This statement is designed to satisfy the requirements of Section 54 Part 6 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, by informing our staff, suppliers to the British Council and the public about the British Council and its policies with respect to modern slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and labour rights violations in its supply chains.

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 carried out both centrally and within local markets across the globe. The Global Procurement function is responsible for the corporate procurement policy and strategy.

Current policy and processes

Our corporate procurement policy is based on the UK government public sector procurement legislature and EU Procurement Regulations. It provides standards and obligations when procuring goods and services on behalf of the British Council from external third party suppliers. This includes planning, sourcing, supplier selection and contracting.

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.

Suppliers are appointed following evaluation criteria which include supplier statements on risk, the environment, health and safety and child protection.

Due diligence

We recognise that the nature of our business means that we work in most of the high risk countries as identified by the Global Slavery Index.

We have conducted an initial internal assessment and have identified the high risk categories. These include but are not limited to:

  • hotels/accommodation
  • IT/telecoms
  • events management
  • cleaning
  • catering
  • manned guarding.

We have implemented a modern slavery policy for staff, and are in the process of issuing a code of conduct to large spend suppliers, in high risk categories and countries first, before beginning to issue the code of conduct to the other suppliers.

Supplier adherence to the Act

Our standard supplier contract templates have been updated to include modern slavery and human trafficking warranties and undertakings. We expect our suppliers to respect and comply with all applicable laws, including the Act, and the British Council reserves the right to terminate its commercial partnership with any supplier who is found to be in breach of, or who fails to comply with the Act. This applies to suppliers contracting with the British Council both domestically and internationally.

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

The British Council will report on the following KPIs:

  • number of suppliers contacted regarding their policy towards slavery and human trafficking
  • number of suppliers who responded about their policy towards slavery and human trafficking
  • number of suppliers confirming their organisations are slavery and human trafficking free, and that they have similar or equivalent policies which apply to their supply chain.

As we review and monitor our policies about the Act, we will add to the KPIs where necessary, to ensure that modern slavery and human trafficking is not taking place within our supply chain.

Next steps

The British Council is a dynamic organisation with ever-evolving business requirements in diverse locations, and we recognise that there are always improvements that can be made. We intend to continue to review and monitor and, where necessary, enhance our policies and procedures, as well as improve the training and communications about the Act.

We take our responsibility to prevent modern slavery and trafficking from existing in our supply chain seriously, and we will keep working with our suppliers to ensure that they sign up to and work within our supplier code of conduct.

Prior to the issuance of the next statement, we will undertake a more detailed review of our existing supply chain to further enhance compliance with the Act.