. * Supporting British nationals around the world through modern and efficient consular services. In addition to the above responsibilities, the FCDO is responsible for the
British Overseas Territories The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen dependent territory, territories all with a constitutional and historical link with the United Kingdom. They are remnants of the B ...

British Overseas Territories
, which had previously been administered from 1782 to 1801 by the
Home Office The Home Office (HO), also known (especially in official papers and when referred to in Parliament) as the Home Department, is a ministerial department of the Government of the United Kingdom ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govren ...

Home Office
, from 1801 to 1854 by the
War and Colonial Office The War Office This article contains text from this source, which is available under th Open Government Licence v3.0 © Crown copyright was a Departments of the British Government, Department of the British Government responsible for the administ ...
, from 1854 to 1966 by the
Colonial Office The Colonial Office was a government department Ministry or department, also less commonly used secretariat, office, or directorate are designations used by a first-level Executive (government), executive bodies in the Machinery of governmen ...
, from 1966 to 1968 by the Commonwealth Office, from 1968 to 2020 by the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is a Departments of the United Kingdom Government, department of the Government of the United Kingdom. It was created on 2 September 2020 through the merger of the Foreign & Commonwealth Of ...
, and since 2020 by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (this did not include ''protectorates'', which fell under the purview of the
Foreign Office Foreign may refer to: Government * Foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international policy. It produces content daily on its websit ...
, or to
British India The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance in the Indian subcontinent. Collectively, they have been called British India. In one ...

British India
, which had been administered by the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Com ...
until 1858, and thereafter by the
India Office 275px, The western or park end of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's building in 1866. It was then occupied by the Foreign and India Offices, while the Home and Colonial Offices occupied the Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the C ...
). This arrangement has been subject to criticism in the UK and in the overseas territories. For example, the chief minister of Anguilla, Victor Banks, said: "We are not foreign; neither are we members of the Commonwealth, so we should have a different interface with the UK that is based on mutual respect". There have been numerous suggestions on ways to improve the relationship between the overseas territories and the UK. Suggestions have included setting up a dedicated department to handle relations with the overseas territories, and the absorption of the OTD in the
Cabinet Office The Cabinet Office is a department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility Government and military *Department (country subdivision), a geographical and admin ...

Cabinet Office
, thus affording the overseas territories with better connections to the centre of government.


Ministers

The FCDO Ministers are as follows:


History



Eighteenth century

The Foreign Office was formed in March 1782 by combining the
Southern The name Southern may refer to: * South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earl ...
and Northern Departments of the Secretary of State, each of which covered both foreign and domestic affairs in their parts of the Kingdom. The two departments' foreign affairs responsibilities became the Foreign Office, whilst their domestic affairs responsibilities were assigned to the
Home Office The Home Office (HO), also known (especially in official papers and when referred to in Parliament) as the Home Department, is a ministerial department of the Government of the United Kingdom ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govren ...

Home Office
. The Home Office is technically the senior.


Nineteenth century

During the 19th century, it was not infrequent for the Foreign Office to approach ''
The Times ''The Times'' is a British Newspaper#Daily, daily Newspaper#National, national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title ''The Daily Universal Register'', adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. ''The Times'' and its s ...
'' newspaper and ask for continental intelligence, which was often superior to that conveyed by official sources. Examples of journalists who specialized in foreign affairs and were well connected to politicians included: Henry Southern, Valentine Chirol, Harold Nicolson, and Robert Bruce Lockhart.


Twentieth century

During the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
, the
Arab Bureau The Arab Bureau was a section of the Cairo Intelligence Department established in 1916 during the First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war ...
was set up within the British Foreign Office as a section of the ''Cairo Intelligence Department''. During the early
cold war The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
an important department was the
Information Research Department The Information Research Department (IRD), was a secret Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a Fede ...
, set up to counter
Soviet propaganda Communist propaganda in the Soviet Union was based on the Marxism–Leninism, Marxist–Leninist ideology to promote the Communist Party of the USSR, Communist Party line. Propaganda was the Soviet Union tried to control its citizens. In the St ...
and infiltration. The Foreign Office hired its first woman diplomat, Monica Milne, in 1946.


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1968–2020)

The FCO was formed on 17 October 1968, from the merger of the short-lived Commonwealth Office and the
Foreign Office Foreign may refer to: Government * Foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international policy. It produces content daily on its websit ...
. The Commonwealth Office had been created only in 1966, by the merger of the
Commonwealth Relations Office The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations was a British Cabinet minister responsible for dealing with the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,U ...
and the
Colonial Office The Colonial Office was a government department Ministry or department, also less commonly used secretariat, office, or directorate are designations used by a first-level Executive (government), executive bodies in the Machinery of governmen ...
, the Commonwealth Relations Office having been formed by the merger of the
Dominions Office The position of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was a British cabinet-level position created in 1925 responsible for British relations with the Dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-gove ...
and the
India Office 275px, The western or park end of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's building in 1866. It was then occupied by the Foreign and India Offices, while the Home and Colonial Offices occupied the Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the C ...
in 1947—with the Dominions Office having been split from the Colonial Office in 1925. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office held responsibility for
international development International development or global development is a broad concept denoting the idea that societies and countries have differing levels of economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * P ...
issues between 1970 and 1974, and again between 1979 and 1997. The National Archives website contains a Government timeline to show the departments responsible for Foreign Affairs from 1945.


Under New Labour (1997–2010)

From 1997, international development became the responsibility of the separate
Department for International Development , type = Department , logo = DfID.svg , logo_width = 180px , logo_caption = , picture = File:Admiralty Screen (411824276).jpg , picture_width = 180px , picture_caption = Department for International Development (London office) (far right ...
. When
David Miliband David Wright Miliband (born 15 July 1965) is the President (corporate title), president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the International Rescue Committee and a former British Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician. He was the Foreign Se ...

David Miliband
took over as Foreign Secretary in June 2007, he set in hand a review of the FCO's strategic priorities. One of the key messages of these discussions was the conclusion that the existing framework of ten international strategic priorities, dating from 2003, was no longer appropriate. Although the framework had been useful in helping the FCO plan its work and allocate its resources, there was agreement that it needed a new framework to drive its work forward. The new strategic framework consists of three core elements: * A flexible global network of staff and offices, serving the whole of the UK Government. * Three essential services that support the British economy, British nationals abroad and managed migration for Britain. These services are delivered through
UK Trade & Investment , type = Non-ministerial government department , nativename = , nativename_a = , nativename_r = , logo = UKtrade.svg , logo_width = 190px , logo_caption = , seal = , seal_width = , seal_caption = , picture = Department for Business, Enterp ...
(UKTI), consular teams in Britain and overseas, and
UK Visas and Immigration UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) is a division of the Home Office The Home Office (HO), also known (especially in official papers and when referred to in Parliament) as the Home Department, is a ministerial department of the Government of the Un ...
. * Four policy goals: ** countering terrorism and weapons proliferation and their causes ** preventing and resolving conflict ** promoting a low-carbon, high-growth, global economy ** developing effective international institutions, in particular the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
and the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
. In August 2005, a report by management consultant group Collinson Grant was made public by Andrew Mackinlay. The report severely criticised the FCO's management structure, noting: * The Foreign Office could be "slow to act". * Delegation is lacking within the management structure. * Accountability was poor. * The FCO could feasibly cut 1200 jobs. * At least £48 million could be saved annually. The Foreign Office commissioned the report to highlight areas which would help it achieve its pledge to reduce spending by £87 million over three years. In response to the report being made public, the Foreign Office stated it had already implemented the report's recommendations. In 2009, Gordon Brown created the position of Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) to the FCO. The first science adviser was David C. Clary. On 25 April 2010, the department apologised after ''
The Sunday Telegraph ''The Sunday Telegraph'' is a British broadsheet newspaper A broadsheet is the largest newspaper format Newspaper formats vary substantially, with different formats more common in different countries. The size of a newspaper format ref ...
'' obtained a "foolish" document calling for the upcoming September visit of
Pope Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI ( la, Benedictus XVI; it, Benedetto XVI; german: Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, , on 16 April 1927) is a retired prelate A prelate () is a high-ranking member of the clergy Clergy are formal leader ...

Pope Benedict XVI
to be marked by the launch of "Benedict-branded"
condom A condom is a sheath-shaped barrier device used during sexual intercourse Sexual intercourse (or coitus or copulation) is a sexual activity Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in ...

condom
s, the opening of an
abortion Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring In biology, offspring are the young born of living organism, organisms, produced either by a single organism ...

abortion
clinic and the blessing of a
same-sex marriage Same-sex marriage, also known as gay marriage, is the marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A spo ...
.


Coalition and Conservatives (2010–2020)

In 2012, the Foreign Office was criticised by
Gerald Steinberg Gerald M. Steinberg. a professor of politics at Bar Ilan University, is an Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْرَائِيل), officially known as the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, ' ...

Gerald Steinberg
of the Jerusalem-based research institute
NGO Monitor NGO Monitor (Non-governmental Organization Monitor) is a non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience at the laun ...
, saying that the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development provided more than £500,000 in funding to Palestinian NGOs which he said "promote political attacks on Israel". In response, a spokesman for the Foreign Office said "we are very careful about who and what we fund. The objective of our funding is to support efforts to achieve a two-state solution. Funding a particular project for a limited period of time does not mean that we endorse every single action or public comment made by an NGO or by its employees." In September 2012, the FCO and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding on diplomatic cooperation, which promotes the co-location of embassies, the joint provision of consular services, and common crisis response. The project has been criticised for further diminishing the UK's influence in Europe. In 2011, the then Foreign Secretary, William Hague, announced the government's intention to a number of new diplomatic posts in order to enhance the UK's overseas network. As such, eight new embassies and six new consulates were opened around the world.


Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (2020–present)

On 16 June 2020, Prime Minister
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician and writer serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of govern ...

Boris Johnson
announced the merger of the FCO with the
Department for International Development , type = Department , logo = DfID.svg , logo_width = 180px , logo_caption = , picture = File:Admiralty Screen (411824276).jpg , picture_width = 180px , picture_caption = Department for International Development (London office) (far right ...
. This was following the decision in the February 2020 cabinet reshuffle to give cross-departmental briefs to all junior ministers in the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office. The merger, which created the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, took place in September 2020 with a stated aim of ensuring that
aid In international relations International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scientific study of interactions between sovereign states. In a broader sense, it concerns all activities betwe ...
is spent "in line with the UK's priorities overseas". The merger was criticised by three former prime ministers –
Gordon Brown James Gordon Brown (born 20 February 1951) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the h ...

Gordon Brown
,
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. On his resig ...

Tony Blair
and
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British politician, businessman, Lobbying, lobbyist, and author who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. He was Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Memb ...
– with Cameron saying that it would mean "less respect for the UK overseas". The chief executive of
Save the Children The Save the Children Fund, commonly known as Save the Children, was established in the United Kingdom in 1919 to improve the lives of children through better education, health care, and economic opportunities, as well as providing emergency ...
, Kevin Watkins, called it "reckless, irresponsible and a dereliction of UK leadership" that "threatens to reverse hard-won gains in child survival, nutrition and poverty". In November 2021, it was reported that an
employment tribunal Employment tribunals are tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority to judge, adjudicate on, or determine claims or disputes—whether or not it is called a tribunal in its title. For example, an advocate who ...
had ruled that the FCDO had racially discriminated against Sonia Warner, a black senior civil servant, by treating her unfairly in a disciplinary process.


Diplomatic Academy

Following a prior announcement by the then Foreign Secretary
William Hague William Jefferson Hague, Baron Hague of Richmond, (born 26 March 1961) is a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician and life peer who served as Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader ...

William Hague
, the FCO opened the Diplomatic Academy in February 2015. The new centre, opened by the
Duke of Cambridge Duke of Cambridge, one of the eight current royal dukedoms in the United Kingdom , is a hereditary title of specific rank of nobility in the British royal family. The title (named after the city of Cambridge in England) is heritable by agnatic ...

Duke of Cambridge
, was established in order to create a cross-government centre of excellence for all civil servants working on international issues. The Diplomatic Academy serves to broaden the FCO's network and engaged in more collaborative work with academic and diplomatic partners.


Programme Funds

The FCDO, through its core departmental budget, funds projects which are in line with its policy priorities outlined in its Single Departmental Plan. This funding includes both
Official Development Assistance Official development assistance (ODA) is a category used by the Development Assistance Committee The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Orga ...
(ODA), and non-ODA funds. The funds are used for a wide range of projects and serve to support traditional diplomatic activities. The FCDO plays a key role in delivering two, major UK government funds which work to support the government's National Security Strategy and Aid Strategy. * The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) – Used to support cross-governmental efforts at reducing conflict-related risks in countries which the UK has important interests. * The Prosperity Fund – Supports economic development and reform in the UK's partner countries. The FCDO also supports a number of academic funds: * Chevening scholarships * Marshall scholarships * Domestic Programme Fund * Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund (Darwin Plus) * Science and Innovation Network


2021 aid budget cuts

In 2021, the UK government cut its overseas aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of Gross National Income despite UK legislation against such a move. These cuts, amounting to GBP 4 billion, reduced funding for humanitarian intervention by 44% in places like
Yemen ) , image_map = Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a Sanaa ( ar, صَنْعَاء, ' , Yemeni Arabic: ; Old South Arabian: 𐩮 ...

Yemen
and
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
. It also cut funding for the fight against
polio Poliomyelitis, commonly shortened to polio, is an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology ...

polio
,
malaria Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes symptoms Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign fo ...

malaria
and
HIV/AIDS Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body by , their multiplication, and the reaction of ...
. Funding for girls education worldwide was also reduced by 25%.


FCDO Services

In April 2006, a new
executive agency An executive agency is a part of a government department that is treated as managerially and budgetarily separate, to carry out some part of the executive functions of the United Kingdom government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government or Nort ...
was established, FCO Services (now FCDO Services), to provide corporate service functions. It moved to Trading Fund status in April 2008, so that it had the ability to provide services similar to those it already offers to the FCDO to other government departments and even to outside businesses. It is accountable to the secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs, and provides secure support services to the FCDO, other government departments and foreign governments and bodies with which the UK has close links. Since 2011, FCDO Services has been developing the Government Secure Application Environment (GSAE) on a secure
cloud computing Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operatio ...

cloud computing
platform to support UK government organisations. It also manages the UK National Authority for Counter Eavesdropping (UK NACE) which helps protect UK assets from physical, electronic and
cyber attack In computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known as Computer program, programs. These progra ...
. FCDO Services is a public sector organisation, it is not funded by the public and has to rely on the income it produces to meet its costs, by providing services on a commercial basis to customers both in the UK and throughout the world. Its accounting officer and chief executive is accountable to the secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs and to Parliament, for the organisation's performance and conduct.


Buildings

As well as embassies abroad, the FCDO has premises within the UK: *
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Main Building The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), created in 2020 through the merger of the former Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)—commonly called the Foreign Office (FO)—and the former Department for International Development (DF ...
,
Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A roads in Zone 3 of the Great Britain numbering scheme, A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea, London, Chelsea. It is the main ...

Whitehall
, King Charles St, London (abbreviated to KCS by FCDO staff) *Abercrombie House,
East Kilbride East Kilbride (; gd, Cille Bhrìghde an Ear ) is the largest town in South Lanarkshire South Lanarkshire ( sco, Sooth Lanrikshire; gd, Siorrachd Lannraig a Deas) is one of 32 Council areas of Scotland, unitary authorities of Scotland. It bo ...
*
Hanslope Park Hanslope Park is located about half a mile south-east of the village of Hanslope in the Borough of Milton Keynes The Borough of Milton Keynes is a unitary authority A unitary authority is a local authority for a place's borough which is respon ...
,
Hanslope Hanslope is a village and Civil parishes in England, civil parish in the Borough of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. The village is about west northwest of Newport Pagnell, about north of Stony Stratford and north of Central Milton Ke ...
,
Milton Keynes Milton Keynes ( ) is the largest settlement in Buckinghamshire, England, north-west of London. At the 2011 Census, the population of Milton Keynes urban area, its urban area was almost . The River Great Ouse forms its northern boundary; a t ...
(abbreviated to HSP by FCDO staff). Location of FCDO Services, HMGCC and Technical Security Department of the UK
Secret Intelligence Service The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6, is the foreign intelligence service An intelligence agency is a government agency responsible for the collection, analysis, and exploitation of information in support of law ...
) *
Lancaster House Lancaster House (originally known as York House and then Stafford House) is a mansion A mansion is a large dwelling house. The word itself derives through Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Roma ...
,
St James's St James's is a central district in the City of Westminster, London, forming part of the West End. In the 17th century the area developed as a residential location for the British aristocracy, and around the 19th century was the focus of the d ...
, London. A mansion in the St James's district in the West End of London which the Foreign Office holds on lease from the Crown. It is used primarily for hospitality, entertaining foreign dignitaries and housing the Government Wine Cellar. The FCO formerly also used the following building: * (abbreviated to OAB),
Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A roads in Zone 3 of the Great Britain numbering scheme, A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea, London, Chelsea. It is the main ...

Whitehall
, London


Main Building

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office occupies a building which originally provided premises for four separate government departments: the
Foreign Office Foreign may refer to: Government * Foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international policy. It produces content daily on its websit ...
, the
India Office 275px, The western or park end of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's building in 1866. It was then occupied by the Foreign and India Offices, while the Home and Colonial Offices occupied the Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the C ...
, the
Colonial Office The Colonial Office was a government department Ministry or department, also less commonly used secretariat, office, or directorate are designations used by a first-level Executive (government), executive bodies in the Machinery of governmen ...
, and the
Home Office The Home Office (HO), also known (especially in official papers and when referred to in Parliament) as the Home Department, is a ministerial department of the Government of the United Kingdom ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govren ...

Home Office
. Construction on the building began in 1861 and finished in 1868, on the plot of land bounded by Whitehall, King Charles Street, Horse Guards Road and
Downing Street Downing Street is a long street in the City of Westminster The City of Westminster is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, borough in Inner London which forms a core part of Central London. It is the site of the ...

Downing Street
. The building was designed by the architect
George Gilbert Scott Sir George Gilbert Scott (13 July 1811 – 27 March 1878), known as Sir Gilbert Scott, was a prolific English Gothic revival architect, chiefly associated with the design, building and renovation of churches and cathedrals, although he started ...

George Gilbert Scott
. Its architecture is in the
Italianate The Italianate style was a distinct 19th-century phase in the history of Classical architecture Classical architecture usually denotes architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Co ...
style; Scott had initially envisaged a
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...
design, but
Lord Palmerston Henry John "Harry" Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, (20 October 1784 – 18 October 1865) was a British statesman, who was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government ...

Lord Palmerston
, then prime minister, insisted on a classical style. The English sculptors Henry Hugh Armstead and
John Birnie Philip John Birnie Philip (23 November 1824 in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of Englan ...
produced a number of allegorical figures ("Art", "Law", "Commerce", etc.) for the exterior. In 1925 the Foreign Office played host to the signing of the
Locarno Treaties The Locarno Treaties were seven agreements negotiated at Locarno , neighboring_municipalities= Ascona, Avegno, Switzerland, Avegno, Cadenazzo, Cugnasco, Gerra (Verzasca), Gambarogno, Gordola, Lavertezzo, Losone, Minusio, Muralto, Orselina, Te ...
, aimed at reducing tension in Europe. The ceremony took place in a suite of rooms that had been designed for banqueting, which subsequently became known as the Locarno Suite. During the Second World War, the Locarno Suite's fine furnishings were removed or covered up, and it became home to a Foreign Office code-breaking department. Due to increasing numbers of staff, the offices became increasingly cramped and much of the fine
Victorian Victorian or Victorians may refer to: 19th century * Victorian era, British history during Queen Victoria's 19th-century reign ** Victorian architecture ** Victorian house ** Victorian decorative arts ** Victorian fashion ** Victorian literature ...
interior was covered over—especially after the
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. In the 1960s, demolition was proposed, as part of major redevelopment plan for the area drawn up by the architect
Sir Leslie Martin Sir John Leslie Martin (17 August 1908, in Manchester – 28 July 2000) was an England, English architect, and a leading advocate of the International Style (architecture), International Style. Martin's most famous building is the Royal Festival ...
. A subsequent public outcry prevented these proposals from ever being implemented. Instead, the Foreign Office became a Grade I
listed building A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England Historic England (officially the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England) is an executive ...
in 1970. In 1978, the Home Office moved to a new building, easing overcrowding. With a new sense of the building's historical value, it underwent a 17-year, £100 million restoration process, completed in 1997. The Locarno Suite, used as offices and storage since the Second World War, was fully restored for use in international conferences. The building is now open to the public each year over Open House Weekend. In 2014 refurbishment to accommodate all Foreign and Commonwealth Office employees into one building was started by
Mace Mace may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Mace (G.I. Joe), a fictional character in the G.I. Joe universe * Mace, a fictional character in the 1995 film ''Strange Days (film), Strange Days'' * Mace, a fictional character in the 2007 film ''Sunsh ...
.


Devolution

International relations International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scientific study of interactions between sovereign states. In a broader sense, it concerns all activities between states—such as war, diplomacy ...
are handled centrally from
Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A roads in Zone 3 of the Great Britain numbering scheme, A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea, London, Chelsea. It is the main ...

Whitehall
on behalf of the whole of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
and its dependencies. However, the devolved administrations also maintain an overseas presence in the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
, the U.S. and China alongside British diplomatic missions. These offices aim to promote their own economies and ensure that devolved interests are taken into account in
British foreign policy The diplomatic foreign relations of the United Kingdom are conducted by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, headed by the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs. The Prime Minister and numerous other a ...
. Ministers from devolved administrations can attend international negotiations when agreed with the British Government e.g. EU fisheries negotiations. Similarly, ministers from the devolved administrations meet at approximately quarterly intervals through the Joint Ministerial Committee (Europe), chaired by the foreign secretary to "discuss matters bearing on devolved responsibilities that are under discussion within the European Union."


See also

* Conflict, Stability and Security Fund *
Department for International Development , type = Department , logo = DfID.svg , logo_width = 180px , logo_caption = , picture = File:Admiralty Screen (411824276).jpg , picture_width = 180px , picture_caption = Department for International Development (London office) (far right ...
*
Foreign and Commonwealth Office migrated archives The Foreign and Commonwealth Office migrated archives are sensitive and incriminating collections of documents from Britain's former colonial governments that were sent back to the UK (hence ''migrated'') on the eve of decolonisation for storage ...
* Palmerston (cat), resident Chief Mouser of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office * Stabilisation Unit * List of development aid agencies


References


Further reading

* Allen, David, and Tim Oliver. "The Foreign and Commonwealth Office", in ''The Europeanization of British Politics'' (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2006) pp. 52–66
online
* Clarke, Michael. ''British External Policy-Making in the 1990s'' (London, Macmillan for the Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1992) * Dickie, John. ''Inside the Foreign Office'' (London, Chapmans, 1992). * Ruth Dudley Edwards, Edwards, Ruth Dudley. ''True Brits: Inside the British Foreign Office'' (London, BBC Books, 1994) * Feske, Victor H. "The Road To Suez: The British Foreign Office and the Quai D’Orsay, 1951–1957" in ''The Diplomats, 1939–1979'' (2019) Pp. 167–200
online
* Hall, Ian. "‘Building the Global Network?’ The Reform of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office under New Labour", ''British Journal of Politics and International Relations'' 15.2 (2013): 228–245
Online

Kettle, Louise. "The Role of the Policy Planning Staff in British Foreign Policy: Historical Lessons and Contemporary Insights", ''Diplomacy & Statecraft'' 31:3 (2020) pp: 487–508.
* Jenkins, Simon, and Anne Sloman. ''With Respect, Ambassador: An inquiry into the Foreign Office'' (London, BBC, 1985) * Martin, Laurence, and John Garnett. ''British Foreign Policy; Challenges and Choices for the 21st.Century'' (London: Royal Institute for International Affairs/Pinter, 1997) * Mawdsley, Emma. "National interests and the paradox of foreign aid under austerity: Conservative governments and the domestic politics of international development since 2010", ''Geographical Journal'' 183.3 (2017): 223–232
online
* Steiner, Zara. "The Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Resistance and adaptation to changing times", ''Contemporary British History'' 18.3 (2004): 13–30. * Tribe, Keith. "The Colonial Office and British Development Economics, 1940–60", ''History of Political Economy'' 50.S1 (2018): 97–113. * Wallace, William, ed. ''The Foreign Policy Process in Britain'' (London: Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1975).


External links

* * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Foreign, Commonwealth And Development Office Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Foreign relations of the United Kingdom Ministerial departments of the Government of the United Kingdom Foreign affairs ministries, United Kingdom Italianate architecture in England Grade I listed government buildings Grade I listed buildings in the City of Westminster Ministries established in 1968 George Gilbert Scott buildings 1968 establishments in the United Kingdom Foreign Office during World War II Whitehall