British Council 'invaluable part of UK's soft power armoury'

Friday 10 January 2014

 

The Foreign Affairs Committee has endorsed the value of the British Council’s work in its report on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s annual report and finances.

The Committee draws attention to the organisation’s success at building vital relationships for the UK around the world through education and culture.

The Committee writes: “We are in no doubt that the British Council is an invaluable part of the UK’s soft power armoury: it projects successfully and energetically the various aspects of British culture and values. The brand is trusted and respected; the organisation has a worldwide presence; and its activities are not replicated in full by any other UK-based organisation. We are satisfied that if the Council were to cease to exist, there would be a diminution of British influence overseas.”

The Committee’s report also voices support the British Council’s funding model, under which it earns more than three quarters of its income itself, through activities including teaching, exams and contracts. The report calls for this funding model to continue:

 “A reliance on commercial funding would make the British Council’s presence unsustainable in many areas where it has the greatest “soft power” value, and a reliance on public funding would shrink the organisation and reduce its influence with foreign governments (for instance in education services) overseas. The British Council has achieved a balance which works, and we believe that the current mixed finance model should be retained.”

Sir Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council, said: “Doing more with less public money, by generating an ever greater proportion of our income from private sources, means that the British Council can deliver greater and greater impact for the UK through English, education and the arts, while providing excellent value for the taxpayer. I’m delighted to see this recognised and endorsed by the Foreign Affairs Committee”.

For more information, contact Mark Moulding in the British Council Press Office on 0207 389 4889 or mark.moulding@britishcouncil.org

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year teaching English, sharing the Arts and in education and society programmes.

 We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A publically-funded grant-in-aid provides less than a quarter of our turnover which last year was £781m.  The rest we earn from English teaching, UK exams and services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with other institutions, brands and companies.  All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and creates prosperity and security for the UK and the countries we work in all around the world.

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil and http://blog.britishcouncil.org