Foreign Affairs Committee: Press Notice

14 July 2009


Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry into FCO Departmental Annual Report 2008-09

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) published its Annual Report for 2008-09 on 30 June 2009.* The Foreign Affairs Committee announces today that, as in previous years, it will conduct an inquiry into the report, as part of its responsibility for scrutinising the expenditure, administration and policy of the FCO and associated public bodies (particularly the British Council and BBC World Service).

In its report, the FCO describes its work in 2008-09 and assesses its own performance under its eight Departmental Strategic Objectives for 2008-11. These are: providing a flexible global network serving the whole of Government; supporting the British economy, British nationals abroad and managed migration; countering terrorism and weapons proliferation and their causes; preventing and resolving conflict; promoting a low-carbon, high-growth global economy; and developing effective international institutions. The FCO's report also covers internal organisational and management change in the Department, including public diplomacy work; and the Department's financial management and performance.

The Foreign Affairs Committee invites written submissions of evidence to inform its inquiry. Submissions may address issues arising from the FCO's report, including:

  • the FCO's framework of objectives and targets and its performance against them;
  • the structure and operation of the FCO's network of Posts overseas, including the allocation of jobs and personnel between Posts, and consular work;
  • the FCO's management, including that of its finances, estate and personnel (and, in particular, the security of its estate and personnel overseas, and its responsibilities for its locally-engaged staff);
  • FCO spending allocations and effectiveness;
  • the FCO's public diplomacy work, including its website;
  • the FCO's relationships with partners in Government€”such as the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence€”and outside; and
  • the work and performance of the British Council and BBC World Service.

The Committee asks for written submissions on these matters, in accordance with the guidelines stated below, by Friday 18 September 2009.

Each submission should:

  • aim to be no more than 3,000 words in length;
  • begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
  • state the title of the inquiry;
  • have numbered paragraphs; and
  • be in Word format with as little use of colour/ logos as possible.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to, marked 'FCO Departmental Annual Report 2008-09 Inquiry'. Paper copies should be sent to:

Foreign Affairs Select Committee
Committee Office
House of Commons

You will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail or letter.

It would be helpful, for data protection purposes, if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at

Please note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Record Office. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

* Available from the FCO website at

Media enquiries:

Members of the press with enquiries should contact Alex Paterson, Select Committee Media Officer, on 020 7219 1589, or 07917 488488, or by email to:

Further Information:

1. The Foreign Affairs Committee is responsible for scrutinising the "expenditure, administration and policy" of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and its associated agencies. The text of all Committee publications, including Reports, can be found on the Committee's website at

2. Committee meetings are open to the public. Access is via St Stephen's Entrance for the House of Commons Committee Rooms and the main entrance on the Thames Embankment for Portcullis House Rooms. It is advisable to allow about 10 minutes to pass through security checks. There is no system for the prior reservation of seats in the Committee Rooms.

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Mike Gapes (Chairman), Labour, Rt Hon Sir Menzies Campbell, Liberal Democrats, Mr Fabian Hamilton, Labour, Rt Hon David Heathcoat-Amory, Conservative, Mr John Horam, Conservative, Mr Eric Illsley, Labour, Mr Paul Keetch, Liberal Democrats, Andrew Mackinlay, Labour, Mr Malcolm Moss, Conservative, Sandra Osborne, Labour, Mr Greg Pope, Labour, Mr Ken Purchase, Labour, Rt Hon Sir John Stanley, Conservative, Ms Gisela Stuart, Labour

Specific Committee Information: Tel: 020 7219 6394; email:

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, Select Committee Media Officer, on 020 7219 1589, or 07917 488488, or by email to:

Committee website:

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Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills, research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on