The Foreign Office has to find £100m savings over 4 years and needs to ensure it focuses on core frontline activity: diplomacy and foreign policy.
We will be making these savings in a number of areas, including the workforce. We are therefore proposing abolishing or localising nearly 400 more junior UK-based jobs overseas, most of which are back-office roles. This does not mean 400 job cuts. The vast majority of these jobs are not front line diplomacy jobs and final decisions have not been taken about the jobs involved. That is why we are running a 30 day consultation period. We are committed to delivering an activist British foreign policy: these staffing changes will not affect that.
This is also not one third of our staff. We have nearly 15,000 staff altogether (both locally engaged and UK based). It is one tenth of our UK based staff. We have no plans for compulsory redundancies. Our aim is to restructure the FCO without resorting to the workforce cuts that many other Government departments are now implementing.
Savings from this (about £30m pa) will help the Foreign Office make its contribution to government’s overall priority (reducing the deficit), while also allowing it to direct its resources to priority diplomatic work. What we want to do is ensure the Foreign Office is properly focused on its main priorities: prosperity, security, and helping British nationals abroad.
The number of staff at junior grades posted overseas has been declining for some time as we make better use of locally engaged staff. This is the next step in the process of making our spending on staff and postings more efficient and ensuring the best possible value for the taxpayer’s money.
We are determined to minimise the impact on our staff and their families.