Advertisement

United Kingdom

Chapter
  • 199 Downloads

Abstract

As a former imperial power, the British Government has retained a strong global perspective. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is an elite, highly regarded diplomatic service with rigorous standards for recruitment, training, and conduct. It has a distinctive culture—of pragmatism, realism, and commitment to a rules-based international order—that bears the imprint of what was once called “the Foreign Office mind.” The FCO faces significant challenges, however, including a sharply reduced budget, the transfer of key functions to other ministries, and the centralization of policy making. “Brexit” creates additional problems, and voices within the FCO and outside express deep concern about Britain’s ability to meet these challenges as “an island apart,” to borrow the title of a recent article in the British press.

Keywords

United Kingdom Great Britain Foreign and Commonwealth Office FCO Diplomacy Diplomats Foreign policy Foreign office 

Notes

Acknowledgment

The authors wish to thank the following diplomats and scholars who were consulted in researching and writing this chapter: Gill Bennett, John Bew, Keith Hamilton, Matthew Harries, Stephen Hickey, Matthew Moody, Pauline Neville-Jones, Patrick Salmon, and Liane Saunders.

References

  1. A Short Guide to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 2017, September 29. London: National Audit Office. https://www.nao.org.uk/report/a-short-guide-to-the-foreign-and-commonwealth-office/. Accessed January 26, 2019.
  2. About Us. 2016. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office/about. Accessed October 11, 2016.
  3. Annual Report and Accounts. 2016, March. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/539413/FCO_Annual_Report_2016_ONLINE.pdf. Accessed October 24, 2016.
  4. Ashton-Gwatkin, F. 1946. Foreign Service Reorganization in the United Kingdom. International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944–) 22 (1): 57–74.Google Scholar
  5. Bloomfield, S. 2018, October 15. An Island Apart: The Inside Story of How the Foreign Office Is Failing to Prepare for Brexit. Prospect. https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/foreign-office-brexit-failure-steve-bloomfield. Accessed January 26, 2019.
  6. Brady, B. 2009, March 21. Foreign Office Is Beset by Culture of Timidity, Say Staff. Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/foreign-office-is-beset-by-culture-of-timidity-saystaff-1651331.html. Accessed October 11, 2016.
  7. Churchill, Winston. 1950. Conservative Mass Meeting: A Speech at Llandudno, 9 October 1948. In Europe Unite: Speeches, 1947 & 1948, ed. R.S. Churchill. London: Cassell.Google Scholar
  8. Civil Service Competency Framework: 2012–2017. n.d. Civil Service Human Resources. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/436073/cscf_fulla4potrait_2013-2017_v2d.pdf. Accessed October 11, 2016.
  9. Comparative Data. 2003. Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. http://www.esteri.it/MAE/doc/chapter3.pdf. Accessed October 24, 2016.
  10. Corp, E.T. 1979. Sir Eyre Crowe and the Administration of the Foreign Office, 1906–1914. The Historical Journal 22 (2): 443–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Delivering Global Great Britain: FCO Skills (Written Evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office). 2018, November 28. Foreign Affairs Committee, House of Commons. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmfaff/1254/125404.htm. Accessed January 26, 2019.
  12. Devanny, J. 2015, July 16. Austerity, Reform and Leadership: The View from the Foreign Office. Institute for Government. http://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/blog/12151/austerity-reform-and-leadership-the-view-from-the-foreignoffice/. Accessed October 12, 2016.
  13. Devanny, J., and J. Harris. 2014, November. The National Security Council: National Security at the Centre of Government. http://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/NSC%20final%202.pdf. Accessed November 16, 2016.
  14. Economics for Foreign Policy: Customized Courses for the FCO. 2019. London School of Economics and Political Science. https://www.slideshare.net/lseenterprise/economics-for-foreign-policy-customised-courses-for-the-fco. Accessed January 25, 2019.
  15. Edmunds, T. 2014. Complexity, Strategy and the National Interest. In British Foreign Policy and the National Interest, ed. T. Edmunds, J. Gaskarth, and R. Porter, 171–187. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Equipping the Government for Brexit. 2016, July 19. House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmfaff/431/431.pdf. Accessed November 15, 2016.
  17. FCO Public Diplomacy: The Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012. 2011, January 26. House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmfaff/581/58102.htm. Accessed October 24, 2016.
  18. FCO Staff and Salary Data. 2016, July 21. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foreign-office-staff-and-salary-data. Accessed September 17, 2016.
  19. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Diversity and Equality Report 2014–15. 2015. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/450587/FFFCO827_Equality_Report_2015_v5.pdf. Accessed September 17, 2016.
  20. Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Report and Accounts 2015–2016. 2016, July 20. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/539413/FCO_Annual_Report_2016_ONLINE.pdf. Accessed October 24, 2016.
  21. Foreign and Commonwealth Office Training. 2019. King’s College London. https://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/kii/executiveeducation/fco-training.aspx. Accessed January 26, 2019.
  22. Foreign Office@foreignoffice. n.d.-a. Commonwealth Office Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/foreignoffice/. Accessed October 6, 2016.
  23. ———. n.d.-b. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Twitter Account. https://twitter.com/foreignoffice. Accessed January 26, 2019.
  24. Further Written Evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 2010, November 25. UK Parliament. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmfaff/665/665we03.htm. Accessed October 10, 2016.
  25. Future FCO. 2016. London: Foreign and Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-fco-report. Accessed January 26, 2019.
  26. Gaskarth, J. 2014. British Foreign Policy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Gil, N. 2014, June 18. The Foreign Office Has Traditionally Been a Place for Eccentric Males. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2014/jun/18/foreign-office-eccentric-males-women-pay-gap. Accessed January 26, 2019.
  28. Hague, W. 2011, September 8. The Best Diplomatic Service in the World: Strengthening the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as an Institution. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-bestdiplomatic-service-in-the-world-strengthening-the-foreign-and-commonwealth-office-as-an-institution. Accessed October 11, 2016.
  29. Hammond, Philip. 2015. Government Response to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Report HC 605 of Session 2014–15. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/435544/50038_Cm_9058_Gov_to_HC_Accessible_v0.2.pdf. Accessed November 15, 2016.
  30. Hutchings, R. 2019. America at War, 2003–5. In Truth to Power: A History of the U.S. National Intelligence Council, ed. R. Hutchings and G. Treverton. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Joint Training for French and British Diplomats. 2014, June 9. Gov.uk. https://www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/joint-training-for-french-and-british-diplomats. Accessed November 16, 2016.
  32. Lunn, J., L. Brooke-Holland, and C. Mills. 2016, January 11. The UK National Security Council. United Kingdom House of Commons Library 7456.Google Scholar
  33. Martin, L., and J. Garnett. 1997. British Foreign Policy: Challenges and Choices for the Twenty-First Century. London: Royal Institute of International Affairs.Google Scholar
  34. Nicolson, H. 1963. Diplomacy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Opening of New Diplomatic Academy. 2015. Gov.uk. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/opening-of-new-diplomatic-academy. Accessed October 11, 2016.
  36. Otte, T.G. 2011. The Foreign Office Mind: The Making of British Foreign Policy, 1865–1914. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Prepare for Civil Service Online Test. n.d. Job Test Prep. https://www.jobtestprep.co.uk/civil-service-online-test#e-tray-exercise. Accessed October 24, 2016.
  38. Quinn, G. 2014, September 19. British Diplomacy in the Information Age. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/british-diplomacy-in-the-information-age. Accessed September 19, 2016.
  39. Sanders, D., and D.P. Houghton. 2017. Losing an Empire, Finding a Role: British Foreign Policy Since 1945. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Satow, E. 2011 [1917]. A Guide to Diplomatic Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Swire, H. 2012, September 18. Foreign Office Minister Speaks About Britain’s Reputation in the World. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/foreign-office-minister-speaks-about-britain-s-reputation-in-the-world. Accessed January 26, 2019.
  42. The Report of the Iraq Inquiry. 2016, July 12. The National Archives. https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20171123123237/http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/. Accessed January 26, 2019.
  43. Tugendhat, T. 2018, May 29. Address to the Royal United Services Institute. https://rusi.org/event/tom-tugendhat-defending-rules. Accessed January 26, 2019.
  44. Waltz, K. 1967. Foreign Policy and Domestic Politics. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.Google Scholar
  45. Welsh, J., and D. Fearn. 2008. Engagement: Public Diplomacy in a Globalised World. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. https://www.uscpublicdiplomacy.org/sites/uscpublicdiplomacy.org/files/useruploads/u26739/Engagement_FCO.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2016.
  46. Williams, P. 2004. Who’s Making UK Foreign Policy? International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944–) 80 (5): 911–929.Google Scholar
  47. Wintour, P. 2016, May 9. Internal Report Slams Culture in UK Foreign Office. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/09/internal-report-slams-culture-in-uk-foreignoffice. Accessed October 11, 2016.
  48. Working for FCO. 2016. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office/about/recruitment. Accessed September 17, 2016.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.2018 Master of Arts Degrees, Global Policy Studies and Middle Eastern StudiesThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public AffairsThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

Personalised recommendations