The FAC's remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which includes the diplomatic service. Other bodies associated with the Foreign Office (i.e. in receipt of public funds from the FCO budget), and thereby within the Committee's remit, include the
British Council and the
BBC World Service. 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
14 backbench Members of Parliament from Government and Opposition parties, and is calculated to reflect the membership of the House as a whole, with the Government holding a majority.
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 an FAC 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. FAC reports are often debated either in the House or in Westminster Hall.
Members of the public are welcome to attend public evidence sessions of the Committee. These are announced on the FAC webpage.