Who are the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) work at home and overseas to safeguard Britain's national security and build Britain's prosperity, as well as support British citizens overseas.

They do this through a skilled team of over 14,000 people in nearly 270 diplomatic offices, with almost 10,000 members of staff employed from the 170 countries in which the FCO operate.

What the FCO do

Their work has at its heart the Foreign Policy Priorities agreed by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary in July 2010 of promoting Britain's enlightened national interest in a changing world.

The FCO will pursue an active and activist foreign policy, working with other countries and strengthening the rules-based system in support of their values to:

Keep Britain safe

The FCO tackle new threats effectively and at source. By acting beyond their borders, the FCO are better able to defeat the terrorism that threatens our homeland, prevent nuclear proliferation, and prevent the harm to the British people and our economy caused by conflict.

Make Britain prosperous

They promote growth and jobs at home by pursuing export and investment opportunities abroad, especially with the powers that will shape the world economy in the 21st century.

Support British nationals overseas

The FCO's trained, expert staff has the local knowledge that British nationals can call upon in times of distress. The work that often grabs the headlines is their crisis response. But much of the work of the FCO is assisting with individual tragedies out of the glare of media attention. The FCO help British nationals keep themselves safe and focus assistance on the most vulnerable in the greatest distress.

You can also read the FCO Business Plan which sets out, in detail, the Coalition Government's vision for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office over the next four years.


The FCO use their global diplomatic network to protect and promote UK interests worldwide. Retain and build up Britain's international influence in specific areas in order to shape a distinctive British foreign policy geared to the national interest.


The Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides services to British nationals and British businesses overseas through their global network of Embassies and other posts.

They offer support to travellers in emergencies, and a range of services for businesses including document legalisation.

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