The Foreign Affairs Committee's remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), other bodies associated with the Foreign Office and thereby within the Committee's remit, include the British Council. The FCO is also responsible for UK participation in international and regional multilateral organisations such as the United Nations, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), NATO and the European Union.
The Committee is appointed by the House of Commons. It comprises 11 backbench Members of Parliament from Government and Opposition parties, and is calculated to reflect the membership of the House as a whole.
The Committee chooses its own inquiries. Witnesses in a typical inquiry include ministers and officials from the FCO, together with a range of other witnesses depending on the nature of the inquiry; this may include representatives from academic and research institutions, interest groups, international organisations, former diplomats and journalists.
The usual culmination of a Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry is a report made to the House and published both in hard copy and on this website. The Committee reaches conclusions and makes recommendations to the Government in its reports. The Government has undertaken to give a detailed response to the Committee's reports within two months of publication. The Committee's reports are often debated either in the House or in Westminster Hall.
A full account of the Committee's activities is published in the House of Commons Sessional Return.