Accountability to Parliament
As a Non-Departmental Public Body spending taxpayers’ money, the British Council is formally accountable to Parliament. Our annual report and accounts are laid out before Parliament and our work is scrutinised by the Foreign Affairs Committee. Our Chair and Chief Executive are regularly called before the Committee to give oral evidence about our activity around the world.
The Foreign Affairs Committee
The Foreign Affairs Committee's remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which includes the diplomatic service. As the British Council receives public funds from the FCO budget we are also subject to the Committee’s scrutiny.
Engaging Parliamentarians with our work
The purpose of the British Council All-Party Parliamentary Group is for Parliamentarians to learn more about, and better understand the British Council, and to support the British Council, offering advice and encouragement in both its every day and long term work.
- Inform Parliamentarians of the activity taking place in their constituencies, for example our work with schools like the Connecting Classrooms programme.
- Hold briefings and meetings for Parliamentarians on aspects of our work and our operations in specific countries.
- Submit factual written evidence to Government, Parliamentary Select Committees, political parties and individual Parliamentarians, for example in response to a Select Committee inquiry or a Parliamentary Question.
- Welcome delegations of Parliamentarians to our offices and operations around the world, for example when they are on an overseas visit organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union or the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
We work with and provide opportunities for parliamentarians both in Government and Opposition. We approach parliamentarians based on their potential interest in the British Council and our work, rather than their political affiliation. When approaching speakers for events, we look to present a balance of different political opinion, choosing the most relevant representatives, whether that be a Minister in Government, or a spokesperson from the Opposition.
The British Council proactively publishes the details of all visits made by Parliamentarians which we have funded or part-funded. This adheres with the Information Commissioner’s requirements for a broadening of the information published via our FOI Publication Scheme, and is in line with rules set out by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
If you would like further information on our parliamentary activities you can contact Siobhan Foster-Perkins in our External Relations team on 020 7389 4638 or at Siobhan.Foster-Perkins@britishcouncil.org.