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

In our work we come into contact with many adults who are potentially at risk for a variety of reasons. We aim to ensure that we exercise our duty of care to safeguard such adults.

Adults at risk are people aged 18 years or over who:

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

Any adult anywhere can become at risk as a result of abuse of many different types or may be at risk as a result of a temporary or permanent situation.  In the context of the British Council, adults at risk may include customers who pay for our services, participants in our programmes, end-users or beneficiaries of projects that we manage, and users of our online or social media products.

The British Council is committed to:

  • ensuring that those affected feel involved and informed
  • minimising and managing situations where abuse could occur through planning, risk assessment and other measures 
  • supporting victims so they can take action
  • investigating suspected cases of abuse, respecting confidentiality and acting proportionately.

We require all staff to ensure their behaviour is consistent with this policy. 

We will provide adequate and appropriate resources to implement this policy and will ensure it is communicated and understood.

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

This global policy statement was approved by Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive, in March 2019 and is due for review in March 2020.