There are signs that the FCO is being stretched, almost to the limit. One of the symptoms is the prospect that the department will need an extra year to meet its target of a 10% headcount reduction in UK-based staff, largely because of 'sustained pressure to deliver an ambitious policy agenda'.
We believe the department may be in danger of trying to do too much at a time when capacity is being limited. A more realistic approach by the department and by ministers is needed, as well as a clearer definition of priorities.
We conclude that in future the department will need to attach greater importance to living within its means and will need to recognise that there are limits to what it can take on.