The Request

Received on 2 April 2017

--------------- Original Message ---------------


Sent: 02/04/2017


Subject: Form submission from: Contact Us 

Submitted on Sunday 02 April 2017 - 12:27

Submitted by user:

Submitted values are:

First name: Sam

Surname: Nixon


Where are you based? United Kingdom

What is your enquiry about? British Council Programme or Project


Freedom of information request:

To whom it may concern,

I would kindly request from you:

Comprehensive information on the current positions based in mainland China, including:

- Job title

- Location (i.e. city)

- Whether fixed term contract or ongoing

- If fixed term, when the current tour date finishes

- Grade of position

- And any other information you may hold that may be relevant (e.g. salary ranges)

Please provide this information in electronic format to this e-mail address.

Kind regards,


Our Response

Responded on 18 May 2017

From: IG_Disclosures 

Sent: 18 May 2017 10:30


Subject: RE: Request for information (FOI_2017_27)

Case Reference: FOI_2017_27        

18 May 2017


Thank you for your request for information dated 2 April 2017 concerning information on the current British Council positions based in mainland China. Once again I apologise for the delay in getting back to you. 

I can confirm, under section 1 (1) (a) of the FOIA, that the British Council does hold the information you have requested. Please find attached a spread sheet which provides information on all British Council roles in China. 

We are withholding some information as the exemptions under section 40 (Personal data) sub-section (2) and section 43 (Commercial interests) sub-section (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies. 

Section 40(2) allows a public authority to withhold information relating to third parties if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. Under the FOIA disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle contained in the Data Protection Act (DPA), where it would be unfair to that person or if it is confidential.

We do not think it would be fair to disclose employee contract status details therefore we have removed that information where it can be linked to a specific individual. 

Section 40 is an absolute exemption therefore is not subject to the public interest test.

Section 43 (2) allows a public authority to withhold information where it would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding it). 

If we were to disclose examiner rates of pay it would prejudice the British Council’s ability to compete fairly in the IELTS market. 

The exemption for commercial interests is subject to the public interest test as stipulated by the Act, which means that the exemption can only be upheld if the public interest in doing so outweighs the public interest in disclosure. 

Whilst we acknowledge that there is a public interest in understanding the British Council’s IELTS business and disclosure would facilitate transparency within our organisation in this case we feel that the damage to our commercial interests that would be caused as a result of  disclosing this information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

I hope the information provided has been useful. 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to: 

Information Governance Advisor (Disclosures)

Information Governance and Risk Management 

British Council

Bridgewater House

58 Whitworth Street


M1 6BB 


If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner for a decision at: 

The Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane




Phone: 0303 123 1113 


Yours sincerely

Information Governance Advisor (Disclosures) | Information Governance and Risk Management Team