Our status, operations and supply chain

The British Council is registered as a charity under registration numbers 209131 (England and Wales) and SC037733 (Scotland) is incorporated by Royal Charter.

We work in over 100 countries, connecting millions of people with the United Kingdom through programmes and services in the English language, the artseducation and society.

The British Council has a diverse and substantial supply chain, with procurement devolved to the business across the globe.  The Global Procurement team in the UK is responsible for the corporate procurement policy and strategy. 


Current policy and processes

Our corporate procurement policy covers all the actions required to obtain goods and services on behalf of the British Council from external third party suppliers. This includes planning, sourcing, supplier selection, contracting, transaction management and payment.

The policy’s objectives include ensuring all potential and incumbent suppliers are dealt with professionally, fairly and ethically and that we uphold the principles of sustainable procurement at all times.  Our procedures comply with EU and UK law and address environmental management, health and safety and equality legislation.  We provide guidance and tools to ensure that the policy is followed during the procurement process.

We require our business to maintain preferred supplier lists which include supplier statements on the environment, health and safety and child protection.


Strengthening assurance during 2016-17

• Developing training for British Council staff and a code of practice for our suppliers that will increase awareness and understanding to prevent modern slavery in the supply chain

• Conducting a risk assessment of the British Council’s supply chain to identify the high risk countries and categories of expenditure

• Working with British Council colleagues, prioritising high risk countries, to develop a site audit process that will be in turn be implemented in all countries of operation 

• Updating the Code of Conduct, global procurement policy and related guidance to include statements on modern slavery

• Working with suppliers and stakeholders groups such as the Ethical Trading Initiative to build knowledge and find solutions.


This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes the British Council’s slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ending 31 March 2016. The Board of Trustees of the British Council delegated approval of this statement on its behalf to the Chief Executive at its board meeting on 5 July 2016.