The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. 

In our work we meet many children and adults who are potentially at risk for a variety of reasons. We aim to create a safe environment in which no child or adult will experience harm or exploitation during their contact with us.

We will, where reasonably practicable, both follow relevant UK and International laws and standards, as well as ensuring local legal compliance. 

The British Council is committed to: 

  • valuing, respecting, and listening to children and adults, maintaining confidentiality, and acting proportionately 
  • maintaining strong protection systems, procedures and minimising and managing situations where abuse could occur through planning, risk assessment and safeguarding systems 
  • sharing safeguarding best practice and information regarding safeguarding concerns with relevant parties and involving children and adults where appropriate 
  • actively investigating suspected abuse We require all staff to ensure their behaviour is consistent with this policy.

We also require that clients, customers, partners and suppliers are made aware of this policy and operate within it. 

We will provide adequate and appropriate resources to implement this policy and will ensure it is communicated throughout the organisation and understood by all staff.

The British Council will review this global policy statement annually to reflect new legal and regulatory developments and to ensure good practice.

This global policy statement was approved by Kate Ewart-Biggs OBE, Interim Chief Executive, in March 2021 and is due for review in March 2022.


A child is defined in the British Council as anyone who has not reached their 18th birthday (UNCRC 1989) irrespective of the age of majority in the country where the child is, or in their home country.

 Adults at risk are defined as any person aged 18 years or over:

  • who identifies themselves as unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves against significant harm, exploitation or neglect; and/or
  • is understood to be at risk, which may be due to frailty, homelessness, mental or physical health problems, learning or physical impairments, and/or is impacted by disasters or conflicts.