« It's not only British business that is damaged by the British Council | Main | Seeing is believing »


Neil Robertson

A further problem is that British Council managers are corrupt. A British Council DATS commercial manager in Cairo in 2000 (very senior official called Mike Hardy who got one of those OBE's specially reserved for BC time servers via its own Honours nomination unit and who is later entrusted with a third of BC's global budget for 'intercultural dialogue' whatever that is) kicked a team of which I was a part off a £1.9m UK DfID contract in Palestine which was won using my CV and that of a Dr Johnson in New Zealand who was also forced out after only 5 days into his 3 year contract. Hardy and his aggressive attack dog Emma Sky MBE who was then based in Jerusalem - from where she dumped our team in Gaza - deliberately set out to wreck that sensitive Palestinian public reform mission at a critical point in the Middle East peace process for reasons best known to themselves and perhaps also Israel or the oil and gas companies British Council was snuggling up to in Egypt around that same time. Or perhaps the motive was just personal greed - I guess we will never know. It subsequently emerged however from DPA and FOI that following removal of our team these two British Council insiders who had no relevant qualifications appointed themselves to the posts Dr Johnson and I - both of whom are former civil servants and highly trained economists - had won in open international competition following an advertisement in 'The Economist' and 'The Guardian' in January 1999 which had attracted 200 applications. They then request a budget increase to fund an additional post 'at Ministerial level' which sounded to me like a blatant case of so-called 'Black box corruption' by a bilateral donor that the PNA Ministry of Finance had explicitly warned against. Yet a couple of British Council DATS people - both with glaring conflicts of interest - can set all this aside it seems and The Board of Trustees and the British Government does nothing to rectify the damage that this then causes over the next 14 years to the whistleblowers? I want this organisation held to account. What is the FCO Triennial Review team intending to do about all the cases of grievous malpractice brought to their notice? Why is Martin Davidson not being hauled up before Ministers and impeached by all the Commons committees he and other senior British Council officials have lied to over the years about this and other matters? I want action and I don't want this report buried until MPs get back from their holidays after it was slipped out by Cabinet Office on the very last day before a Parliamentary recess after months delay. These people should not be allowed to walk away either with massive public sector payoffs like their counterparts at BBC. They are public sector cheats. And have no right to treat people in such a fashion. I also want an enquiry into the inquorate meeting of the British Council Board of Trustees in December 2009 where a heavily redacted item in their published minutes conceals one of the biggest public scandals in Britain in recent years ....


One of the recommendations of the TR is that the Council - necessarily as a public body - should establish a proper complaints procedure. The acid test of any complaints procedure is whether it works, and since the BC will need to do something about this PDQ, I would make sure you have a file with a preparation of your case ready to get in the queue.

The comments to this entry are closed.