Author by : Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Foreign Affairs Committee
Languange : en
Publisher by : The Stationery Office
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Description : The British Council is the UK's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Its purpose is to "build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people worldwide." As well as education, it runs programmes in the arts, science, sport, governance and English language in 110 countries and territories worldwide. 2009 marked the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Council. It receives Grant-in-Aid from the FCO for its public diplomacy activity: £209 million 2008-09, a 6% increase from 2007-08. The Committee concludes that the change in extent of data provided and the presentation of that data in the British Council's 2008-09 annual report makes it more difficult to track and evaluate the Council's performance over a period of years. In future the annual report should include fuller performance data, including corporate performance scores and reach, to facilitate year-on-year analysis. The recent decline in some of the scores achieved in relation to quality of service, particularly in that relating to engagement with decision makers and senior influencers, gives cause for concern. The Committee welcomes the Council's efforts to re-establish itself in Iran and Zimbabwe, its increased focus on China, and its progress in implementing NAO suggested administrative reforms (HC 625, session 2007-08, ISBN 9780102954173). 2009-10 will be a difficult year for the British Council and further cuts in staff and services may be unavoidable. In these circumstances it is important that the Council concentrates its activities on its core business and key objectives.