British Council’s New Strategy Coming – Climate Change is OutJuly 16, 2011
Over the past few years The British Council has listed work on climate change as one of its strategic priorities. The Guardian reported yesterday that the BC is reducing its work in this area and carried a letter from assorted writers condenming the move. Today there was response from the Martin Davidson the Chief Executive of the BC asserting that the BC would contine to work in the area but emphasizing the focus of the organization on the arts, English language work and ‘education and society’.
The BC’s existing strategic plan covered the period to 2011 so a new plan was due this year anyway, the cuts in government expenditure will be reflected in the new plan. The new plan hasn’t been published yet and presumably what is happening is that somebody unhappy with the reduction in climate change activity is mobilizing criticism. The thing that caught my eye in The Guardian report is that Jeremy Browne the Foreign Office minister with responsbility for Public Diplomacy had written to the BC to complain – so it looks like their decision doesn’t reflect a change in FCO priorities – but it does raise the question about the relationship between the FCO and the BC. Davidson’s letter points out that the government grant is only 25% of BC income so there may be an assertion of independence going on.