A new analysis by Devex reveals that 212 development professionals left the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) following the merger of the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in September 2020.
While the FCDO told Devex that the number of former DFID staffers who departed after the merger was similar to the previous year’s turnover, the Chair of the UK parliament’s International Development Committee, Sarah Champion, has expressed concerns over staffing. She indicated that the Committee's previous concern that the merger could lead to a development brain-drain from the FCDO is coming true. This staffing issue is of particular concern, given that the UK was renowned globally for its staff expertise in development.
Staffing losses come as the FCDO faces increasing criticism for its management of the UK's withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Dominic Raab, has received significant criticism following revelations that an internal FCDO risk report predicted that the fall of the government in Afghanistan could be swift following withdrawal. This conclusion contradicted Raab’s statements that defended the UK's actions due to intelligence failures and lack of accurate predictions of quick government breakdowns.