The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has announced plans to cut 30 to 40 percent from its IT costs.

According to a new strategy document, covering the period to 2015, the renewal or replacement of existing technology contracts will play a substantial role in the cuts.

One of the key contracts to be implemented is for the ‘Echo’ programme, with supplier Cable & Wireless, for Wide Area Network services. The contracts for a central FCO system, and the ERP contracts, will also be renewed or replaced.

The department will focus extensively on improving knowledge management under the strategy. It also plans to cut a quarter of its carbon footprint.

FCO staff around the world would be “linked by better telephony, videoconferencing and secure computer systems”, said chief information officer David Meyer. Instant messaging and better use of Microsoft SharePoint are also being considered for communications.

“Our strategy for the next four years is to support our foreign policy priorities and diplomatic excellence by providing information and communication technology which is easy to use, flexible, fast and reliable, which does all we and our Whitehall partners need at lower cost and with a smaller carbon footprint, and improves our knowledge management so we can access the information we want when we want it and use it better,” the strategy document states.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office CIO Tony Mather on modernising Whitehall