British FCO wants to hear expat opinions of consular services

Published:  31 Jan at 6 PM
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Better late than never might be the expat reaction to a UK government watchdog’s request for opinions on embassy and consular services overseas.

Britons who’ve fallen foul of police, immigration officers, local violence, scams and more and have asked local embassies or consulates for help have being asked to submit their experiences and comments. The government watchdog House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee is conducting a web forum as part of a push to improve the standards of overseas representation.

The object of the forum is to ensure that the service provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to British citizens in trouble is cost-effective and helpful.
According to a spokesperson for the Select Committee, they want to hear from people who have needed medical treatment, evacuation, help with lost passports, arrest or imprisonment, violent attacks, visa problems and more.

The committee wishes to determine how easy it is to contact consular services, how expats rate staff responses, whether expectations were met and how the services provided can be improved. Select Committee chairman Sir Richard Ottaway MP stresses the committee wants to hear from a wide selection of travellers and expats who’ve needed consular assistance, adding that both good as well as bad experiences will be welcomed.

The forum follows the launching in April last year of a three-year push to make UK consular services the best in the world by 2016. AS well as evaluating all written submissions, the committee will listen to evidence from representatives of Reprieve and other such organisations which work with Britons facing death sentences in foreign prisons.
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