The Foreign Policy Centre - an outward-looking, non-partisan international affairs think tank based in the UK - has just published a report focusing on two unusual but strategically important British communities overseas - in Brussels and Washington DC - to which BBCA representatives contributed.
The report builds on the findings of 252 survey responses, interviews, a focus group and research to give a detailed summary of who the British communities in Brussels and Washington DC are, what their needs are and how the UK Government can better support them and other Britons around the world. It examines the UK's current support for its nationals abroad in the context of the different approaches taken by Ireland, France, Italy and a number of other countries.
The report puts forward that British citizens can become partners in helping the UK achieve its foreign policy goals, as strategic soft power assets, provided that the partnership is based on trust and can be shown to be mutually beneficial. It therefore makes a number of recommendations for the UK Government to:
You can download the report - 'Global Britons: Understanding the unique British communities in Brussels and Washington DC' here.
- Develop a new UK Strategy for Citizens Abroad, with a dedicated unit at the FCDO and staff in embassies and missions to deliver that strategy, supervised by an identified Minister
- Improve information management through a new Customer Relations Management (CRM) or other system to share information about key networks and retain institutional memory
- Reimagine embassies, in part, as a flexible hubs for the British community and businesses
- Invest in engagement with the British communities in Brussels and Washington through both professional and social events and activities
- Improve online Embassy engagement with the British communities through improved websites, social media presence and regular email newsletters
- Deliver on the commitment to end the 15 year cap on overseas voting rights, help people to vote and reconsider Parliamentary representation in the context of House of Lords reform
- Enable consular services to better support complex case handling in country