The BBC is committed to subtitling 100% of programmes on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBeebies, The CBBC Channel and BBC News Channel in 2008/2009, and to signing 5% of programmes on those channels. In addition, we will provide subtitles on at least 810 hours of BBC Parliament across the year and on the majority of programmes on BBC HD. We are also committed to audio-describing 10% of programmes on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBeebies and The CBBC Channel in 2008/2009.
Under the Communications Act 2003 we are bound by Ofcom's code relating to provision for deaf and visually impaired people. Access to services by audiences (including those with visual, hearing, cognitive or motor impairments) is also covered by Part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as amended by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005). We have agreed policies and have produced a Production Handbook which lays down expectations for programme makers. We also have Guidelines for Visually Impaired Television Audiences. Our policies on web accessibility are published online at bbc.co.uk/guidelines/newmedia.
The BBC's commitment to audiences extends beyond the policy for individual services. We also make significant commitments which apply across our services.
The BBC aims to reflect the reality of diversity within the UK in its output and through its television, radio and other services to offer something for everyone in the UK.
All newly submitted programme proposals have a diversity statement attached highlighting how, where appropriate, the programme will fulfil the BBC's commitment to reflecting the diversity of the licence fee paying public, both on and off screen. We will continue to assess how effectively this enables us to deliver against our pledge.
The BBC is a founder member of the Broadcasters' Disability Network, and is committed to:
We will continue to ensure that all our services remain universally available and free to air, and that licence fee payers are able to access them through new media as relevant technologies develop. Our digital services are available on Freeview, satellite and cable in the manner and to the extent that each platform allows.
The BBC will continue to invest in training and developing its employees' skill base. We will also devote time, expertise and money as our contribution to industry-wide training and development initiatives, and will continue to run specific schemes designed to attract people to the broadcasting industry.
The BBC, as an open and transparent organisation which is trusted by the public it serves, seeks to engage its audiences in dialogue, to learn from them and to respond honestly to what they have to say.
Our information service is available to audiences 24 hours every day of the year, handling around 1.2 million contacts over the year by telephone, email and letter. These range from general enquiries to specific complaints about programme content. The quality of our responses to audience concerns is closely monitored and is subject to an independent customer satisfaction survey.
We have a complaints handling process which makes it easy for the public to make a formal complaint and obtain a speedy response. There is a two-stage appeal process for anyone unhappy with the initial response they receive. The BBC Trust's Editorial Standards Committee is the third and final stage of the process inside the BBC. (See bbc.co.uk/complaints.)
The BBC organises regular public consultations and carries out extensive audience research to listen to the views of licence fee payers. This includes ad hoc studies into the interests and needs of particular sections of the audience and the use and value of particular services, as well as an ongoing monthly survey which tracks audience perceptions of the organisation and its output. In addition, a network of voluntary independent Audience Councils in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland provides direct feedback on BBC services via the BBC Trust.
The BBC Trust will report on the BBC's performance against the commitments contained in these Statements in the BBC Annual Report and Accounts 2008/2009, scheduled for publication in July 2009.
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