This is a copy of a document that stated a policy of the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. The previous URL of this page was https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/protecting-and-developing-the-overseas-territories. Current policies can be found at the GOV.UK policies list.

Issue

The UK’s partnership with the Overseas Territories

There are 14 Overseas Territories which retain a constitutional link with the UK. Most of the Territories are largely self-governing, each with its own constitution and its own government, which enacts local laws. Although the relationship is rooted in four centuries of shared history, the UK government’s relationship with its Territories today is a modern one, based on mutual benefits and responsibilities. The foundations of this relationship are partnership, shared values and the right of the people of each territory to choose to freely choose whether to remain a British Overseas Territory or to seek an alternative future.

The UK’s fundamental responsibility is to ensure the security and good governance of the Territories and their peoples. This requires us, amongst other things, to promote the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the people of the Territories, to ensure their just treatment and their protection against abuses, and to develop self-government and free political institutions. The UK government is ambitious for the Territories and wants to see their communities flourish with strong and sustainable local economies and world-class stewardship of their extraordinary natural environments. The Territories offer the UK a global presence and insight into diverse regions of the world, myriad economic and financial opportunities for a broad spectrum of British businesses, diverse natural and environmental resources, and the talent and diversity of their peoples. Although most Territories are economically self sufficient, their reasonable assistance needs are a first call on the UK’s international development budget.

The Territories are very diverse, with thousands of small islands, vast areas of ocean but also, in Antarctica, land 6 times the size of the United Kingdom. They include one of the world’s richest communities, in Bermuda; the most remote community, in Tristan da Cunha and one of the smallest, with only 54 people living on Pitcairn Island. The total population of the Territories is roughly a quarter of a million. Most Overseas Territories have a permanent resident population, with the exception of British Indian Ocean Territory, British Antarctic Territory, and South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. The latter two have research stations. The Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus have a resident population of Cypriot nationals.

Actions

The UK and the Overseas Territories governments outlined their relationship in the June 2012 White Paper, The Overseas Territories: security, success and sustainability, which set out the UK’s commitment to work with the Territories to address the challenges together.

The strategy focuses on three practical policy goals:

  • Strengthening the engagement and interaction between the UK and the Territories;
  • Working with Territories to strengthen good governance arrangements, public financial management and economic planning; and
  • Improving the quality and range of support available to the Territories.

This work is supported by the Overseas Territories Programme Fund.

Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council

The UK government and leaders of the Overseas Territories meet annually at the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) with a clear mandate to:

  • lead work to review and implement the strategy and commitments in the 2012 White Paper The Overseas Territories: Security, Success and Sustainability;
  • provide a forum for the exchange of views on political and constitutional issues between the governments of the Overseas Territories and the UK government;
  • promote the security and good governance of the Territories and their sustainable economic and social development; and
  • agree priorities, develop plans and review implementation.

At the conclusion of each JMC, a communiqué is issued detailing the priorities for the coming year. See communiqué issued at the most recent meeting on 1-4 December.

The six priority areas for action are:

Ensuring the defence, security and safety of the Overseas Territories

The people of the Overseas Territories have a right to safety, security and self-determination. They are free to maintain a constitutional link if this is their choice. The UK stands ready to protect the Territories from external threats, ensuring their self-determination. In particular, the UK supports the efforts of the peoples of Gibraltar and the Falklands Islands to determine whether to remain a British Overseas Territory. The UK also supports the Territories to protect themselves from international terrorism, organised crime and natural disasters. In 2014, the Ministry of Defence is playing a major role in supporting this objective including through the deployment of HMS Protector and HMS Argyll to provide reassurance and support to the Caribbean, South Atlantic and British Antarctic Territories, provide hurricane and disaster relief and take part in counter-narcotics operations and Hydrographical surveys.

Ensuring the success and resilience of Overseas Territories’ economies

The Territories’ economies offer exciting opportunities for investment and trade in areas such as tourism, financial services, agriculture and fishing. The UK and the Territories are working in partnership to support successful economic development, including through strengthened economic planning, management of public finances, promotion of free trade and tackling the global challenges of illicit finance and tax evasion. The UK encourages British businesses to pursue trade and investment opportunities in the Territories, including through the annual British Overseas Territories Investment Forum. The UK Government remains committed to meeting the reasonable assistance needs of Territories as a first call on the aid budget. The UK is prepared to invest British taxpayers’ money, for example with the St. Helena airport project, where we can see the real prospect of self-sufficiency being achieved in due course and the reduction or elimination of dependency on UK Aid.

Cherishing the Overseas Territories’ environments

The Territories play host to globally significant environmental assets, including an estimated 90% of the biodiversity found within the UK and the Territories combined e.g. the British Indian Ocean Territory contains about half of all the reefs in the Indian Ocean which remain in good condition. Each of the Territories depends on these assets in some way e.g. for fisheries or tourism. This unique environmental wealth brings responsibilities for its sustainable management. The UK government is working together with territory governments, non-governmental organisations, civil society groups and the private sector to preserve the Territories’ rich environmental heritage and address the challenges they face. The UK is committed to sustainable management and environmental stewardship of the uninhabited Territories such as South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands. The Darwin Plus: Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund, launched in October 2012, has been providing £2million every year to help deliver long-term strategic outcomes outlined in the 2010 UK Overseas Territories Biodiversity Strategy.

Making government work better

The UK government believes that people living in the Territories have a right to expect the same high standards of governance as in the UK, including in the areas of human rights, rule of law and integrity in public life. We recognise that in an increasingly competitive global market it is important for governments to provide high quality services to businesses and individuals while meeting high standards of integrity, accountability and transparency. The Territories have proud traditions of democracy and respect for human rights. But small Territories face challenges in maintaining the capacity and skills necessary to regulate modern economies and meet public expectations for specialist services.

The UK is working closely with the Territories to strengthen good governance, public financial management and economic planning. The FCO commits £0.5 million per year to the Jubilee Fund - a resource to help public servants in the Overseas Territories and the UK benefit from one another’s expertise.

Helping communities in the Overseas Territories to be vibrant and flourishing

The Territories have a rich diversity of community life. Each Territory has a vision for its own development, its own priorities and makes its own choices about the role of government in building communities through decisions on education of children and care of older people, the sick and the disadvantaged. But most Territories face challenges as a result of their small scale and isolation. The UK government provides technical support and advice to the Territories, where requested, on community issues such as education, immigration, health, labour, culture and sport in order to help them improve services and meet international standards. The UK encourages Territory students to study in the UK, including through the Chevening Scholarships.

The UK is responsible for the external relations of the Territories but encourages Territories to strengthen their societies and economies by forming links with regional and international organisations and other countries. The Territories have a strong relationship with the European Union and the Commonwealth as a result of the UK’s membership. The UK encourages the Territories as appropriate to engage directly with other international bodies including the regional economic bodies such as CARICOM and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. Where the UK represents the Territories, we will make every effort to ensure that the Territories are consulted and their interests defended. The UK expects the Territories to use attendance at international fora productively, use international assistance effectively and live up to their international commitments.

The 14 Overseas Territories are:

If you have a query about Gibraltar or any other Overseas Territory, please email enquiry.gibraltar@fco.gov.uk.

Case studies

  • A specialist team on board the Royal Navy’s ice patrol ship HMS Protector have been helping the local community in the British Virgin Islands with a range of longstanding projects including carrying out an extensive repainting project in St Georges School on Tortola, replacing the steps leading to the top of Sage Mountain and assisting with DIY on a retirement home on Jost van Dyke Island.
  • Restoring public finances in the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI): The Turks and Caicos Islands were bankrupted in 2009 due to previous bad practices and corruption by TCI politicians, public servants and businesses, compounded by the global financial crisis and Hurricane Ike in 2008. The UK provided essential help to the TCI by providing a $260 million loan guarantee to keep the local government functioning.
  • Darwin Plus grant: Bermuda invasive lionfish initiative. Darwin’s support to the UK Overseas Territories is helping to control invasive lionfish in the western Atlantic Ocean.
  • The UK secures agreement for visa-free access to the EU Schengen area for British Overseas Territories Citizens.

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

Realising our vision for the Overseas Territories in an increasingly interconnected world requires active engagement with other States and international organisations. But UK and Territory government could do more to harness international support for the Territories.

  • The EU: The Territories have a special relationship with the EU through the Overseas Association Decision, which provides for preferential trade agreements and access to the European Development Fund and other EU Funds such as Horizon 2020 for science cooperation and Erasmus Plus - the EU’s education mobility programme. The British Virgin Islands are currently leading an EDF funded programme to develop the growth of small and medium sized enterprises for all Caribbean Overseas Territories and the Turks and Caicos Islands have benefitted from European Funding to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008.

  • The Territories are all full members of the Brussels based Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) which represents the interests of the UK, French, Dutch and Danish Territories to the European Commission. UK citizens in the Territories are also European citizens, for those that hold Overseas Territory citizenship visa free access to the Schengen area is allowed. The majority of the Territories also have representatives in London who play an important role in promoting Territory interests in Europe.

  • Commonwealth: The Territories are part of the Commonwealth through their connection to the UK. The Commonwealth family includes many small island nations and provides a wealth of opportunities to exchange experience and build practical co-operation on issues of common interest. The Territories have their own branches of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Associations and the Commonwealth Games Associations. Representatives of the Territories’ civil society and business community are invited to participate in the Commonwealth Youth, Business and People’s Forums which take place in the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Finance Ministers and Attorneys General from the Territories were invited to join the UK delegation to the respective Commonwealth Finance and Law Ministers meetings in Washington and Gaborone. The Territories also participate in the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Small States meetings as well as contribute to and benefit from the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation (CTFC).

  • Other international bodies, including the United Nations: the UK will continue to promote the interests of the Territories in the UN and other multilateral organisation For example while the UK represents the Territories at the UN, the Territories themselves are allowed to become associate members of regional UN bodies such as the Economic Community for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Many also hold associate membership of UN agencies such as UNESCO. In non-governmental international bodies such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) the Territories have full membership, with the agreement of the UK.
  • Regional Groups: All of the Caribbean Territories are associate members of CARICOM, the regional economic community (with the exception of Montserrat which is a full member) and also the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. The UK is looking at the benefits of Territory membership of the regional UN bodies.

2014 Progress

The 2013 UK Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council agreed to focus on the following areas:

  • Strengthening Territory engagement with international partners with support from the UK’s network of diplomatic posts such as the assistance provided by the Consul-General in Hong King in setting up a local office for the British Virgin Islands.
  • Making full and effective use of new trade opportunities with the EU and increased EU funding streams including the European Development Fund and specialised sectoral funds. DEFRA recently hosted a workshop on accessing the EU Biodiversity fund and the many Territories are applying for EU funds provided for science and innovation. Making the best use of the EDF regional and thematic funds will be the subject of discussions in the region in September.
  • Encouraging the Commonwealth Secretariat and the chairs of Commonwealth fora to invite the Territories directly to participate in relevant meetings and programmes, particularly the Commonwealth small states meetings recently held in St Lucia which was attended by a number of Territories.

Appendix 2: funding for the Overseas Territories

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The Overseas Territories programme fund

The Overseas Territories programme fund supports the work of government to maintain the security, stability and prosperity of the Overseas Territories by promoting good governance, economic development, security and environmental preservation. More specifically it:

  • Manages risks and reduces the UK’s liabilities in the Territories ;
  • Is used to develop and implement effective criminal justice systems that introduce new techniques such as restorative justice and witness protection;
  • Makes non-discretionary obligations to cover standing commitments such as annual subscriptions to international organisations and the UK’s international obligations such as to the polar regions;
  • Builds the expertise of the Territories by funding training and secondments for their public servants and by encouraging the exchange of experience through the Jubilee programme;
  • Helps the Territories meet their environmental challenges through the Darwin Plus: Overseas Territories environment and climate fund which will disburse around £2 million per year to environmental and conservation projects in the Territories.

In 2014-15, the Overseas Territories programme fund will spend more than £4.7 million in support of a wide range of projects across the Territories.

Enquiries

For further information on the Overseas Territories programme fund please phone +44 (0) 20 7008 2569.

Overseas Development Aid

The Department for International Development (DfID) provides development assistance to Montserrat, Pitcairn, St Helena and Tristan da Cuhna. DfID’s Operational Plan 2011-2015 explains how money is allocated to the Territories and how expenditure is monitored for effectiveness. The funding the UK provides will help maintain physical access to these islands, strengthen human capacity to deliver public services effectively, including health and education provision, and move the overseas territories towards self-sufficiency where possible.

The funding priorities for the Territories are to:

  • Meet the “reasonable assistance needs” of citizens as cost effectively as possible
  • Help aid-dependent Territories become more self-sufficient where possible
  • Manage the UK government’s financial liability for unaided Territories in crisis

Appendix 3: ensuring the defence, security and safety of the Overseas Territories

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The UK sees its responsibility for defence, security and safety of the Territories as a core task of the government. Conversely, the Territories contribute to the security interests of the UK and our close allies.

A number of the Territories provide invaluable training environments for all three services, including providing support for UK operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. This task is included in the government’s National Security Strategy and engages a number of UK departments including the Ministry of Defence, the Department for International Development, the Department for Transport, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office and its agencies.

Objectives:

  • Defence & Self determination:

    we will continue to maintain an independent ability to defend the Territories – including their territorial water and air space – from any external threats they may face. We will also ensure the Territories are able to trade, exploit their natural resources and develop their economies free from undue external interference. The British Armed forces maintain a presence on some of the Territories e.g. the British Indian Ocean Territory, where a small detachment of military personnel works to deter poachers and others who damage the Territory’s pristine environment. The Royal Navy patrols around the British Antarctic Territory every summer to support the British Antarctic Survey’s groundbreaking scientific research

  • Tackling Serious crime:

    the size and location of the Territories makes them targets for organised criminals, particularly drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion and illegal immigration. We are increasing cooperation between the police, law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice systems in the UK and the Territories, including through joint operations, equipment, staff secondments, officer deployments to provide technical support and capacity building training. We will continue to support the development of National Security Councils, strengthening of relevant legislation and efforts to improve regional and international cooperation

  • Natural and man-made disasters:

    The UK and Overseas Territory governments work together to reduce the risk of disasters and build disaster management capacity, including through taking a regional approach to disaster preparedness and response. The FCO works closely with the MOD and DFID to coordinate the UK and international response in the event of a disaster. The Royal Navy maintains a maritime presence in the Caribbean during the hurricane season between May and November in order to provide immediate humanitarian relief. We will also continue to help Territories meet international standards of aviation and maritime security.

2014 Progress

Defence & self-determination:

  • The JMC expressed support for the people of Gibraltar and urged the Spanish government to de-escalate tensions with Gibraltar, including at the border and within British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. The JMC called on all countries to accept the result of the March 2013 referendum in the Falkland Islands and support the Falklands Islanders.
  • UN Decolonisation Committee: the JMC reiterated their commitment to the principle of self-determination and supported the de-listing of Territories from the UN Decolonisation Committee should they wish to.
  • Constitutional modernisation: the JMC agreed to continue work to complete the constitutional modernisation process in the Territories.

Security

  • Enhance support provided by the UK Association of Chief Police Officers, UK College of Policing and the newly formed National Crime Agency: A memorandum of understanding was signed with the UK National Crime Agency to promote criminal investigative capacity in the Territories. A criminal records sharing pilot is underway. Working Groups of the Overseas Territories’ Police Commissioners were established and meet regularly to discuss operational priorities;
  • Enhance support for judicial and prosecution services, building on relationships between Ministry of Justice and the UK Crown Prosecution Service: the Ministry of Justice in conjunction with the Miami-based advisers have conducted training and capacity sharing initiatives. Parole boards and witness protection programmes have been established. Other alternatives to custody, such as electronic tagging, have been trialled and new techniques for restorative justice are being promoted;
  • Put in place robust and reliable extradition arrangements, including through the extension of the 2003 Extradition Act;
  • Taking advantage of expertise in the Ministry of Justice, National Offender Management Service and HM Prison Service to progress alternatives to custody, prison reform, restorative justice and protection of vulnerable witnesses.

Safety

  • Disaster risk reduction initiatives; robust and effective disaster preparation and response planning, including exercising and engagement with regional and international disaster response: The FCO has conducted a review of its disaster response and preparedness and decided to assign a new Disaster Management Specialist in Miami. HMS Argyll was deployed to the Caribbean on 20 June 2014 to provide reassurance and support, providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief during the hurricane season and supporting the counter-narcotics efforts in the Caribbean.

Appendix 4: ensuring the success and resilience of Overseas Territories’ economies

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The Territories are small, open and dynamic economies that offer exciting opportunities for investment and for trade.

Most Territories rely heavily on one or two economic sectors. The financial services industry is one of the main contributors to the economies of Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Gibraltar. Tourism is a significant part of the economy for Caribbean islands such as Anguilla, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Islands. Agriculture and fishing are significant sectors for some Territories including for the Falkland Islands, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Pitcairn. The Territories have vital interests in continuing to develop traditional economic sectors but recognise the importance of continuing to diversify their economies.

Investment and trade opportunities

The Territories have attractive offers to potential investors, including stable legal systems based on common law; the English language; educated workforces; links with growing and emerging markets; and the entrepreneurial spirit of island peoples. Territory governments are committed to creating world class business environments; investing in human capital; attracting creative individuals and investors; and improving vital public infrastructure. The UK government is committed to providing necessary support and advice where it is requested. We are working in partnership to support and promote investment and trade, including improved market access worldwide. The UK government believes that there are opportunities for British business in the Territories, for example in hydrocarbons, fisheries, sustainable energy and tourism sectors. Infrastructure UK is working with a number of Territories to help identify sustainable financing options for major infrastructure projects including air and sea ports.

Regulation of international financial services

A number of Territories host globally significant international financial centres. The UK and Territory governments are committed to working together to create a fair, responsible and effectively-regulated global business environment. As the world economy recovers, we must make sure openness delivers benefits for advanced, emerging and developing economies alike. Tackling tax evasion and illicit finance is a global responsibility in which the UK and the Territories will continue to play a full part. Those Territories which host international financial centres made significant commitments to strengthen financial services regulation during the UK G8 Presidency. Each Territory has published an action plan setting out the steps that they will take to ensure the collection and availability of complete company ownership information, the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance on Tax Matters has been extended, and each Territory has agreed to play an active part in the pilot initiative on automatic tax information exchange launched by the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Sound economic management

The UK and Territory governments are committed to strong fiscal management and effective fiscal planning to underpin continued economic success. Most Territories have agreed fiscal policy frameworks setting out their commitment to sound public financial management including: limits on borrowing; building reserves; a strong and sustainable revenue base; transparency and accountability; effective budgeting and management of expenditure; and open, transparent and competitive procurement processes.

UK economic support

The reasonable assistance needs of the Territories are a first call on the UK’s international development budget. The Department for International Development (DFID) is providing budgetary aid to St Helena, Montserrat and Pitcairn. The UK is providing up to £246.6 million to build an airport in St Helena to help end the Territory’s isolation and open up economic and social opportunities for the people on the island. DFID continues to work in partnership with those Territories that need support to provide assistance with the aim of helping them achieve sustainable, inclusive growth and reducing their financial dependence on the UK wherever this is possible.

How we are working together

The Joint Ministerial Council has agreed that the UK and Territory governments will work together on a series of priorities, including:

  • Promoting Territory exports and service industries;
  • Promoting globally the investment and trade opportunities in the Territories;
  • Informing and encouraging UK companies to explore opportunities in the Territories;
  • Publishing Territory investment policies setting out clearly the offer to inward investors;
  • Explaining the contribution the Territories play in the global economy a through well-regulated international financial centres;
  • Supporting the application in the Territories of high regulatory standards to deliver conditions in which legitimate financial services business can flourish;
  • Supporting Overseas Territories identify sustainable financing options for major infrastructure projects.

Case Studies:

Appendix 5: cherishing the Overseas Territory environments

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The democratically elected governments of the inhabited Territories are constitutionally responsible for the protection and conservation of their natural environments.

This includes developing appropriate, applicable and affordable environmental policies, legislation and standards. For the uninhabited Territories, which are administered through the FCO, our objective is to ensure the highest possible environmental standards are achieved.

We are working in partnership with Territory governments to provide the technical advice and support they need to meet their environmental objectives, with each government department committed to supporting the Territories in its own areas of expertise. This includes support through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Department for International Development (DFID) funded Darwin Plus: Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund. Darwin Plus dedicates around £2m per year to supporting environment and climate projects in the Territories and is currently supporting 29 projects across the Territories to the value of approximately £4million.

The government provides technical advice and expertise through a range of workshops on topics as diverse as tackling invasive species, Marine Protected Areas and the use of geographical information systems in environmental planning. The UK Overseas Territories Biodiversity Strategy Update gives further examples of some of the ongoing and planned activities that are supported by the government and its statutory advisor the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

The government is also supporting the development of the environmental mainstreaming initiative which aims to put environmental issues at the heart of decision making the Territories. These projects form a key part of the UK government’s partnership with the Territories to help them identify long-term environmental priorities. The environmental mainstreaming process has been initiated in Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and the Falkland Islands. There are comprehensive reports on the rollout of this initiative to these Territories. Work is underway to extend the initiative to Bermuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2014/15.

The current priorities of the UK and Territory governments are set out in the Joint Ministerial Council communiqués from 2012 and 2013 and include:

  • to develop sustainable fisheries – including developing sustainable management plans and facilitating development of the sector;
  • to take a more strategic approach to the management, protection and conservation of the natural environment, including embedding that understanding into government policies and decision making;
  • to ensure that where commercial use of natural resources takes place, it is carried out in the most sustainable and environmentally responsible way;
  • to share knowledge and best practice in the areas of food security and agricultural and aquaculture production;
  • to continue to implement environmental charters, and to work towards the full implementation of multilateral environmental agreements where these have been extended to the Territories;
  • for the UK to strengthen the way it represents territory interests in relevant international fora;
  • increasing the use of renewable energy sources, including enabling production and removing barriers to use;
  • establishing workshops in order to assist Territory governments in capacity-building, technical assistance and renewable energy financing;
  • promoting the development of, and investment in, sustainable fishing industries, particularly in Territories where potential resources are underutilised or illegally exploited;
  • publishing road maps by end of May 2014 setting out plans to implement environmental commitments and demonstrating the contributions made to the UKOT Biodiversity Strategy;
  • ensuring the continuation of relevant funding programmes for Overseas Territories environment, conservation, biodiversity and climate-related projects.

Appendix 6: making Overseas Territory governments work better

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The UK government has a responsibility for the overall good government of the Territories and takes a close interest in how Territory governments discharge the functions devolved to them.

As largely self governing entities, they have their own locally selected legislatures, executives, judiciaries and civil services. The Territories have used their devolved responsibilities to make significant improvements in the quality of life of their people, outperforming comparable independent states. Those Territories that choose to remain British should abide by the same basic standards of good government as in the UK. The UK and Territory governments are working together to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

The priorities for action are:

  • Monitor and report progress on good governance, public financial management and economic planning;
  • Continue developing democratic institutions that serve and take account of the interests of all the people in the Territories;
  • Take necessary action to safeguard fundamental rights and freedoms and tackle discrimination;
  • Ensure effective justice systems;
  • Strengthen public services, including through increased secondments between the UK and the Territories;
  • Manage public finances sustainably;
  • Strengthen assurances that public spending provides value for money;
  • Take action whenever there is evidence of corruption or maladministration, work to bring in anti-bribery legislation and to sign up to the relevant international conventions.

The FCO supports this objective through the Jubilee Fund. Since the Fund was launched in 2012, major activities have included:

  • Secondments of OT public servants to the UK and vice versa. For example - secondments for senior prison staff from Anguilla, BVI and Cayman to UK prisons, a Public Relations Officer from St Helena to the UK and the Montserrat Customs Deputy Director has worked to HMRC:
  • Access to on-line training offered by the UK’s Civil Service Learning:
  • An annual meeting of the Overseas Territories Heads of Public Service in London to share best practice. The next meeting will be held in the autumn of 2014:
  • Support from the UK National Audit Office to improve standards of auditing in the Overseas Territories.

2014 Progress

The 2013 UK Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) agreed to focus on the following areas:

  • Engaging in peer review processes to improve regulation and get rid of red-tape, and further strengthen procurement, public financial management frameworks and codes of conduct and integrity;
  • Increasing secondments between the Territories and the UK where appropriate including through reviewing the effectiveness of the UK Government’s Jubilee Programme;
  • Strengthening the work of audit bodies and public accounts committees or their equivalents, with the support of the UK National Audit Office;
  • Extending to the Territories international treaties on tackling corruption, bribery and the financing of terrorism and of organised crime (the UN Convention Against Corruption; the OECD Anti Bribery Convention; the UN Convention on Suppression of Financing of Terrorism; and the UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crime);
  • Fulfilling our commitment to extension of the core human rights conventions where these have not been extended already.

Appendix 7: helping communities in the Overseas Territories to be vibrant and flourishing

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The UK and the Territory governments share a vision of building well-educated, active and mobile societies with access to affordable health care systems, jobs and welfare.

Community cohesion is particularly important in small and remote island communities. Some of the Territories face many and varied challenges in helping people find work, an ageing society and providing for people in retirement. All the populated Territories have systems that provide free public education at primary and secondary levels. All Territories are working to provide opportunities; choice and independence to enable disabled people take an equal role in society. Healthcare services in the smallest and most remote Territories are very limited and seriously ill patients have to sometimes make long and difficult journeys overseas for treatment.

  • Development assistance:

    DFID will continue to provide development assistance to Territories in need. The budgetary aid and development assistance to St Helena, Montserrat and Pitcairn includes support to health and social welfare sectors

  • Education:

    DFID, Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Department of Education are providing financial and technical support to the Territories to improve education systems and encourage and enable students to study in the UK. DFID funds have enabled broadband internet access for schools and adult education in St Helena to support distance education. The FCO also runs the Chevening scholarship programme which enables outstanding graduates and young professionals from the Territories to study at UK universities

  • Health:

    DFID and the Department of Health are helping the Territories to build sustainable healthcare systems and prepare for health emergencies in line with international obligations. The DoH provides a number of referrals per year for high level elective treatments on the UK National Health Service, where these are not available in the Territories. The UK has bilateral agreements with some Territories for free emergency treatment to be given to temporary visitors from the UK and vice versa

  • Work and pensions:

    The Department for Work and Pensions provides advice and support to the Territories to help people find work, ensure the most vulnerable members of society are protected and to comply with international labour standards. DWP pays UK state pensions to eligible people in the Territories through the International Pension Centre

  • Local Community and Government issues:

    The UK Department for Communities and Local Government provides advice and guidance to Territories in areas such as planning, housing, fire safety and rescue services. The Local Government Association helps Territories to harness knowledge and expertise form UK local government

  • Culture, Media and Sports:

    DCMS supports the Territories to develop their creative, communications, cultural, tourism and leisure businesses and also represents their interests internationally. We also support the Territories’ participation in international sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games.

2014 Progress

The 2013 UK Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council agreed to focus on the following areas:

  • Exploring further how the people of the Territories can access vocational training in all parts of the UK and in other Territories;
  • Sharing good practice on workforce planning, skills training and addressing the specific needs of young people, older people and the disabled;
  • Developing efficient and professional public employment services;
  • Developing immigration policies that take into account the interests of local people and businesses, and minimise risks for the UK.

Appendix 8: Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

In December 2012, UK ministers and Territory political leaders and representatives met and agreed a shared vision for the Territories as vibrant and flourishing communities and established the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) with a mandate to:

  • lead work to implement the strategy and commitments in the white paper;
  • provide a forum for the exchange of views on political and constitutional issues;
  • promote the security and good governance of the Territories and their sustainable economic and social development;
  • agree priorities, develop plans and review implementation.

The JMC has agreed an ambitious agenda and priority issues including for:

  • diverse and resilient economic growth
  • green energy and protection of the environment
  • good government
  • communities
  • productive links with the wider world
  • security and safety

Leaders agreed to hold an annual JMC summit meeting. The 2012 Joint Ministerial Council agreed a 2012 communiqué setting out commitments to work together on this agenda, priority issues and detailed action points.

The 2013 Joint Ministerial Council published progress reports from the UK and each Territory government and agreed further 2013 communiqué setting out joint action focusing on support for economic diversification, jobs, and economic growth. In support of this aim, an Overseas Territories Investment Forum was held alongside the JMC to showcase the opportunities in the Territories to potential business partners and investors.

The 2014 Joint Ministerial Council was held in London on 1 to 4 December. It closed with the agreement of a joint communiqué which sets out priority issues.

2014 Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council

2013 Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council

2012 Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council

UK Departments’ Strategies