FOI/2015/18

The Request

Received on 26 March 2015

Dear FOI Team.
 
I would like to request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act.
 
I understand my request will take 20 working days to process but I will be grateful if you could acknowledge receipt.
 
Please note I am not seeking the identity of any British Council representatives or employees.   Please feel free to redact their names from any documents or disclosures.
 
1…Is the British Council currently paying the school fees and or contributing to the school fees of the children of any of its employees and or trustees.
 
2…If the answer is yes can you please state how many individual employees and or trustees are currently receiving assistance from the British Council towards school fees.
 
3…Can you please state how many of these employees are receiving help because they are based overseas?  How many of these employees are based in the UK but still receiving help?
 
4…In the case of each of the aforementioned employees can you please state how much they are currently receiving each year?     In the case of each employee can you state how many of their  children are currently  being supported in this way?
.
5…In the case of each of the aforementioned employees can you please state for how many years they and their families have received help in this way.  In the case of each employee can you state the total amount received to help with school fees.
 
6…Can the British Council please list all of those schools at home or abroad who are currently ‘benefitting from this scheme.’ 
 
7…Can the British Council please state the overall amount spent and or the amount which it plans to spend on employees/trustees school fees in each of the following years. 2013. 2014. 2015.

 

Our Response

Responded on 10 April 2015

Case Reference: IKM/FOI/2015/18

10 April 2015

Dear

Thank you for your request for information dated 26 March 2015 concerning school fees. Your request has been handled under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 and has been passed to me for reply.

I can confirm, under section 1 (1) (a) of the FOIA, that the British Council does hold the information you have requested.

For your ease of reference, I have restated your questions below in bold and have provided our response beneath each question.

1…Is the British Council currently paying the school fees and or contributing to the school fees of the children of any of its employees and or trustees.

Yes

2…If the answer is yes can you please state how many individual employees and or trustees are currently receiving assistance from the British Council towards school fees.

124

3…Can you please state how many of these employees are receiving help because they are based overseas?  How many of these employees are based in the UK but still receiving help?

123 Overseas
1 in the UK

4…In the case of each of the aforementioned employees can you please state how much they are currently receiving each year?  In the case of each employee can you state how many of their children are currently being supported in this way?

The total amount spent in the 2013/14 school year for all 124 staff is £2,476,598

There are 99 employees who have children at international schools. The total amount spent, in the 2013/14 school year, for those 99 employees is £1,633,063

There are 25 members of staff who have children at UK schools. The total amount spent, in the 2013/14 school year, for those 25 employees is £843,535

The individual breakdown for employees who have children at boarding schools in the UK has been provided within the attached spreadsheet.

6…Can the British Council please list all of those schools at home or abroad who are currently ‘benefitting from this scheme.’ 

Below is a list of the UK schools we pay boarding allowance for.

• St Leonard's School - Scotland
• Benenden School - Kent
• Foremarke Hall - Derby
• LVS Ascot - Berkshire
• Brook House College
• Giggleswick School - North Yorkshire
• Sir Roger Manwood's School - Kent
• Clifton College - Bristol
• The Cheltenham Ladies' College
• Clayesmore - Dorset
• Culford School - Suffolk
• Kingswood School - Bath
• Fettes College - Scotland
• St. Mary's Calne - Wiltshire
• Uppingham School
• D’overbroecks Sixth Form College - Oxford
• Hurtwood House - Surrey
• Millfield School
• Oakham - Rutland
• Lancing College - West Sussex
• Bedales School
• Leeds City College - Leeds
• Brighton College

Please note that we are withholding the list of international schools since the exemption, under section 40(2) (Personal information), applies to it.

Section 40(2) provides that information relating to third parties is exempt information 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.

If we were to disclose the list of international schools it would, in many cases, be clear which British Council employee the details refer to by comparing the country the schools are in with the British Council office in that country.  It would therefore be obvious that a specific individual has x number of children, who are attending x school. There would not be an expectation of disclosure on the part of the individuals (both parents and children) therefore we do not think it would be fair to disclose. The disclosure of this information would very likely be a breach of the Data Protection Act which could result in a complaint, or actual harm, distress or detriment, particularly to the children involved.
 
Section 40 is an absolute exemption therefore is not subject to the public interest test.

7…Can the British Council please state the overall amount spent and or the amount which it plans to spend on employees/trustees school fees in each of the following years. 2013. 2014. 2015.

2013/14 School year total amount spent = £2,476,598

2014/15 School year total amount spent (not including final term in this school year) =£2,409,186

The figure for 2014/15 includes some summer term payments due to different payment arrangements and term timings overseas. The majority of summer term payments are still to be made.

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:

Freedom of Information Officer
Information Security and Governance
British Council
Bridgewater House
58 Whitworth Street
Manchester
M1 6BB
Email: foi@britishcouncil.org

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
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Phone: 0303 123 1113
Website: www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Information Policy Advisor: FOI | Information Security & Governance

www.britishcouncil.org | www.britishcouncil.org/freedom-of-information