Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Building A High Performing Team To Drive Better Outcomes In Overseas Aid Programmes

Central to national security and intergovernmental diplomacy, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has a complex brief and is required to deliver overseas development projects worldwide, often in extreme conditions and at short notice.

From a challenging start, the last 18 months has seen the team responsible for procuring FCO’s overseas development programmes invest in a dramatic change unlike any other procurement team in Whitehall. Working with their partner Augmentas, FCO overseas development procurement teams – initially made up of a mixture of new, trainee, contractor and experienced staff – took on the challenge to address the evident inconsistency in processes, and the inevitable variable standards in procurement delivery. Within a wider review of FCO’s procurement operations, the overseas programme both brought in a new leadership team and maximised the capabilities of their external agency partner to make real changes.

Now, the FCO overseas development procurement team has reversed its fortunes and become a model for others to emulate. The team is performing at the highest standards, having helped FCO to improve dramatically in its assessment against the Government Commercial Operating Standards – raising morale, retaining and building talent and driving up customer satisfaction within a framework of strong compliance, a focus on value and effective risk management.