Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Letter to the Chairman from the Secretary of State; Foreign and Commonwealth Office

  You may like to know that I am initiating an outside study of whether the Foreign Office is delivering what its stakeholders want. I am sure the consultant will want to talk to you.

  As I have said ever since I came here, I see the FCO and our overseas network as working for the whole of Her Majesty' Government. It is one of, if not the, principal means for HMG to project and protect Britain's interests immediately.

  Last Autumn we did a systematic consultation of all main Government Departments, as part of our continuing efforts to ensure we use the network to best effect for all current government policies.

  But, as you will be first to recognise, our stakeholders range far wider than the rest of HMG. Hence this new stakeholder survey. We need an outside consultant to do this, in order to get frankness and objectivity.

  For that very reason (protection of source) I cannot promise to make the consultant's report available to you verbatim. But I can promise to send you a report summarising it, and what actions we intend to take in the light of its conclusions.

  I hope the consultancy will be completed during the summer so that I can come back to you on this in the early autumn.

Rt Hon Jack Straw
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

May 2002

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