Protocol Directorate

The Directorate looks after a diplomatic community of approximately 22,500 persons, including dependants. The main responsibilities of Protocol Directorate are handled by:

Ceremonial Section

Co-ordinates the arrival and departure arrangements of Heads of Mission. The section also gives general advice to missions on ceremonial, protocol and precedence queries, and other related matters. Staff will also brief the spouse of a newly arrived Head of Mission on the credentials ceremony and offer any additional briefing required.

In conjunction with the office of the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps (See Notification of New Staff page) and other Government departments, the section assists in arrangements for the attendance of Heads of Mission at the following official occasions:-

• Commonwealth Day observance (High Commissioners only)
• Trooping the Colour
• Garter Ceremony
• Royal Ascot
• Foreign Secretary’s reception or dinner to mark the official birthday of HM The Queen
• Royal garden parties
• Remembrance Day service (High Commissioners only)
• State Opening of Parliament
• The Queen’s evening reception for the Diplomatic Corps

Dress code for Ceremonial Events

Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations Unit (DMIOU)

The Unit ensures that diplomats and their dependants are accredited and in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations receive the privileges and immunities to which they are entitled.
The Unit also handles general enquiries about the Vienna Conventions, criminal offences as well as pursuing debts.

International Organisations

The Unit performs similar functions in respect of International Organisations based in the UK. Such organisations and their staff do not enjoy privileges and immunities under the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964 but under separate legislation, such as the International Organisations Act 1968. For more details see the International Organisations section of the website.

DMIOU Customer Service Charter

The Unit is committed to providing a good service to all Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations. In order to give clear guidance on the service the Unit aims to provide, DMIOU has a Customer Service Charter.

Diplomatic and VIP Security Section

Is responsible, in close liaison with the Parliamentary & Diplomatic Protection Group (PADP) and British Police Forces, for the security and protection of diplomats and diplomatic property. It also deals with the security arrangements for inward official and private VIP visits, and security arrangements for international conferences in the UK.

Visits Team
Responsible for inward visit planning for all guests of Government visitors to the UK. The Visits team handle two main types of visit (below) and the International Leaders Programme:

International Leaders Programme & Sponsored Visits

Plan International Leaders Programmes and individually tailored visit programmes each year for a range of experts and opinion formers from overseas. They include politicians, academics, business people, senior officials, trade unionists and journalists. Programmes cover a wide range of topics from general politics and economics through to more specific themes such as congestion charging, law and order, climate change, human rights and inward investment.

VIP Visits

Research, co-ordinate and plan individual programmes for around 50 visits a year, for Heads of State, Heads of Government, Foreign and Defence Ministers visiting the United Kingdom as guests of Her Majesty’s Government. Services also include logistical support to Buckingham Palace for two inward State visits per year with particular emphasis on logistical arrangements for the visiting foreign media.

The VIP Arrivals & Departures Team sit with the Visits Team. Further details can be found on their pages.

Conferences and Events Section
Provide a comprehensive event management service organising meetings, conferences, summits and events throughout the UK.

Government Hospitality
Organises official functions hosted by UK ministers and senior civil servants. These functions normally take place within a government building (e.g. Lancaster House) but can also be arranged at other venues. Government Hospitality (GH) has some capacity to fund events for overseas visitors to the UK, but all applications for funding must be made in writing and meet certain criteria.

Royal Households and Honours Secretariat
The Secretariat has two distinct roles:

• acting as the link between the FCO and the Royal Households
• dealing with honours issues.

On the honours side, the Secretariat administers the Diplomatic Service and Overseas List, and honorary awards to non-British nationals. It also administers the rules and provides policy advice on the accepting and wearing of foreign awards by British nationals.