Fair competition

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide.  As an organisation in receipt of public funds, the British Council must ensure that whenever it engages in trading activities, it does so in a way that reflects its commitment to fair competition while not compromising the achievement of its public purpose.

We deliver our charitable objectives through revenue-generating activities as well as through partnerships and other activities funded by grant-in-aid from UK government. 

In line with our Royal Charter, everything we do must deliver those objectives, including when we are also generating revenue.    

The Board of Trustees recognises that the British Council’s brand, status and activities could have an impact on competition in the markets in which it operates. 


The British Council is committed to:

  •  conducting all its activities in a fair and reasonable manner which is in line with its charitable objectives and which avoids negative impact upon competition
  •  carrying out its activities in compliance with all applicable United Kingdom, European Union and international competition and charity laws
  •  ensuring its activities do not jeopardise its reputation and brand
  •  maintaining strong financial separation between grant-in-aid funded activity and revenue-generating activity, through a robust accounting firewall
  • providing an independent fair competition complaints procedure.

This policy statement applies to all British Council activities worldwide. We will provide adequate and appropriate resources to implement this policy and will ensure it is communicated and understood.

The British Council will review this global policy statement annually to reflect new legal and regulatory developments and ensure good practice. 

This global policy statement was approved by Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive, in February 2016 and is due for review in February 2017.