About us

The FCO promotes the United Kingdom's interests overseas, supporting our citizens and businesses around the globe.


We are responsible for:

  • safeguarding the UK’s national security by countering terrorism and weapons proliferation, and working to reduce conflict
  • building the UK’s prosperity by increasing exports and investment, opening markets, ensuring access to resources, and promoting sustainable global growth
  • supporting British nationals around the world through modern and efficient consular services


The Foreign Secretary and the FCO Board of Management have agreed our new Priority Outcomes for 2017 to 2018, which fall under our foreign policy priorities of protecting our people, projecting our global influence and promoting our prosperity.

Read our Single Departmental Plan to find out more about how we are performing against our objectives.

Who we are

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has a worldwide network of embassies and consulates, employing over 14,000 people in nearly 270 diplomatic offices. We work with international organisations to promote UK interests and global security, including the EU, NATO, the United Nations, the UN Security Council and the Commonwealth.

Programme funds

We use a proportion of our core departmental budget to fund project activity to support the policy priorities detailed in our Single Departmental Plan. This funding includes both Official Development Assistance (ODA), and non-ODA funds, to ensure that we can spent it around the world to promote British interests, including through contributing to the economic development and welfare of developing countries. This small-scale policy programme funding enables us to complement traditional diplomatic activity, respond effectively to changing international situations, and maximise funding from international partners and the private sector. It is used for a wide range of activity designed to protect our people, project our influence and promote our prosperity.

The FCO also plays an important role in delivering programmes and projects funded by 2 major government-wide funds, which support the government’s National Security Strategy, and Aid Strategy:

  • the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), established in 2015, supports work to reduce risk arising from conflict or instability in countries where the UK has important interests
  • the Prosperity Fund, established in 2016, promotes the economic reform and development needed for growth in partner countries

We also support:

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Read about the types of information we routinely publish in our Publication scheme. Our Personal information charter explains how we treat your personal information. Read our policy on Social media use.