FOI/2015/43

The Request

Received on 19 June 2015

1. The first regards the organisation Marriage Equality. This body had listed the British Council and Dutch Government on their website as being their "funders" and their supporters. This was removed some time after 26 March 2015.
a) Please provide details of any written communication between the British Council and Marriage Equality on the subject of whether the British Council could be publicly acknowledged as a supporter of Marriage Equality.
b) Please provide details of any communication discussing the removal of the British Council's name from Marriage Equality's website or other campaign literature.

2. Secondly, please provide details of financial support given by the British Council to NGOs in the Republic of Ireland between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015 to include the amount given and the purpose to which the grant would be put.  If it is not possible to separate out payment made to NGOs, please simply provide a list of all payments given to organisations in the Republic of Ireland and their purpose.

For the purposes of this request, financial support includes:
- disbursement of funds by way of grants
- subsidy of any of an organisation's costs (such as covering travel costs, accommodation, catering)
- placing of British Council staff on secondment
- provision of a service to an organisation that otherwise the organisation might have had to acquire on a commercial basis (such as financial or business advice, the setting up of a website)

Thank you for your assistance.

 

Our Response

Responded on 15 July 2015

Case Reference: FOI/2015/43

15 July 2015

Dear

Thank you for your request for information dated 19 June 2015 concerning written communication between the British Council and Marriage Equality and details of financial support given by the British Council to NGOs in the Republic of Ireland between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015. 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 some, but not all, of the information you have requested.

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

a) Please provide details of any written communication between the British Council and Marriage Equality on the subject of whether the British Council could be publicly acknowledged as a supporter of Marriage Equality.

b) Please provide details of any communication discussing the removal of the British Council's name from Marriage Equality's website or other campaign literature.

Please find attached email correspondence between our Press Office and Marriage Equality in regards to the subjects referred to in points a and b.

Please note that we are withholding some of the information from within the attachments 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.

We have removed the names and contact details of any third parties as it would be unfair to disclose their personal information.
 
Section 40 is an absolute exemption therefore is not subject to the public interest test.

2. Secondly, please provide details of financial support given by the British Council to NGOs in the Republic of Ireland between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015 to include the amount given and the purpose to which the grant would be put.  If it is not possible to separate out payment made to NGOs, please simply provide a list of all payments given to organisations in the Republic of Ireland and their purpose.

British Council has not financially supported any NGO’s in the Republic of Ireland between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015 therefore we do not hold this information.

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 | Global Information Services

www.britishcouncil.org