Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum of Understanding between the British Council and the BBC World Service for Collaborative Activities between 2000 and 2002

  3.  The Memorandum of Understanding between The British Council and the BBC World Service was jointly signed by the then Chief Executive of the World Service, Mark Byford, and the Director General of the British Council, David Green, on 17 December 1999.

  David Green and Mark Byford meet regularly to review collaboration between the two organisations and the operation of the Memorandum of Understanding. The wording of the original agreement is as follows:


  1.  This memorandum is made between the British Council, on the one hand, and the BBC World Service (BBCWS) on the other hand, concerning collaboration and co-operation between the British Council and the BBC. All BBC activities covered by this memorandum will be co-ordinated by BBC World Service. The objective of this memorandum is to provide a framework within which collaborative activities and projects will be undertaken and specific programme areas elaborated between the British Council and the BBCWS. This memorandum does not constitute a legal agreement by either the BBCWS or the British Council to provide support for any individual project or activity. It is not intended that this memorandum will have any legally binding effect.


  2.  The purpose of the collaboration is to:

    —  share agendas in areas of common interest;

    —  pool resources and expertise where appropriate;

    —  maximise impact through working in partnership;

    —  utilise our existing global networks to mutual advantage and benefit;

    —  improve the integration of related activities;

    —  share knowledge and ideas in order to develop new products and services;

    —  capitalise on the status, experience and credibility of both organisations.


  3.  The following are the priority areas that the British Council and the BBCWS are interested in supporting in collaboration:

    —  Education.

    —  English language teaching.

    —  Contemporary literature and cross-cultural studies.

    —  Training for the development of civil society.

    —  Opinion and impact surveys and polls.

    —  Regional co-operation.

    —  A shared web-site.

    —  Co-location of facilities.

    —  Staff development.

  Additional areas of collaboration may be identified during the lifetime of this memorandum. The overseas offices of the BBCWS and the British Council will be informed of and involved in specific country activities where appropriate.


  4.  This memorandum will continue for three years from the date of signature. Attached to this memorandum is an Annex which is the framework under which Annual Work Programmes will be agreed by both organisations at the beginning of each year. These Work Programmes will include the respective inputs from each organisation and the agreed outputs. There will be regular joint progress reviews initiated by the individuals named in paragraph 9.

  5.  This memorandum can be terminated by either party; in this event the terminating party will endeavor to give not less than six months notice to the other.


  6.  The individuals responsible for implementation under paragraph 9 below, will produce annual reports on progress against objectives with related recommendations. Subject to the respective policies of the BBCWS and the British Council on the disclosure of information, these reports will be exchanged, and shared with the senior management of the BBCWS and the British Council. The chief executives of both organisations will hold an annual review meeting to monitor progress in the relationship.


  7.  Other parties may join this collaboration and be signatories to a revised form of this memorandum provided that the original signatories consent.


  8.  This memorandum does not constitute a commitment by either the BBCWS or the British Council to provide support for any individual activity or project not in the agreed annual work programmes. The BBCWS and the British Council will each retain full discretion as to whether to provide support for individual activities and projects, in accordance with their own policies and procedures. Funding arrangements will continue to be discrete and will demonstrate complete transparency between grants in aid and other sources of funding in different parts of each organisation. Any sharing of information between the British Council and the BBCWS will be subject to their respective policies on the disclosure of information.


  9.  The individuals with overall responsibility for implementation of this memorandum are:

For the BBC: Andrew Thompson

Commissioning Editor, BBC World Service

Room 219 SE, Bush House, Strand,

London WC2B 4PH

telephone: 020 7557 2464

fax: 020 7240 3141


For the British Council: Tony O'Brien

Director ELT, The British Council

10 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2BN

telephone: 020 7389 4165

fax: 020 7389 4464



  10.  This Memorandum of Understanding will come into effect on signature by both parties on the date set out below.

(Signed by both parties on 17 December 1999.)

BBC World Service

May 2002

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 14 November 2002