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Commercial Committee - Independent Member
Country / Territory
Based in UK: Location negotiable
Based in UK: Location negotiable
Board of Trustees
Job Category
Pay Band
Vacancy Description
Location: UK Duration: 3 Year Term (with possible 3 year extension) Pay band: Unremunerated but reasonable travel and expenses reimbursed Requirements: Candidates must have the right to work in the UK Closing date: 3rd June 2018
About us

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.


We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body.

In January 2018, the Board of Trustees established the Commercial Committee to support the leadership of the British Council’s commercial activities and assure their effective and transparent management in line with corporate objectives. The Commercial Committee is chaired by a trustee. The other members will be up to four trustees and up to two independent members. Members of the Executive Board also attend the meetings.


The scope of the Committee’s work will be the British Council’s English and Examinations commercial businesses worldwide as well as an initiative to develop a network of British Council schools.


Its role is to provide scrutiny of the British Council’s commercial activities, review plans and monitor performance, and report and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees to address issues arising. 

The opportunity

Independent members of the Commercial Committee will contribute by:

  • preparing for and participating fully in Commercial Committee meetings (four formal meetings per year)
  • participating in additional ad hoc meetings as required and it should be emphasised that some of the committee’s activity takes place outside of the formal meetings. Total time commitment is therefore 8 -10 days per annum
  • reviewing and commenting on occasional documentation provided between committee meetings

The Independent Member of the Commercial Committee will be expected to subscribe and adhere to the seven principles of public life (the “Nolan Principles”) – see here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life.

Appointments to the Commercial Committee are for a three year term which is renewable for a second term by mutual agreement.  The annual time commitment is 8-10 days.  It is essential that the independent members of the Commercial Committee devote the necessary time and effort to the role. Members are unremunerated but reasonable UK travel and other expenses incurred while undertaking Board business will be reimbursed in line with the trustee travel policy.  

Terms and Conditions
The committees’ terms of reference are on the British Council’s website.  It is important to review the document for the Commercial Committee.

What we require of the successful candidate
Senior level, preferably board level, market/client facing commercial experience in a ‘blue chip’ business of £700m or more turnover is sought. More specifically experience of complex, international and rapidly changing businesses; selling to individual consumers both directly and through business partners is relevant. Interested individuals must have held strategic and executive decision making power. Sophisticated product and service offerings with high degrees of consumer commitment preferred

Experience of the commercial education sector; language learning and assessment, ed-tech and international schools is very relevant but candidates should be aware that conflict of 
interest considerations will be part of the decision making process.

Knowledge of businesses being transformed by digital technology and of innovative partnership models is of great value as is experience of transformational activities to create greater business value and more leverage from investment. 
If you would like to understand more about this post then please see the document below:

Role Profile - Commercial Committee Member.docx

Further details
To apply, please send your cv and covering statement to Donald.Macdonald@britishcouncil.org 

Deadline for applications is 3rd June 2018.