Partnership and outsourcing as tools for increased access to Consular Services : a case of the South African High Commission in the United Kingdom

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    The provision of consular services is an obligation of every government to its citizens who are living abroad. In providing such services, efforts must be made to ensure that they are accessible to all citizens, wherever they may be. In the current economic climate, maintaining an extensive network of embassies and consulates around the world is an expensive venture. It is against this background that governments must be innovative in providing services by ensuring that private and third sector organisations are involved, in order to complement their work of guaranteeing that consular services reach their citizens at affordable costs–wherever they are in the world. This article makes a vital contribution to the concept of using partnership and outsourcing as tools for increased access to consular services in one of the critical missions of South Africa (SA) abroad–the United Kingdom (UK), by showing that the traditional way of rendering consular services from a diplomatic mission is inadequate to reach potential customers scattered throughout the host country. The research makes use of a mixed methods approach and concludes with significant recommendations that, inter alia, include even using post offices and the internet to ensure that consular services reach all parts of the UK where South Africans reside. Given that consular services have inherent security implications, the article also notes that, amongst factors that must be taken into account before outsourcing consular services, or even setting up a partnership, the chosen service providers must be able to maintain and protect the confidentiality of their customers.