The Request (dated 24 January 2018)

Dear Sir or Madam,
 
Under the Freedom of Information Act I would like to request the following information:
 
1.     Does your organisation have a Facebook Page(s)? If yes, what is/are the url(s) and when were they set up?
2.     Does your organisation advertise or spend any money on Facebook? If yes, please can you outline what expenditure has occurred and break down expenditure per calendar year (January to December) since 2004?
3.     Does your organisation have a Twitter Account? If yes, what is/are the url(s) and when were they set up?
4.     Does your organisation advertise or spend any money on Twitter? If yes, please can you outline what expenditure has occurred and break down expenditure per calendar year (January to December) since 2006?
5.     Does your organisation use Google G-Suite services (Google services) or does your organisation rely on google for any services (such as email hosting)? If yes, what are the services, when were they agreed and how much did they cost?
6.     Does your organisation advertise or spend any money on Google? If yes, please can you outline what expenditure has occurred and break down expenditure per calendar year (January to December) since the payments first began?
 
"Is there an official policy for the use of organisational Facebook or Twitter Accounts (ie how to post, what to use it for and when to delete or preserve records)? If there is a policy (or policies) please may I be provided with them?"
 
Many thanks in advance and I look forward to your reply.
 
 

Our Response (dated 2 March 2018)

Dear
 
Thank you for your request for information dated 25 January 2018, which you later clarified on 8 February 2018, concerning Facebook, Twitter and Google G-Suite. Your request has been handled under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 and has been passed to me for reply.
 
For your ease of reference I have restated your request below in bold and have provided our response beneath each point.
 
1.Does your organisation have a Facebook Page(s)? If yes, what is/are the url(s) and when were they set up?
 
UK-based Facebook Channels Current Audience
Year Established
https://www.facebook.com/britishcouncil/ 1,964,900 2011
https://www.facebook.com/BritishCouncilScotland/ 3,003 2012
https://www.facebook.com/BritishCouncilWales/ 3,147 2012
https://www.facebook.com/britishcouncilnorthernireland/ 2,715 2015
https://www.facebook.com/Arts.BritishCouncil/ 176,644 2011
https://www.facebook.com/SchoolsOnline.BritishCouncil/ 425,792 2013
https://www.facebook.com/StudyUK.BritishCouncil/ 458,000 2016
https://www.facebook.com/LearnEnglish.BritishCouncil/ 3,114,575 2010
https://www.facebook.com/TeachingEnglish.BritishCouncil/ 3,998,033 2012
https://www.facebook.com/LearnEnglishTeens.BritishCouncil/ 1,162,162 2013
https://www.facebook.com/LearnEnglishParents.BritishCouncil/ 494,468 2016

2.Does your organisation advertise or spend any money on Facebook? If yes, please can you outline what expenditure has occurred and break down expenditure per calendar year (January to December) since 2004?

Unfortunately we cannot provide this information as the exemption under section 12 (Cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit) of the FOIA applies. 
 
Section 12 makes provision for public authorities to refuse requests for information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed the appropriate limit, which for the British Council is set at £450. This is calculated at £25 per hour multiplied by 18 hours of staff time it would take to determine, locate, retrieve or extract the information. 
 
The information you have requested is not recorded centrally therefore in order to locate, retrieve and extract the information from our systems would require each Strategic Business Unit (SBU) within our UK region to carry out the task separately and then collate the data from their corporate accounts. We estimate that the collective staff time it would take to collate this information would take longer than 18 hours. 
 
3.Does your organisation have a Twitter Account? If yes, what is/are the url(s) and when were they set up?
 
 
4.Does your organisation advertise or spend any money on Twitter? If yes, please can you outline what expenditure has occurred and break down expenditure per calendar year (January to December) since 2006?
We are withholding this information under section 12 (Cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit) for the same reasons given in response to question two. 
 
5.Does your organisation use Google G-Suite services (Google services) or does your organisation rely on google for any services (such as email hosting)? If yes, what are the services, when were they agreed and how much did they cost?
We do not use Google services
 
6.Does your organisation advertise or spend any money on Google? 
No
 
If yes, please can you outline what expenditure has occurred and break down expenditure per calendar year (January to December) since the payments first began?
N/A
 
7.Is there an official policy for the use of organisational Facebook or Twitter Accounts (i.e. how to post, what to use it for and when to delete or preserve records)? If there is a policy (or policies) please may I be provided with them?"
 
You can find a copy of our Media and Social Media Policy on our website (see link below). I have attached a copy of the PDF version for your convenience. 
 
 
Please note that we have answered your questions in regards to our UK accounts as agreed on 8 February 2018. 
 
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: 
 
Information Governance Advisor (Disclosures)
Information Governance and Risk Management 
British Council
Bridgewater House
58 Whitworth Street
Manchester
M1 6BB 
 
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 
 
 
Yours sincerely