Social Work Advice to the FCDO

Our Advice Project with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCO) Consular Directorate addresses the difficulties faced by distressed and/or vulnerable British nationals returning to Heathrow, and occasionally other ports, from abroad, who could otherwise be homeless, destitute or present a risk to themselves or others on arrival.

Two Heathrow Travel-Care Social Workers are seconded as Specialist Advisors to the FCDO and is based at the FCDO Main Office, in King Charles Street, Westminster. They offer advice and support to British Consular Staff (in London and abroad) and thereby:

  • assist in the process of helping vulnerable people return to the UK to access services/support as soon as possible
  • reduce preventable homelessness and health deterioration (both physical and mental), social exclusion, crime and disruption to the operation of UK airports (particularly Heathrow)
  • promote eligibility and enable access to UK support services (formal and informal)
  • build capacity, add value and increase efficiency within the Consular network

Often a referral to the Crisis Social Work team at Heathrow Travel-Care is made, as they can re-assess people on arrival, meet flights on the basis of risk and work in partnership for ‘safe-enough’ planning.

Other clients are British Nationals who have lived, worked or retired abroad and are now no longer able or well enough to cope unsupported. This may be a result of social care problems, physical or mental ill health, detention in prison, homelessness or financial changes.

Our Advisor also contributes to Consular training, policy and developing / maintaining working partnerships in the UK and abroad. They have produced /  updated relevant publications for use by the FCDO and / or the wider community to address travel-related social care risks.



Click here for the FCDO – Know Before You Go campaign website.

Click here to see media coverage of a leaflet developed by Social Work Advisors for the FCDO in 2010.

Click here for the FCDO – No Health Without Mental Health Information Leaflet.

Click here for the FCDO – Disabled Travellers Information Leaflet.

Click here for the FCDO – Checklist for Travellers.


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