British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) terminate LOCATE service
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has discontinued its LOCATE service as it was reported that less than 1% of British nationals living overseas were using it. The system was set up in 2008 as a way for the government to keep expats and British people living abroad upto date with advice, especially in times of a crisis. However, it came under heavy scrutiny during the Libyan civil war in 2011 due to its lack of communication with registrants.
The system has been superseded, as of 15th May, by country-specific email alerts and additional social media channels. The system allows the user to enter their details (including travel dates, location, and contact details) so they can stay up to date with any important information regarding the country that they are travelling in. The LOCATE service also offered the functionality of acting as a way of the government contacting family members back home in the case of an emergency, as yet it is unclear if the new system will have this flexability.
The FCO have emphasised the importance of signing up if you are travelling to or living in Afghanistan, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen.
Anyone considering subscribing to the new service is encouraged to do so at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice