Our governance

Details of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Boards and sub-committees, directors and parliamentary committees.

FCO Supervisory Board

The Supervisory Board met for the first time in December 2011. The Board forms the collective strategic leadership of the FCO, bringing together ministers and officials with senior non-executives from outside government.

The Board is chaired by the Foreign Secretary and is made up of the following members:

  • The Foreign Secretary
  • Ministers of State
  • Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Under-Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service
  • Peter Jones, Chief Operating Officer
  • Andrew Sanderson, Director Finance
  • one Director General – on rotation
  • Miranda Curtis, Lead Non-executive Director
  • Gaenor Bagley, Non-executive Director
  • Warren Tucker, Non-executive Director

FCO Management Board

The role of the FCO Management Board is to provide corporate leadership to the organisation by delivering the policies and services decided by ministers.

The Board is chaired by the Permanent Under-Secretary and is made up of 15 members:

  • Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Under-Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service
  • Peter Jones, Chief Operating Officer
  • Philip Barton, Director General Consular and Security
  • Menna Rawlings, Director General Global and Economic Issues
  • Richard Moore, Director General Political
  • Sir Iain Macleod, Legal Adviser
  • Andrew Sanderson, Director Finance
  • Jonathan Sinclair, Director Human Resources
  • Helen Bower-Easton, Director Communications
  • Dr Liane Saunders, Director Strategy
  • Jill Morris, UK Ambassador to Rome
  • David Quarrey, Deputy National Security Adviser
  • Warren Tucker, Non-executive Director
  • Gaenor Bagley, Non-executive Director

Audit and Risk Assurance Committee

The Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) supports the Permanent Under-Secretary to ensure there are effective arrangements for governance, risk management and internal control. It has no executive responsibilities, but reviews the comprehensiveness, reliability and integrity of assurances provided to the Management Board; challenges the executive; and promotes best practice across the FCO. It meets quarterly, chaired by Non-executive Director Warren Tucker, and has 2 other non-executive members, Simon O’Regan and Ann Cormack.

Executive Committee

Executive members of the Management Board meet weekly as the Executive Committee. The Committee also monitors the implementation of agreed policies and agrees proposals not requiring Management Board attention.

Investment, Infrastructure and Operations Committee

The Investment, Infrastructure and Operations Committee provides oversight and assurance of the FCO’s Estates, IT and other investments. The Committee ensures decisions offer value for money and meet the business needs of the FCO and One HMG overseas. The Committee provides the same level of oversight on FCO programme spending with scrutiny focused on capacity, delivery model, financial requirements and fiduciary risk. It is chaired by the Chief Operating Officer.

FCO Directors

Read details of FCO’s directors, grouped by thematic and geographic responsibilities, as well as corporate and cross-cutting leaders.

Foreign Affairs Committee

The Foreign Affairs Committee examines the expenditure, administration and policy of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which includes the diplomatic service. The committee is appointed by the House of Commons. It comprises 11 backbench Members of Parliament from government and opposition parties.

The committee publishes Annual Reports which summarise its activities throughout the year. It also runs inquiries. Witnesses in a typical inquiry include ministers and officials from the FCO, together with a range of other witnesses depending on the nature of the inquiry. The usual culmination of a Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry is a report made to the House. The committee reaches conclusions and makes recommendations to the government in its reports. The FCO gives a detailed response to the committee’s reports within 2 months of publication.

The House of Lords International Relations Committee

The International Relations Committee also scrutinises the work of the FCO. The Committee’s role is to consider the UK’s international relations by providing analysis of current and long-standing issues. The Committee undertakes inquiries which include taking evidence from ministers and other witnesses, and produces reports that make recommendations to the government. The FCO provides detailed responses to these recommendations within 2 months.

European Scrutiny Committee

Another committee which examines the FCO’s work in the European Union (EU) is the European Scrutiny Committee.

This is the principal committee in the Commons for scrutinising the EU and the UK government’s interaction with it, and in particular it assesses the legal and/or political importance of each EU document and decides which should be debated by Parliament.

Its main purpose is to ensure that the House of Commons and other organisations and individuals have a chance to influence UK ministers on EU proposals and to hold UK ministers to account for their activities in the EU Council of Ministers.

House of Lords European Union Committee

The House of Lords European Union Committee scrutinises and reports on proposed European legislation before it is agreed in the EU and starts its work at the earliest possible stage in the EU decision-making process. The Minister for Europe at the FCO often appears before its enquiries.

Other parliamentary bodies relevant to the FCO

In addition to the Select Committees mentioned above, we maintain close links with a number of other parliamentary bodies whose work is relevant to the FCO. These include:

  • All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs): There are over 130 APPGs with a specific focus on overseas countries and regions, and others dealing with international issues of particular interest to the FCO (climate change, human rights etc)
  • The UK branches of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the International Parliamentary Union (IPU)
  • UK parliamentary delegations to the Western European Union (WEU), the Council of Europe (CoE) and other international or regional parliamentary assemblies.