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How the British Council implemented a centralised compliance system in over 100 countries.

The British Council is known for its facilitation of English exams for migration and university entrance. Last year, more than two million people worldwide took exams overseen by the British Council. Students undertake exams through the British Council because they know employers, universities and migration departments trust the results.

For such an organisation, reputation is everything. Exam auditing, compliance and incident response systems have to be impeccable, and the results reportable. Yet with operations in over 100 countries, seeing the true effectiveness of audit and control activities was complicated.

The British Council engaged Protecht to implement a customisable ERM system for exam compliance and auditing. Implementing Protecht ERM has helped them simplify and standardise their exam management processes for users worldwide.

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The challenge

The British Council exams program lacked up-to date solutions for managing exams audit, incident management, and associated processes.

Each regional management team facilitates exams in their area, with global functions overseeing audit delivery. This meant information relating to incidents and audits was held in several systems. The incident management process was segmented, making it difficult to track whether incidents had been resolved.

Protecht has provided greater visibility, improved transparency, and more efficient workflow management of our exams audits and incident management processes.
Our country operational teams can report incidents and implement actions in a more timely and standardised manner, our regional teams have fuller oversight of activities, and senior management can take better informed data-driven decisions.
- Richard Ings, Head of Business Assurance, Security & Risk, Exams



The British Council wanted a single system to hold all information relating to exam incidents and audit information. The system had to be easily searchable, enable effective and user-friendly reporting and link to information sources within the organisation. It also had to be customisable to digitise existing compliance and audit processes and records.

Following a detailed review, the British Council was confident that Protecht’s off-the-shelf ERM software could be effectively configured to suit its unique processes.

How Protecht helped

Implementation of the Protecht ERM system took less than 12 months from end to end. The project was completed on time and within budget. It involved:

  • Providing enhanced automation of end-to-end audit, incident management and integrated action management processes.
  • Setting up customised business intelligence reports to enable global benchmarking.
  • Standardising terms and understanding of processes across all areas.

Protecht provided support for three months after the system went live to ensure it was successfully embedded across the organisation.

The solution we implemented for the British Council is highly configurable to meet the unique business requirements of different business units in the organisation so it can grow and evolve as new parts of the organisation come on-board.
- Gary Lynam, Head of EMEA Advisory, Protecht



Protecht.ERM Incident Dashboard

The results

The British Council has identified several benefits of Protecht’s integrated governance, risk management and compliance solution:

  • The digital transformation simplified the exam management process and standardised it in the 100+ countries where the British Council operates.
  • Incidents of concern are highlighted in a more timely and consistent way, supporting a more proactive approach to resolution and subsequent management actions.
  • Staff can now perform audits and report operational incidents via mobile devices, greatly improving efficiency. They no longer have to replicate or re-enter data into multiple systems.
  • The enhanced reporting capability of Protecht’s ‘self-service’ model simplifies the preparation and delivery of management reports.
  • Real-time dashboards provide insights on the performance of individual centres and trends across regions, enabling management to respond quickly and appropriately to problems, downturns and opportunities as they arise.

Protecht ERM’s successful integration with the British Council systems has also enabled the collation of data sources to create ‘one version of the truth’ which is accessible to all users.

About the British Council


Founded in 1934 to promote the English language and educational co-operation, the British Council is unique: both a charity and cultural institution with an annual turnover of more than £1 billion (A$1.9 billion), much of it derived from overseeing English language and other examinations around the world.