British Locate System Axed in Favor of Twitter

An online database that was designed to help British expatriates living overseas during a crisis has been axed in favor of social media channels.

The Locate System, which was previously run by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has been underused by British expatriates living abroad and, as a result, the FCO have decided to cease operation of the system. Instead, social media mechanisms such as Twitter and Facebook will be used to communicate important news, messages and updates to expatriates who are resident in any countries that face a crisis.

Commenting on the decision to end the use of the Locate system, an FCO representative said: “Locate was a global online registration database for people living abroad, or traveling abroad allowing them to leave contact details as well as next of kin details for use in case of emergency.

“The concept of registering with the FCO just in case of an emergency has not proven popular with the British public and does not provide an accurate picture of British nationals abroad.

“Approximately one per cent of people abroad actually register. It is therefore not proving an effective part of our crisis response and actually diverts our resources in a crisis. The decision to switch off Locate is part of a broader programme of work to make our crisis response the best in the world.”

The spokesman added: “The FCO is moving from a system where British nationals are encouraged to register when they travel in case there is a crisis, to one where we are using a number of channels to give them the latest information and advice on what they should do if they need our help.”

As an alternative to the Locate system, increased investment will be placed in a crisis hotline and crisis updates will be available via email, Twitter and Facebook.

British expatriates who are living overseas no longer need to register for the Locate service and can instead consult the FCO on Twitter and Facebook.