About Us

We are driven by our vision for a connected and trusted UK in a more connected and trusting world, and our ambitious goals can only be achieved by working with others. By working in partnership, our organisations can combine their impact, innovation and influence, and help us both to achieve our goals. The British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries, through education, arts and culture, and the English language.  We create opportunities for our stakeholders and achieve positive impact through our work – supported by our over 5000 staff working across 7 regions and in over 200 countries.

We work with a diversity of international actors across the globe, including corporations, governments and multilaterals, trusts and foundations. Together we fund, facilitate and deliver award-winning programmes, projects and initiatives that are sustainable and impact led. Our ability to work at scale places us in a unique position, and we are passionate about leveraging our footprint and network to drive positive change – in countries and territories, across regions, and globally.

How we work

As a global business, we possess a highly capable delivery infrastructure. We have extensive deep-rooted relationships with governments, institutions, civil society organisations and individuals across the globe, which we have nurtured and sustained over many years.

We work to tackle social, economic and cultural inequalities by providing access to education, skills and the transformative power of arts and culture to change mindsets and lives. We are committed to working in difficult places and in closed societies using our expertise and ability to operate effectively in Fragile and Conflict Affected States (FCAS). We support and influence governments in the following ways:

  • Thought leadership: we convene and catalyse engaging global, regional and country-level policy dialogues
  • A learning organisation: We ask questions, gather insight and commission robust, thoughtful research, ensuring that what we do is underpinned by the latest evidence of what works in multiple contexts and geographies, including complex ones.
  • Delivering solutions for change: Our experienced teams deliver technical assistance to jointly identify and embed solutions both in context and at scale
  • Expert and responsive: We operate a matrix resourcing approach through the British Council’s global workforce planning tool that gives us the ability to call on over 350 dedicated project management personnel and a pool of over 4000 quality assured specialists from the UK and in country, which enables us to rapidly deploy the most appropriate expert staff.

Our track record in international development

We are adept at responding to the diverse needs of clients and beneficiaries, applying our extensive sector and technical knowledge to align with the strategic aims of funders and partners. We have extensive experience of delivering large-scale donor-funded programmes led by expert staff across different operating environments, which enables us to mobilise programmes expediently and quickly.

The British Council also has a global track record of managing large-scale funds, including SPHEIR, multi country, 2016–22); Science and Research (BEIS, £86m, Newton Fund, multi country, 2014–22); Civil Society Strengthening (Ethiopia, 2018–23; FCDO, £24m); and Cultural Heritage Protection (Middle East and North Africa, 2016–22; DCMS, £37m,). We apply a robust six phase grant management framework, to deliver client requirements

Through our global delivery network and in-country presence we offer international partners unrivalled access to local insight, intelligence, expertise and knowledge, as well as our local relationships with networks and delivery partners. Our in-country teams have built long standing relationships with numerous local experts and partner organisations including civil society organisations, think tanks, university departments, small and medium enterprises and education providers.

Our understanding of the opportunities, risks on-the-ground and what works in the local context, combined with our cross-sector relationships enable us to deliver programmes with IMPACT:

Our programmes are built upon six key stages that enable us to deliver with IMPACT.
Identify Clarify and understand the problem, challenge, need, opportunity and enabling mechanisms to bring about the positive change encapsulated in our programme theory of change.
Model An evidence-based programme design, guided by our principles to be audience-centric, solutions-focused, inclusive, innovative, effective and sustainable.
Partner A collaborative and co-designed approach, involving international expertise, enabled by an established and experienced global network, consisting of strategically located offices, contextual knowledge and long-standing relationships.
Activate Quality-assured holistic programme management through implementation, delivery and assessment, incorporating monitoring, reporting and learning and delivery of outcomes.
Collate A complete assessment and evaluation of the programme, identifying its achievements, success factors, value for money, return on investment and the outcomes delivered as specified in our theory of change.
Transfer Our knowledge, understanding, lessons learned and mutual benefits to funders, partners and core stakeholders to support continued and sustainable positive change