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British Council: Finance

Volume 492: debated on Thursday 14 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to page 131 of the 2009 Budget Red Book, what changes will be made to the (a) activities, (b) staffing and (c) priorities of the British Council to achieve the proposed £18 million of savings. (271451)

The British Council committed to £18.2 million of efficiency savings between 2007-08 and 2010-11 as part of its comprehensive spending review settlement. As agreed with the British Council, these savings will be realised by:

A 30 per cent. grant reduction in its European operations and reductions in its physical overseas network to reflect the move to web-based service provision;

Further rollout and exploitation of the global System Analysis and Programme Development finance and business system. This is widely used by companies to track their finances and organise their business systems including concentrating support services into regional or global support centres;

An extensive review and re-structuring of support services (human resources, information technology, finance and facilities management) organisation-wide. This will involve post reductions, process improvement and use of global centres/outsourcing; and

A reduction in capital works on its estates.

The British Council is on track to meet these efficiency savings.