Author Topic: Bereaved families let down by UK consular service  (Read 985 times)

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Offline thaiga

Bereaved families let down by UK consular service
« on: November 23, 2014, 02:00:48 PM »
Bereaved families let down by UK consular service, MPs say

The consular service provided by the UK Foreign Office sometimes falls short of what the public "can legitimately expect", a report by MPs says.

Bereavement services - offered when Britons die abroad - had fallen "well below expected standards" at times, the Foreign Affairs Committee report says.

It said the Foreign Office had suffered budget cuts and more UK-based staff should be put in foreign positions.

The Foreign Office welcomed the report and said it was improving its service.

The Foreign Office will present a paper addressing the report to parliament in January, the spokesman said.
'Shorts and t-shirts'

The report assessed the UK consular service, which provides advice and assistance to British nationals travelling overseas, including bereavement services.

Some of those who had lost family members abroad accused the Foreign Office of poor communication, flippancy and indiscretion.

There have been "repeated failures of communication and compassion", the report found.

One person, who lost their partner in a plane crash in Nepal, told the committee: "The ambassador did not meet me... one of his juniors did. They arrived in shorts and T-shirt.

"They had not even been to visit the crash site. When I asked why not, they explained that it was because of 'staff cuts'."

Another bereaved relative, Julie Love, said families have been made to feel as if their loved one's death was "insignificant".

The report expressed concern that services offered to detained Britons abroad had been judged "uneven and minimalist".

It found "serious disquiet" about the Foreign Office's closure of consulates and withdrawal of routine visits from British nationals imprisoned in EU states.

MPs also said they were "gravely concerned" by allegations that consular officers had failed properly to respond to British nationals who claimed they had been tortured in foreign prisons.
Staff halved

Despite the issues, the committee said the Foreign Office's consular service provided "vital help to British nationals in distress".

But it said there was inexperience among some staff and said problems arose because of time constraints, competing priorities and a lack of training.

The report also acknowledged the Foreign Office had been badly hit by budget cuts.

The consular service had seen its staffing levels more than halved, with 90% of its overseas roles filled by local staff and European consular posts closed.

MPs said the Foreign Office should hire UK-based staff for at least 20% of consular positions and a central unit be set up to co-ordinate deaths of British nationals abroad.

A spokesman said the Foreign Office would "consider the recommendations carefully and respond fully in due course".

"Some of the issues that the committee has identified, including our response to tragic murders abroad, are areas that we are already working to improve and we will consider the points that they have made," the spokesman said.

bbc.com
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

Offline dodgeydave

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Re: Bereaved families let down by UK consular service
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2014, 02:50:16 PM »
""The Foreign Office welcomed the report and said it was improving its service.""


Hw amny times have we heard the above statement for government departments.
 

Online Taman Tun

Re: Bereaved families let down by UK consular service
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2014, 03:57:53 PM »
The usual official statement is "lessons have been learned". That is the one that annoys me the most.
We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out. Churchill
 

Offline thaiga

Re: Bereaved families let down by UK consular service
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2014, 04:37:53 PM »
                                                                       TODAY WORLD NEWS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kfj0bbU8e_o
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

Offline thaiga

Re: Hull man: I felt "abandoned" by Foreign Office
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2014, 03:52:04 PM »
Foreign office "failing" Brits abroad

A man from Hull who was imprisoned in Iraq says he felt let down by the Foreign Office. It comes as a report shows the help provided by the government department sometimes falls short of what should be expected.

A man from Hull who was unable to leave Iraq for almost nine months has welcomed a report claiming the Foreign Office sometimes needs to do more to help British people who have got into trouble abroad.

A Government Select Committee has analysed substantial anecdotal evidence which indicates the FCO provides "inconsistent" support for bereaved families, and fails to provide enough help for Brits in prison abroad.


Kristian Nicholson Credit: ITV

Kristian Nicholson, a former RAF interpreter, was involved in a fatal car accident when he was working in Iraq. He says a man died because there was an obstruction in the road, and the accident could not have been avoided.

After he paid thousands of pounds to the man's family, he was told by a court in the besieged city of Erbil that he could leave. Afterwards, his passport was confiscated and the authorities wrangled over whether he could leave the country.

He returned home to his wife and children in September - but claims he has been mentally scarred by the events.

He said: "The corruption I encountered in the country is beyond belief.

"Luckily I had friends with high connections in the courts or who know what would have happened to me?

itv.com
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

 



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