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Sensitivity Review Service

Like all government departments, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office produces a substantial volume of records on everything from major international events to day-to-day analysis. After a time, currently about 25 years, those records are transferred to the National Archives in Kew and become available to the public.

Before transfer, each record is carefully checked by our Sensitivity Review Service. The team’s work protects the UK’s relations with other countries, as well as our defence interests, the intelligence services, and the personal data of individuals, all within a legal framework.

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Key roles in the area

  • Sensitivity Reviewers
  • Digital Records Operations Managers
  • Digital Archive Assistants
  • Service Desk professionals
  • Digital Data Scientists
  • Microfiche Digitisation specialists
  • Quality Assurance specialists

Hear from one of the team

We have a strong sense of service to the public. We’re releasing what were previously protected government documents, so that the public can see how decisions were made and policy formed. This is important, and it feels good to be doing it. 

Sensitivity Review Service colleague

Our Sensitivity Review Service team are based in Hanslope Park, Milton Keynes, with a few staff at King Charles Street, London. 

A little myth-busting: we don’t block data because it’s embarrassing. We redact when it could cause real harm to UK interests or to individuals – and that’s a tiny part of the records we process.

Case studies

Our team came together with private sector experts to implement artificial intelligence, supporting us to review digital FCDO files more efficiently than ever.

Learning and development

Alongside the training available to the wider FCDO Services team, we have a learning framework to help every colleague progress with job-specific skills, including:

  • IT skills, finance and business training for the Service Desk
  • Targeted tech skills for the Digital Archive Assistants

Find out about overall training and benefits at Life at FCDO Services 

Did you know?

Historical content reviewed by the Sensitivity Reviewers can be as wide-ranging as it is world-changing.
Right now, reviewers are looking at records of the Lockerbie disaster, the first Gulf War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. You’re exploring documents that offer real insight on world history – and preserving national security at the same time.

Staying ahead of the curve in the Sensitivity Review Service

Records are reviewed 20-30 years after they were made. That means we’re now hitting the mid-1990s – and an explosion in emails, texts, and soon, social media posts. What smart ways are there to deal with the exponential jump in the volume of Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office records? Let’s find out how the team stay ahead:

We’re developing new AI reviewing systems that can satisfy rigorous government security protocols, but which can also deal with the subtleties of human phrasing – picking up things like humour and idioms in diplomatic communications. Of course, we’d never want a fully automated service, but this new technology will give valuable support to our human reviewers.

The FCDO Services Innovation Lab works to develop technology that can make mammoth tasks easier – and we collaborate with our colleagues there to explore new techniques to help our team. Not only do ideas here help us provide a sophisticated service, but they help us cut costs for departments across Whitehall.

It’s not just historical documents – the Sensitivity Review Service also check for sensitive data in documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act. 

The growth in digital records means this team will keep expanding to keep us at the cutting-edge and on top of the volume of work to be reviewed.

What do I need to thrive here?

1. Team spirit

You’re ready to pitch in wherever you’re needed, learning about new subjects where you have to, to help the team maintain high standards amid changing priorities.

2. Absolute discretion

You’re reviewing material classified under the Official Secrets Act, so you have to be able to handle it with discretion.

3. Respect for the material

Some of the details you’re dealing with could threaten lives if they were released: you have to be mindful of that, even though you want to release as complete a story as possible.

4. Diplomatic understanding

If you’re a reviewer, you’ll usually be a former diplomat, with insight and understanding of international diplomacy, of foreign countries and of what they consider important.

Latest roles

Want to join FCDO Services but can’t see a live role to suit you? Great news: you can sign up for job alerts or add your CV to our talent pool and we’ll be in touch when something comes up.

Assistant Private Secretary to the Chief Executive of FCDO Services

London KCS
£29,527 – £35,000 plus £5,000 location allowance

Specialist Infrastructure Engineer – End User Computing

Hanslope Park
£39,255 – £49,991 plus £1,750 location allowance

Approved Electrician

Hanslope Park
£31,638 – £44,197 plus excellent benefits

Transformation Director

Hanslope Park or London
Circa £80,000 Plus Location Allowance

Sensitivity Reviewer

Hanslope Park
£50,653 plus £1,750 location allowance

Finance (Transactional) Apprenticeship

Hanslope Park
£19,749 Plus £1,750 Location Allowance

IT Apprenticeship

Hanslope Park
£17,364 Plus £1,750 Location Allowance

Warehouse Operative Apprenticeship

Hanslope Park
£19,749 Plus £1,750 Location Allowance

Marketing Apprenticeship

Hanslope Park
£16,979 Plus £1,750 Location Allowance

Product Design and Development Apprenticeship

Hanslope Park
£14,884 Plus £1,750 Location Allowance

Public Relations and Communications Apprenticeship

Hanslope Park
£16,979 Plus £1,750 Location Allowance

Wood Workshop Technician Apprenticeship

Hanslope Park
£14,884 Plus £1,750 Location Allowance

Metal Workshop Technician Apprenticeship

Hanslope Park
£14,884 Plus £1,750 Location Allowance

Bid Proposal Co-ordinator Apprenticeship

Hanslope Park
£15,766 Plus £1,750 Location Allowance

Business Administration Apprenticeship

London KCS
£19,749 Plus £5,000 Location Allowance

Data Analyst Apprenticeship

Hanslope Park
£15,766 Plus £1,750 Location Allowance

Engineering Technician Apprenticeship

Hanslope Park
£14,884 Plus £1,750 Location Allowance