FOI/2015/65

The Request

Received on 24 August 2015

* The request was originally received in Arabic

I request the director of the British Council in Bahrain to answer the following queries:
- How accurate is it that the BC requested permission from the Bahraini authorities to increase the employment quota for the non- Bahrainis ? And to what extent is it true that the total number of Bahraini employees is small, as it is 18 persons out of the total number of employees in BC making the Bahrainization in BC at a percentage of 27% only?
- Is BC going to investigate with the Head of the Exam Department in relation to the abovementioned alleged complaints? What measures are going to be taken against him in case of conviction?
- What is the legal basis for the licensing of the British Council on the Bahraini territories; is it similar to the experience of the American Council for Culture and Education which was established in January 2000 by the American Embassy in Bahrain and a group of business men who became members on its board of directors, and which is licensed by the Ministry of Education? Or is similar to the American Mission Hospital which is licensed as a charitable organization under the Ministry of Social Development? In fact I looked for the basis of the BC license at different public authorities and in the BC Website but found no sufficient answer.
- Has BC been reviewed by the national Authority for Education and Training Qualification; as I have not seen any report on this regard on the mentioned authority website.

Our Response

Responded on 18 September 2015

Case Reference: FOI/2015/65

18 September 2015

Dear

Thank you for your request for information dated 24 August 2015 concerning a series of questions relating to employment of non-Bahraini’s. 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.

- How accurate is it that the BC requested permission from the Bahraini authorities to increase the employment quota for the non- Bahrainis? And to what extent is it true that the total number of Bahraini employees is small, as it is 18 persons out of the total number of employees in BC making the Bahrainisation in BC at a percentage of 27% only?

In April this year we applied to the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) for work permits for new teachers arriving in country and at the time we were informed that we had exceeded our quota of non-Bahrainis. However the total the LMRA were referring to included all of our English teachers, the majority of whom are British Citizens. We explained that section 5 of our Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bahraini Government allowed us to bring in UK Teachers of English and that the Bahrainisation quota should not apply to English Teachers. The LMRA accepted this and granted us a quota of extra work permits for non-Bahrainis.

Our Bahrain office employs 35 teaching staff, 33 of which are non-Bahraini and 2 are Bahraini. This is in keeping with our MoU with the Bahraini government which allows us to employ UK based British teachers.

We employ 29 other full time staff of whom 21 are Bahraini and 8 are non-Bahraini. We also employ 15 teaching assistants all of whom are Bahraini.

- Is BC going to investigate with the Head of the Exam Department in relation to the abovementioned alleged complaints? What measures are going to be taken against him in case of conviction?

There have been no official complaints submitted or grievances initiated against the Head of the Exams Department in Bahrain, therefore no investigations have taken place. The British Council has a transparent and robust grievance procedure that all staff can follow if they feel they have been treated unfairly.

- What is the legal basis for the licensing of the British Council on the Bahraini territories; is it similar to the experience of the American Council for Culture and Education which was established in January 2000 by the American Embassy in Bahrain and a group of business men who became members on its board of directors, and which is licensed by the Ministry of Education? Or is similar to the American Mission Hospital which is licensed as a charitable organization under the Ministry of Social Development? In fact I looked for the basis of the BC license at different public authorities and in the BC Website but found no sufficient answer.

The British Council operates in Bahrain under an MoU signed in 1971 between the governments of our two countries.    

- Has BC been reviewed by the national Authority for Education and Training Qualification; as I have not seen any report on this regard on the mentioned authority website.

No

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 | Global Information Services
http://www.britishcouncil.org/organisation/how-we-work/freedom-of-information

www.britishcouncil.org