Further supplementary written evidence
submitted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
D. FCO Summary
New British CouncilBritish
Embassy office in Podgorica.
Joint public diplomacy "British
Days" emulated by EU colleagues.
Ground-breaking multimedia project
"Narratives of the Unseen" reported in leading UK design
British Council receives Education
Award from Serbian Ministry of Education for its contribution
to the education reform agenda.
Joint National Theatre, Belgrade
and Royal National Theatre, London project recognised as one of
10 outstanding projects from a field of over two thousand theatre
projects in Europe.
Successful launch of regional project:
UK-SE Europe Forum.
Positive feedback on British Council
activity from our target audiences: Long Term Evaluation (+1.4),
Spotlight Review and ECO questionnaire (Overall rating 7).
Target audience numbers engaged with
the British Council continue to increase.
It has been another highly successful year building
on the achievements made in 2002-03. The British Council continues
to work closely with the Embassy. In November 2003, the new Ambassador,
David Gowan was able to open our new joint office in Podgorica
clearly demonstrating UK commitment to Montenegro. We have successfully
re-positioned our activities there so that we are now in a position
to fully support the reform agenda in Montenegro and are concentrating
our activities in Education particularly English Language teaching,
Culture and the development of a civil society through youth and
high school associations. The re-positioning of our activities
and the new joint office have been well received by all stakeholders.
The new office also reflects contemporary UK being located in
a new business district of the city.
The Embassy and the British Council continue
to work together on British Days. This year these were held in
four regional centres. These are opportunities to showcase our
products and services, make new contacts and engage with those
that we are already in partnership. They receive widespread media
coverage both locally and nationally. The concept has been taken
up by our EU colleagues, who with our advice and participation
began a series of EU days throughout Serbia and Montenegro to
promote the benefits of SaM's accession to the EU.
The Belgrade office has technically one of the
most advanced offices in Europe. It is using its Knowledge and
Learning Centre (multimedia approach) to support and enhance its
project work with great success. In May 2003 we launched Narratives
of the Unseen between students in Glasgow and Belgrade. It involved
students working together using internet-based technologies as
well as videoconferencing. An article on the project was written
in "Blueprint" magazine in the UK as well as receiving
good media coverage in SaM. We have continued to develop this
approach through the development of a science portal to reflect
our first regional science workshop on bio-diversity, working
with our strategic partner the World Bank and its GDLN network
to deliver courses on a wide range of subjects from SME development
to a Young Leader series as well as initiating our own regional
projects: Teachers of English Associations in the region working
together on professional issues, inclusivity of ethnic minorities,
and initiating sector team discussions across the region "Getting
to Know You" and a series on EU accession with Charles GrantBoard
member and Director of a leading think tank on Europe.
In November 2003 the Serbian Minister of Education
and Sport presented us with an award for our overall contribution
to the education reform agenda. We have had significant impact
in the following areas: introduction of English Language teaching
from Grade One (seven years old), development of curriculum, development
of quality assurance systems within primary and secondary education
leading to a cadre of new education inspectors. We estimate that
over one thousand schoolteachers have experienced our training
and expertise during the year. We also supported our work through
regional conferences on education standards with the Council of
Europe and Goethe Institute. We initiated a new regional ELT conference,
which was opened jointly by the Minister of Education and HMA.
A highlight of the year was the visit by 10 UK primary Head Teachers
to Belgrade. A reciprocal visit is planned in November this year.
Finally the Serbian Ministry of Education is a strategic partner
in the Education Gateway project launched by Secretary of State,
Charles Clarke and 27 schools are now registered to participate
in the link-up with schools in the UK.
We are expanding our joint project between the
National Theatre and the Royal National Theatre for the development
of theatre directors and new writers to include Serbs working
outside Belgrade. In October last year this project was voted
as one of the 10 most significant projects by the International
& European Theatre Network for EastWest cultural exchanges
and voted 3rd best project by the Council's Visual Arts, Film
and Literature department from a field of over two thousand projects.
In March 2004, we launched the UK-SE Europe
Forum when we brought together young political leaders from all
of SE Europe to meet and work with their counterparts from the
UK. The initial conference went well and we are expecting these
groups to be working together on a variety of projects over the
coming two years. In 2004, we will also launch the culture and
youth strands to this important project realising through mutuality
a strong and concrete engagement between the region and the UK.
During the year we conducted several evaluations
of our operation. The spotlight review focussed on re-churning
of resources and the investment in a Knowledge and Learning Centre.
The review was positive. Equally we conducted an in-depth long-term
evaluation of our impact through interviews of our leading clients.
Our score was +1.4 (on a scale from -2.0 to +2.0) indicating strong
impact with our key clients. We were also pleased with the strong
support from the Embassy in the FCO questionnaire, with an overall
rating of seven, the highest possible rating.
Through our public diplomacy programme and extending
our project work, we have been able to engage with and influence
far greater numbers of people than in the previous years. The
number of visitors to our offices has increased from 50,000 to
65,000. The number of people using our e-centre has increased
to 1,400 per month. Our electronic newsletter is now distributed
to 1,000 people per month. We have exceeded our target for candidates
for UK qualifications by 21% and in the reporting year had 2,870
candidates. We have also doubled the number of people visiting
our web site to 3.200 per month and have increased our offer through
the use of the "Athens" password system, information
literacy and study skills toolkit plus Global Enquiries and KnowledgeUK
We are also currently working with over 200
journalists in SaM and had over 700 press mentions during the
reporting year emphasising the importance of the media in getting
our messages and appreciation of UK involvement in SaM across
to as wide a number of people as possible.
We will build on this platform over the coming
Foreign and Commonwealth Office