FOI/2015/21

The Request

Received on 30 March 2015

Dear Sir / Madam
 
NGO Monitor (www.ngo-monitor.org) is a Jerusalem-based research institute, promoting critical debate and accountability regarding the political activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are active in the Arab-Israel conflict.
The British Council is listed as a donor to the Palestinian NGO known as Miftah in 2013.
 
1. Did your funding continue in 2014 and 2015?
(a) What are the amounts provided to Miftah in each year?
(b) For which projects were the funds earmarked?
(c) Is this information publicly available? If so, how can it be retrieved? 
2. What is the procedure for deciding which groups receive funding? How are ongoing and completed projects evaluated?
3. What steps are taken if a grantee engages in activities that are inconsistent with the values of human rights and democracy, such as promoting of antisemitism and the demonization of Israel?
We look forward to your prompt response.

 

Our Response

Responded on 27 April 2015

Case Reference: FOI/2015/21

27 April 2015

Dear

Thank you for your request for information dated 30 March 2015 concerning British Council Funding for Miftah. 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.

NGO Monitor (www.ngo-monitor.org) is a Jerusalem-based research institute, promoting critical debate and accountability regarding the political activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are active in the Arab-Israel conflict.
The British Council is listed as a donor to the Palestinian NGO known as Miftah in 2013.

Did your funding continue in 2014 and 2015?

In 2014/15 we contracted Miftah to undertake some specific tasks on a project with Tajaawob, a small programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The programme seeks to improve the relationship between Palestinian citizens and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

(a) What are the amounts provided to Miftah in each year?
 
MIFTAH were contracted to undertake some specific tasks on a small programme and so received payment according to invoices for agreed services. The services are explained in section (b) below.

(b) For which projects were the funds earmarked?

You can find more information on the programme here:
http://www.britishcouncil.ps/en/programmes/society/tajaawob
 
MIFTAH's involvement with Tajaawob in 2014 and 2015 has been a project with the PNA Ministry of Education to improve accountability. This will help parents to hold the Ministry to account for the quality of education and how school budgets are managed.  MIFTAH has also helped Tajaawob establish local community committees in the West Bank and Gaza. The role of these committees is to hold PNA authorities and service providers to account. Tajaawob's original pilot programme ran from April 2013 until March 2015. A smaller extension of the programme is starting in April 2015 and this does not include MIFTAH.

(c) Is this information publicly available? If so, how can it be retrieved? 

Information on the programme can be found in the link provided above.

2. What is the procedure for deciding which groups receive funding?

As an organisation the British Council allocates funding on a case by case basis taking into account the regional context, appropriateness and ability of our partners to deliver our cultural relations work.

How are ongoing and completed projects evaluated?

An independent company has been contracted by DFID to evaluate the Tajaawob programme in June 2015.

3. What steps are taken if a grantee engages in activities that are inconsistent with the values of human rights and democracy, such as promoting of anti-Semitism and the demonization of Israel?

As a body that champions the values of the UK, we are deeply uncomfortable when freedom and human rights are compromised, but we do not support educational or cultural boycotts. We believe that continuing engagement and connecting people provides a better way forward than isolation. If we were to become aware of any issues that potentially compromise British Council values, we would investigate on a case by case basis and take appropriate action if deemed necessary.

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

Yours sincerely

Information Policy Advisor: FOI | Information Security & Governance

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