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FCO and the Integrated Review inquiry launched

23 March 2020

The Foreign Affairs Committee launches a new inquiry into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy. This inquiry will ask what role and resources the Review should give the FCO for UK foreign-policy strategy, and will examine the FCO’s contribution to the Review process.

Chair's comments

Chair of the Committee, Tom Tugendhat MP, said:

"The Government has called this the most comprehensive foreign-policy review since the Cold War. It will profoundly shape Britain’s position in the world, and the role of the Foreign Office, for generations to come. 

 Our inquiry will ask what the future of Britain’s global ambition should be, how we strengthen old relationships and build new ones, what priorities we should have, and what resources and capabilities we need to achieve these goals. 

 The Integrated Review will shape our foreign relationships but also our Government, and so working with other Committees – including Defence and International Development – we will be asking the important questions. 

Covid-19 presents an unprecedented challenge to this country and underscores the need for collaboration across borders. Parliament will continue to play its role as the country’s instrument for scrutinising and challenging Government. But we need your help too.

There are many ways that the public and policy specialists can engage with Parliament without physically being there. In particular, we’re asking for written submissions in response to the Terms of Reference we’re publishing today, so that we can get the information that we need even if we can’t meet."

Terms of Reference

The Committee welcomes written evidence on:

The process of the Integrated Review, including:

  • the efficacy of the Review’s process
  • the relationship of this Review with other foreign-policy reviews
  • the role of the FCO in the Review process

Strategy in UK foreign policy, including:

  • the priorities for UK foreign-policy strategy
  • the relationship of the FCO with the other UK Government Departments in foreign-policy strategy
  • UK allies, and how they shape or contribute to the FCO's strategy
  • case-studies, including from external perspectives, of the FCO's record as a strategy-led organisation

The FCO’s resources and capabilities, including:

  • international comparisons
  • resource priorities, and areas that the FCO has deprioritised
  • key assets and obstacles for FCO capabilities

Form of written evidence:

Submissions should be no longer than 3,000 words. The main body of any submission should use numbered paragraphs. Each submission should contain: 

  • a short summary, perhaps in bullet point form;
  • a brief introduction about the person or organisation submitting evidence, for example explaining their area of expertise or experience;
  • any factual information from which the Committee might be able to draw conclusions, or which could be put to other witnesses;
  • any recommendations for action by the Government or others which the submitter would like the Committee to consider for inclusion in its report to the House.

Submissions should be in malleable format such as MS Word (not PDFs) with no use of colour or logos. Guidance on submitting written evidence and data protection information is available here: Guidance on submitting written evidence.

Deadline for submissions

The Committee is asking for initial written evidence to be submitted through the Committee’s web portal by midnight on the 8 May 2020. This is an initial deadline, and it will be extended for the Committee to continue to take evidence afterwards, but any submissions made after 8 May might need to wait longer to be considered or published by the Committee. It is recommended that all submitters familiarise themselves with the Guidance on giving evidence to a Select Committee of the House of Commons which outlines particulars of word count, format, document size, and content restrictions.

Diversity

We encourage members of underrepresented groups to submit written evidence. We aim to have diverse panels of Select Committee witnesses and ask organisations to bear this in mind when we ask them to choose a representative. We are currently monitoring the diversity of our witnesses.

Further information

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