The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.

As a registered charity, the British Council must comply with charity law. This includes ensuring that its assets are safeguarded and properly used to meet its charitable objectives. Our resources must not be abused, misspent, misappropriated or defrauded, and cannot be used for private interests.

We receive grant-in-aid funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). We must safeguard these public funds and ensure that we use them in compliance with the conditions set out in the Financial Memorandum agreed with the FCO. We also receive grants from other government and non-government sources. In all cases we comply with the conditions applied to the funding.

The British Council also earns income from customers paying for its services, including teaching and examinations. We are free to use the surplus from this earned income on any of our activities, including those partially funded by grants. However, we cannot use our grant funding to subsidise our paid-for services.

We publish annual audited accounts for the British Council group and we also publish our Corporate Plan on our website.

The British Council is committed to:

  • operating effective internal controls that safeguard, channel and record resources as intended, and support the achievement of its charitable objectives
  • using its resources efficiently, economically and effectively
  • ensuring propriety* and regularity** in its use of public funding
  • giving timely, transparent and fair accounts of its use of resources.

The British Council 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 2017 and is due for review in February 2018.

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* Propriety: meeting high standards of public conduct, including robust governance and the relevant parliamentary expectations, especially transparency.

** Regularity: compliant with the relevant legislation (including EU legislation), delegated authorities and the guidance in Managing Public Money.