Introduction by Jennifer Anderson, Director for Consular Companies
The supply of consular companies to British nationals overseas, together with during times of disaster, is a crucial public service and one of many International, Commonwealth and Improvement Workplace’s prime priorities.
For the reason that early 2000s, the FCDO has professionalised and improved the supply of its consular companies. The imaginative and prescient for that has been specified by a collection of methods. International requirements and insurance policies have been set, delivered by a cadre of skilled consular and disaster response workers; suggestions and efficiency metrics have been developed; our disaster administration capabilities have been expanded and repeatedly examined, and we’ve got launched new fashions of supply, together with a worldwide Consular Contact Centre and Emergency Journey Doc Centre.
This sixth, up to date, technique follows a interval of unprecedented change and problem. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has affected all areas of supply. Now we have been via a collection of main disaster operations together with the 2020 international COVID-19 repatriation programme, the most important peacetime army evacuation since World Conflict 2 from Afghanistan, and latterly the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The UK’s withdrawal from the European Union has modified how British folks journey and dwell in Europe. The variety of requests for info and help from the British public has assorted considerably, alongside the character of the assist required.
This era of change, disruption and disaster has examined our provision of consular companies, which we ship 24 hours a day, 7 days every week, one year a 12 months. Workers around the globe have demonstrated nice private dedication, guaranteeing continuity of consular companies even beneath stringent native lockdowns. Resilient and agile resourcing which might quickly be scaled as much as assist unprecedented spikes in calls for is now an integral a part of our consular mannequin. Given the excessive public profile of our consular work, it’s proper that we face rigorous scrutiny.
Since 2020 there have been 2 International Affairs Committee inquiries alongside different inner and exterior opinions into the supply of key parts of our consular companies similar to deaths overseas and complicated abroad detentions. The merger of the previous International & Commonwealth Workplace and Division for Worldwide Improvement has created alternatives for even nearer collaboration on disaster administration whereas reinforcing the significance of organisation-wide coaching and disaster consciousness.
Whereas updating our technique, we’ve got additionally refreshed and up to date our Assist for British Nationals Overseas pages on GOV.UK to be clear on the varieties of assist that we are able to present, in addition to the bounds to that assist. Our revised Consular Constitution units out what British folks can count on from us and what we ask from them in return.
This technique assumes a fast return to pre-pandemic ranges of journey alongside a continued excessive stage of demand for the total vary of consular companies together with in durations of disaster. It’s focussed on sustaining and enhancing our digital and in individual 24/7 companies, tailor-made consular help centered on the weak, the prevention of incidents requiring consular help and continued strengthening of our disaster planning and response.
Delivering this technique is within the arms of our folks: our most respected asset. Resolving consular instances requires experience from a variety of workers. Our Consular Contact Centre, international service centres, native consular groups in nation and specialist coverage groups on the FCDO have to collaborate to get the most effective end result. Our community of almost 900 workers throughout the UK, in our international centres and in additional than 200 embassies, high commissions and consulates around the world brings variety, native data and experience.
Whereas this technique emphasises our dedication to 24/7 accessibility and growing our on-line companies, we need to steadiness this with retaining a close to international presence of consular workers in order that we are able to provide in individual assist to those that want it and retain the agility and resilience we have to reply when disaster hits. We recognise how demanding consular work is on our groups – we’ll proceed to supply a devoted Wellbeing Assist Programme to our officers, who cope with a number of the most distressing conditions that workers within the FCDO should face.
Jennifer Anderson, Director for Consular Companies
Overview of the assist FCDO Consular Companies supplies yearly
In any given 12 months, we assist round 20,000 to 25,000 British nationals and their households, together with roughly:
- 6,800 detained or arrested overseas
- 4,500 who die overseas
- 4,000 who’re hospitalised
- 1,600 who’re victims of crime
- 5,000 who want welfare assist
We will likely be accessible to British individuals who want our assist at any time of day or evening.
In at present’s more and more digital world, we recognise how essential it’s for British folks to have the ability to entry our consular companies 24/7. Our international consular community is ready up in order that regardless of the place somebody at the moment is, or what time it’s, we’ll all the time be accessible to supply preliminary consular assist after they contact us.
When our earlier technique was revealed in 2016, particular person consular sections in British missions overseas have been the first technique of offering consular companies. We dedicated to be accessible to obtain calls 24 hours a day, anticipating our Consular Contact Centre shifting to 24/7 operations in 2017 and having the ability to deal with all consular enquiries to our overseas embassies, high commissions and consulates and to Consular Directorate within the UK. This included offering an emergency escalation path to the FCDO’s International Response Centre for many who have been weak and wanted assist when nation workplaces have been closed.
Skilled first response at any time of day or evening
In 2022, our international Consular Contact Centre, made up completely of consular workers, is properly established as the primary level of contact for British nationals overseas who attain out to the FCDO for assist. The service provides 24/7 first-response consular recommendation and assist, every time somebody contacts us by telephone, net type or social media.
We offer the identical stage of first response day and evening and regardless of the channel that has been used to achieve us. A lot of the enquiries we obtain at the moment are resolved by workers on the Consular Contact Centre. Our workers can information folks to, or clarify, our in depth publicly accessible info, which we replace repeatedly. We’re additionally introducing the automated switch of requires non-consular callers on visa and passport enquiries to the proper UK authorities division. This frees up our consular workers in our embassies, excessive commissions and consulates from dealing with basic enquiries and permits them to deal with serving to those that are weak and who most want our assist.
We’re additionally constantly reviewing our processes to supply a greater 24/7 service for many who require additional consular help, for instance altering how the Consular Contact Centre can escalate instances extra effectively to consular groups within the UK and abroad throughout working hours, and to our skilled consular case officers within the International Response Centre out of hours.
Not having your passport whereas overseas may be distressing
Our largest transaction service is the availability of Emergency Journey Paperwork. We normally obtain round 36,000 purposes a 12 months for Emergency Journey Paperwork from British people who find themselves overseas and have to journey urgently however whose passports have been misplaced or stolen or in any other case not accessible.
To make sure a extra constant and dependable service we’ve got arrange a worldwide service centre to course of on-line purposes for Emergency Journey Paperwork (ETDs) from British folks in each nation on the earth. The worldwide service centre is open even when consulates are closed. This implies British folks can apply for an ETD on-line as quickly as they know they want one, and at their comfort, quite than needing to journey to certainly one of our workplaces to make an software.
Wherever potential we need to provide a courier service so that individuals don’t have to journey to gather their ETD however can have it delivered on to them. Our intention is to supply extra courier choices, together with a quicker premium service, for many who want to ensure supply earlier than their date of journey and with no need to come back in individual to our workplaces.
A extra resilient Consular Contact Centre
The Consular Contact Centre normally handles greater than half one million enquiries annually. Within the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic the quantity of calls surged to unprecedented ranges, exposing the constraints of our telephony infrastructure and the significance of larger resilience and capability to scale up our staffing.
From January to September 2020, the variety of calls dealt with every month by the Consular Contact Centre surged, peaking at almost 60,000 in March 2020. The same old month-to-month common is round 25,000 to 30,000.
Since then, we’ve got expanded our telephony and get in touch with capabilities by upgrading to a contemporary cloud contact system; skilled a surge staff of workers volunteers all through the FCDO to deal with complicated consular calls throughout crises; and contracted an outsourced supplier to supply a extra resilient triage of enquiries within the occasion of sudden spikes in demand.
On account of these enhancements, we at the moment are capable of reply enquiries and escalate instances absolutely remotely when obligatory, together with at scale and in durations of disaster when massive numbers of British folks want our assist without delay.
Notarial and doc companies
We all know that it’s significantly essential for British folks dwelling and doing enterprise overseas to have fast and easy accessibility to notarial and doc companies to show their eligibility to satisfy native necessities, for instance to get married in Thailand, or import a automobile in Portugal. These companies can now be utilized for on-line with much less time spent bodily on the consulate. We are going to prolong this to additional international locations throughout the technique cycle.
Throughout this technique cycle
We are going to:
be sure that devoted consular workers can be found 24/7 to supply distant first response for any consular situation anyplace on the earth, together with for many who discover accessing digital companies difficult
refine our processes in order that no matter how somebody contacts us initially – by telephone, in individual, on-line or by social media – we’ll escalate instances requiring pressing help as quickly as they’re picked up and guarantee consular groups are capable of reply persistently
introduce a brand new IT system to handle instances, together with for crises, built-in with our Consular Contact Centre, in order that British folks may be assured consular workers could have a extra full view of their contact historical past from first contact via to the decision of their case. This implies folks is not going to have to repeat their particulars and their info may be up to date by anybody concerned of their case
allow British folks to entry extra of our companies on-line, at a time that fits them and with no need to journey to certainly one of our workplaces. Our long-standing strategic goal is to proceed to embrace new expertise to supply trendy consular companies for British folks. We are going to use GOV.UK to counsel companies related to the circumstances and placement of the individual needing assist. These might be for British folks resident overseas to show their eligibility for native companies, or for British travellers who’ve had their journey disrupted, for instance via accidents or crime
make it simpler for British folks to entry companies from native professionals overseas, similar to attorneys, translators, medical professionals or funeral administrators. Whereas we’re unable to advocate particular professionals, we’ll present recommendations primarily based on the situation of the British individual, and the the explanation why they want that skilled service
present accessible, related and well timed on-line steering to assist British folks in accessing native companies in instances of want, together with bereavement, hospitalisation, or as a sufferer of crime, with an possibility to talk to a member of consular workers at any stage
We are going to present tailor-made and empathetic help to British folks overseas.
Our community of consular workers across the globe has all the time supported 1000’s of British folks in problem overseas. In recent times we’ve got improved and elevated the knowledge and companies we offer on-line in order that extra folks may also help themselves. However yearly, consular officers present private, case-specific help to British nationals and their households in round 20,000 to 25,000 new instances and an extra 8,000 to 10,000 ongoing instances. This help consists of supporting the bereaved households of British individuals who have died or been murdered overseas, in addition to these reporting parental youngster abduction or a lacking individual. We additionally assist British individuals who have been arrested or detained, those that are in hospital, these who’ve been raped or sexually assaulted or are the victims of one other crime, and people who are dealing with compelled marriage.
Every single day our workers help British folks dealing with a number of the most distressing occasions conceivable, working throughout the parameters of what’s potential and permitted domestically, and inside our coverage as set out in Assist for British Nationals Overseas.
In the course of the pandemic, our companies got here beneath intense strain as growing numbers of British folks turned to consular groups as their circumstances modified, native companies around the globe have been stretched or unavailable, and journey restrictions and entry necessities have been put in place and quickly modified. We needed to adapt how we delivered consular help, shifting to offering extra assist remotely as international locations locked down.
The pandemic examined the agility and resilience of our community, however we continued offering consular assist all through. We are going to construct on classes discovered as we search to constantly enhance the consular help we offer globally.
Doing extra for many who most want our assist and collaborating on complicated instances
The main target of our sources and our help stays those that most want our assist. When British nationals flip to us for assist, we’ll present assist that’s constant globally, delivered by skilled workers. This can be from our workplaces, by our workers travelling to the person’s location or by workers aiding by telephone.
The place we are able to, we’ll direct folks to different present assist, together with on-line info supplied by the FCDO, or the place help may be higher supplied by one other organisation similar to a number authorities, a journey firm or insurance coverage firm.
Some instances will change into significantly complicated and should contain authorized or political challenges. Now we have learnt that an early, built-in, response is invaluable. We practice our workers to systematically and repeatedly assess complicated instances; to escalate them to extra senior workers at once in order that we are able to take into account what’s the most applicable kind of assist for that scenario and the vary of diplomatic instruments accessible. We recognise the worth of getting a worldwide community the place a lot of our workers are recruited for his or her native experience and thru their data of native programs and processes can establish points early, together with considerations about human rights and due course of.
A few of the longest working instances are the place British nationals are in detention overseas. We deal with their welfare and supply assist with out judgement. In some instances, workers might present consular assist for a few years. The place detainees or their attorneys increase considerations, for instance to report torture or mistreatment, we take their allegations severely. We are going to take into account whether or not to boost considerations with the native authorities if the detainee needs us to take action, bearing in mind if this might be probably dangerous to them or different British nationals, and whether it is of their finest pursuits. We can even work carefully with heads of mission and FCDO political workers, drawing on the insights of our wider diplomatic community as wanted.
Entry to British prisoners abroad
In lots of international locations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have been unable to make jail visits on account of native lockdown restrictions. Our workers throughout the globe labored with host authorities to seek out new methods to ship assist and keep contact with roughly 1,900 British nationals in detention. As public well being measures are decreased across the globe, we’re working with host authorities to make sure consular officers can as soon as once more have in-person entry to British prisoners overseas.
We recognise that in a few of our most distressing instances British folks want extra specialist assist than the FCDO can present. We work globally with 23 funded UK-based companions (and 1 non-funded companion) who can present knowledgeable assist to British nationals, complementing the assist that consular officers can present. This experience consists of, for instance, assist for detainees, veterans, survivors of rape or sexual assault, these whose member of the family has been murdered or is lacking, or these dealing with parental youngster abduction. In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic we additional expanded our partnerships. Consular groups at our embassies, high commissions and consulates around the globe have constructed partnerships who can present assist domestically. Within the coming technique interval we’ll perform a wants evaluation to establish potential new partnerships to additional increase the assist accessible to British folks overseas.
Salvation Military Partnership
The Salvation Military’s shelter areas have supported weak British nationals returning to the UK via offering longer-term assist to people who in any other case would have been homeless or destitute. This assist goes past that supplied by our companions in Heathrow and Gatwick Journey Care, and the airport chaplaincies at Glasgow, Manchester, Edinburgh and Stansted.
Throughout this technique cycle
We are going to:
proceed to do extra for people who find themselves weak, focusing our assist on those that most want and might profit from our assist. We are going to do extra for these whose instances are probably the most severe and require the involvement or intervention of the British authorities. The place persons are not weak, we’ll present info and recommendation in order that they’re able to assist themselves
be skilled and empathetic, with the help we are able to present set out clearly on GOV.UK beneath Assist for British Nationals Overseas. We’re dedicated to making sure all our workers are assured in explaining to British folks how the FCDO can assist them, and that we tailor our assist to a person’s wants whereas displaying empathy for a person’s scenario
drive an built-in method to complicated casework, drawing on experience, expertise and affect throughout our international community. Groups throughout the FCDO and different components of HM Authorities, within the UK and overseas, will collaborate on complicated or delicate instances, permitting us to attract on a variety of expertise, experience and affect to supply the simplest assist for British nationals
develop our workers and improve experience. We all know how essential it’s to these we assist that our workers have interaction professionally and with empathy and that communications are clear and constant. We are going to proceed to supply each complete preliminary coaching to new workers, and alternatives for the continual skilled growth of our many longstanding and skilled workers. We are going to work with the FCDO’s Worldwide Academy on bespoke consular studying and with knowledgeable exterior suppliers on particular case sorts together with rape and sexual assault and psychological well being. We are going to repeatedly refresh our studying provide as a part of reviewing and updating our insurance policies and processes
proceed to increase partnerships domestically and globally with organisations who can provide experience and assist to British folks past our personal. We are going to establish gaps in assist for British folks, and work to ascertain new partnerships with UK primarily based or native organisations who’re finest positioned to supply the required experience and assist. We are going to work carefully with them in order that the assist provided is coordinated
We are going to assist British folks to remain safer when overseas.
Most British folks dwell or journey overseas with out incident and with no need to hunt consular help. However when an incident occurs British folks, or their buddies or household, usually ask whether or not it might have been prevented, and what might need made a distressing scenario extra bearable.
Since 2016, prevention has developed right into a core component of our consular work, with elevated useful resource and experience devoted to it round our community.
Via our prevention work, each within the UK and abroad, we goal to supply info and steering in order that people can take accountability for themselves when they’re dwelling and travelling overseas. We establish dangers and search to cut back the variety of preventable incidents affecting British folks. We search for alternatives to share experience and construct native functionality to enhance the extent of assist accessible for British folks when issues do go fallacious overseas. We work carefully with host authorities, companions within the journey trade and others to assist this work.
Journey Recommendation and public info on GOV.UK
We’re dedicated to conserving our on-line public info clear, accessible and updated to assist British folks make knowledgeable choices about overseas journey. Our goal is to elucidate the dangers and assist British folks perceive the actions they will take to maintain themselves protected when overseas.
Travel Advice is our most seen public dealing with service, receiving 44 million pageviews in pre-pandemic 2019. In 2020, our Journey Recommendation pages obtained 111 million pageviews as British folks relied on it as a supply of up-to-date info when getting ready to journey throughout the pandemic. A staff of devoted FCDO consultants work 24/7, one year a 12 months to maintain FCDO Journey Recommendation updated.
We offer Journey Recommendation for 226 international locations and territories. This consists of info on entry necessities, the safety scenario, native legal guidelines and customs, health-related info and the dangers from pure disasters and terrorism. We additionally present detailed info for particular occasions, similar to main sporting events or for pilgrims happening Hajj. The security of British folks is all the time our key consideration in figuring out Journey Recommendation – financial and political concerns don’t affect the recommendation we give.
Our ‘Living in Guides’ include recommendation for British folks dwelling overseas, together with about residency, well being and advantages. This consists of particular recommendation for many who certified as EU residents following the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Utilizing communications campaigns and dealing with companions to extend the attain of our messages to focus on audiences
Travel Aware is our established, ‘all the time on’ marketing campaign that has run since 2014. It encompasses all proactive and reactive communications exercise that promotes the FCDO’s Journey Recommendation to British people who find themselves planning to journey, at the moment travelling, or dwelling abroad. Key messages embrace encouraging British nationals to have applicable journey insurance coverage, to learn our Journey Recommendation for his or her vacation spot and join alerts.
We work with companions similar to airways, airports, tour operators, cruise traces and journey insurance coverage corporations each within the UK and overseas to advertise traveller security in any respect levels of the service they provide to clients.
The affect of COVID-19 meant that travelling overseas in the summertime of 2021 was totally different. There have been complicated guidelines and procedures round entry necessities and vaccinations certificates which British travellers wanted to grasp and take motion on earlier than travelling or upon arrival in locations. Our problem was to supply immediate, up-to-date info for travellers. The Journey Conscious marketing campaign ran from June to September and focused audiences all through the client journey with key messages round entry necessities, buying applicable journey insurance coverage and signing as much as Journey Recommendation e-mail alerts.
The marketing campaign was supported by our companions throughout the journey and tourism sector who helped to a number of our key messages and drive their clients to our Journey Recommendation pages.
The Journey Conscious marketing campaign generated over 3 million pageviews of Journey Recommendation with analysis displaying that 65% of people that had seen the marketing campaign had taken motion, similar to checking Journey Recommendation for his or her vacation spot.
Working with host authorities and companions to cut back dangers, share experience and construct capability to enhance the assist British folks obtain overseas
We focus our Prevention work on the problems that the majority have an effect on British folks travelling and dwelling overseas. Utilizing info from our casework information, in addition to buyer suggestions and our proactive analysis, we goal and prioritise sure points and areas on the earth the place we consider taking preventative motion could make a distinction. We share studying and good observe from our prevention challenge work with companions and throughout our international community. We repeatedly evaluate our work to make sure affect.
Our abroad embassies, excessive commissions and consulates spot potential dangers, which permits us to alert host authorities and work with them to make sure that these dwelling or visiting the nation are as protected as potential. For instance, in Thailand we influenced native authorities in Chang Mai to introduce stricter rental agreements for bike rent that included sporting helmets.
‘Stick With Your Mates’
Our staff within the Balearic Islands witnessed a rise within the variety of severe falls within the resorts of Magaluf and San Antonio in 2018, Most victims have been aged 18 to 30 years, inebriated/medication and alone (71%) after they fell.
The FCDO began a challenge to alter behaviours to encourage younger holidaymakers to remain collectively: ‘Stick with your Mates’. Alongside a focused communications marketing campaign, the FCDO labored with NGOs, companions, native influencers and police to encourage younger folks in celebration resorts to get again safely to their lodging after an evening out. In comparison with the earlier 12 months there have been 61% fewer severe falls and 50% fewer deadly accidents.
Our Prevention work consists of sharing experience and constructing capability domestically to enhance the extent of assist accessible for British folks or households when issues do go fallacious abroad. To assist British victims in instances of rape and sexual assault overseas we’re working with native authorities in just a few key areas to enhance the help they supply, alongside devoted coaching for our groups. Our goal is to make sure that British nationals, and different victims, obtain prime quality, empathetic assist and are higher capable of perceive native procedures and the choices accessible to them.
Assist for victims of rape and sexual assault
Our Embassy in Peru lobbied the Peruvian authorities to embed a victim-centred method to working with victims of rape and sexual assault. Following the sharing of UK experience and highlighting the advantages of a one cease store for victims of rape and sexual assault, in 2022 the first-ever Sexual Assault Referral Centre was launched in Lima.
We labored with the Sri Lanka Ministry of International Affairs, Legal professional Basic and the Excessive Fee of Sri Lanka in London to remove the limitations that have been stopping survivors of rape and sexual assault from having the ability to testify in Sri Lankan court docket proceedings by way of video hyperlink from the UK. Which means survivors now not have to both stay in Sri Lanka after the incident or return to the nation later for court docket proceedings, decreasing the chance of re-traumatisation. As well as, it will increase the probability that alleged perpetrators will stand trial, which in flip might act as a deterrent.
Throughout this technique cycle
We are going to:
proceed to make use of information, suggestions and insights to establish key dangers and traits in our consular help work in an effort to focus our prevention work the place it’s most wanted. We are going to construct experience in our community to identify rising traits and take into account how finest to deal with them in a holistic method
present well timed, correct and related info to allow British folks to pay attention to dangers they might face in a selected nation. This consists of our Travel Advice and different GOV.UK content material similar to our Living in Guides. We are going to evaluate Journey Recommendation content material, platform and person expertise, to make sure it’s match for goal, via session with the journey and insurance coverage industries and person analysis. We are going to guarantee our inner processes are agile and permit for clear and well timed Journey Recommendation updates
use proactive communications campaigns and work with a variety of journey and insurance coverage trade companions to extend the attain of our messages to our goal audiences. We are going to proceed to encourage British folks travelling overseas to take motion by studying our Journey Recommendation to pay attention to native legal guidelines and necessities on travellers; to join alerts, for instance if there’s an pressing change within the native scenario; to take out applicable journey insurance coverage; and pay attention to the assist the FCDO can (and can’t) present
work with native stakeholders to share experience and construct capability to enhance the expertise British folks have after they need assistance from one other nation’s authorities. We are going to share UK expertise and experience to assist enhance native capabilities and construct capability within the applicable authorities abroad. We are going to look to establish native charities and different organisations who can assist British folks overseas when issues go fallacious and specialist assist is required
work with like-minded international locations to foyer for modifications to native legal guidelines for the good thing about all. The place we see alternatives to share finest observe or to introduce necessities to enhance security, we’ll look to work with companions to assist scale back dangers. This consists of working with tour operators in international locations the place we’ve got recognized traits in British folks needing consular help to make their clients conscious of the particular dangers in that location
We are going to keep a world main disaster response functionality.
Each time a significant incident occurs overseas, similar to a pure catastrophe or excessive climate occasion, a large-scale accident, civil unrest, terrorism or battle, British folks could also be affected. The FCDO have to be able to flex and scale our consular response to assist those that are straight impacted and wish our assist.
Our first consular technique, revealed in 2004, recognised disaster planning and response as certainly one of our key capabilities – reflecting that we had learnt essential classes from the 9/11 assaults in 2001, the Bali Bombings of 2002 and the terrorist assaults in Istanbul in 2003. It set out plans for improved contingency planning and emergency response. Each consular technique since has seemed to make sure we’re capable of each assist British folks in disaster conditions, and to proceed to enhance how we plan and reply. Now we have invested in a devoted disaster centre and constructed specialist disaster groups, able to deploy globally.
Since 2020, 3 crises have required responses of extraordinary scale, complexity and period: the worldwide repatriation of over 38,000 British nationals firstly of the COVID-19 pandemic; the evacuation of over 15,000 British nationals and others from Afghanistan; and the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These occasions underlined the important position of consular companies within the authorities’s response to worldwide crises, and the necessity for the FCDO to be prepared to reply to incidents of all sizes and complexity. Our dedication to steady enchancment is embedded in workers tradition and in disaster programs. Now we have an intensive programme of classes discovered from the unprecedented crises of the previous 2 years, and we’ll proceed to enhance our disaster response capabilities, programs and constructions, together with by capitalising on new applied sciences.
Planning and preparedness
For the reason that unprecedented operation to help British folks across the globe to return house firstly of the pandemic, we’ve got constructed up our contingency planning capabilities. It will allow us to undertake detailed planning work – along with authorities companions – to mitigate and reply to probably the most severe dangers whereas additionally persevering with to supply consular companies to British folks.
Throughout 2021, FCDO disaster preparedness and response included:
- over 5,500 workers throughout authorities and the FCDO international community skilled
- a coordinated response to a number of crises together with: Myanmar coup, Afghanistan disaster, Chad and Ethiopia conflicts
- 12 Speedy Deployment Groups deployed
- over 15,000 folks assisted
- over 50,000 calls to our Consular Contact Centres throughout crises
Though it’s not possible to foretell when or the place the subsequent disaster will strike, we proceed to refine how we establish and put together for abroad disaster dangers, guaranteeing that the FCDO has strong plans in place to reply appropriately. We continually replace and enhance our common programme of coaching and workouts, to make sure that the FCDO retains the appropriate expertise and capabilities and to boost the disaster preparedness of our workers.
Following our response to the 2017 Caribbean hurricanes, we elevated the variety of workers who’re disaster skilled and prepared to reply to surges in demand and have continued to extend capability. The everlasting disaster groups in London are supported by skilled volunteer workers from throughout the UK and abroad community. Abroad, our embassies, high commissions and consulates lead on disaster response and are bolstered by assist from the Speedy Deployment Groups, made up of over 200 workers volunteers from throughout the community.
Enhancing communication in a disaster
Calls and on-line enquiries surge considerably within the preliminary levels of a disaster and we all know that efficient communication with British folks all through durations of disaster is a crucial a part of our response. Our 24/7 Companies programme has expanded our skill to handle massive and fast will increase in incoming requests for recommendation and help, significantly in durations of disaster. The underpinning expertise enhancements can even make these extra resilient and versatile.
Current crises have strengthened the necessity for improved methods to have the ability to set up the place British persons are throughout a disaster, and to have the ability to talk with them shortly. Our ‘Register Your Presence’ on-line software has helped enhance our understanding of the place British persons are situated in a disaster and can be utilized to extra simply talk straight with these affected. We are going to proceed to hunt methods to make sure British nationals and their rapid dependents are conscious of our recommendation and learn how to entry our assist throughout a disaster.
Built-in humanitarian response
With the creation of the International Commonwealth & Improvement Workplace we’ve got extra carefully built-in our humanitarian response with our wider disaster response constructions, drawing on the respective expertise, expertise and capabilities of the two former organisations. Within the first levels of a humanitarian disaster, capabilities similar to funding preparations with trusted companions, deployable humanitarian consultants and UK support provides may be initiated by the Humanitarian Response Group. This was put to the take a look at throughout the Ethiopia disaster in 2021, the place political, consular and humanitarian parts of the FCDO’s response have been carefully coordinated.
Throughout this technique cycle
We are going to:
work with colleagues throughout authorities, and worldwide companions to make sure that our new contingency planning functionality is focussed on agreed precedence dangers, develop coordinated plans, and draw on the total vary of experience to supply built-in consular, political and humanitarian assist when a disaster occurs
enhance our end-to-end evacuation course of, work with companions throughout authorities to make sure a constant method to assisted departures, together with military-enabled evacuations, within the occasion it’s wanted. We are going to enhance our skill to assist the fast departure of British nationals during times of disaster together with via the availability of journey paperwork and emergency monetary help
be sure that FCDO workers, within the UK and abroad, are ready for his or her position in a disaster by increasing our disaster coaching and management programme, persevering with to construct our UK and abroad response cadres and guaranteeing workers are skilled and supported to reply to crises. We are going to construct on advantages of distant groups and the worldwide community which we utilised throughout the pandemic to bolster our agile and resilient 24/7 disaster response functionality
be sure that those that have to contact the FCDO throughout an abroad disaster can accomplish that simply and effectively, in order that assist will get the place it’s wanted. We are going to guarantee we are able to shortly scale up our 24/7 name and enquiry dealing with, use our new cloud contact system to route disaster calls extra successfully, no matter the place on the earth they originate, change messaging instantly whether or not on phone programs or social media, and be sure that we reply shortly and persistently whatever the method folks selected to contact us
proceed to develop means to speak extra simply with, and straight assist, these impacted by a disaster – for instance, by additional refining use of our ‘Register Your Presence’ on-line software and our texting service ‘Notify’
undertake an built-in case administration system to switch our now finish of life Disaster Hub software program and handle all instances the place British nationals search consular assist, together with in a disaster. This implies folks is not going to have to repeat their particulars and that each one workers working to assist them will be capable to view actions and replace info
proceed to make higher use of humanitarian experience by supporting our community to organize for humanitarian emergencies and ship the UK’s preliminary humanitarian response. Our Humanitarian Response Group will proceed to supply humanitarian danger evaluation and early warning, and we’ll combine humanitarian response into our planning, coaching and exercising