The BBC has broadcast appeals for individual charities since 1923. Appeals are an important part of our remit as a public service broadcaster, and relate to the BBC's broader involvement in social action broadcasting, coverage of the work of the voluntary sector and policies on corporate social responsibility.
BBC broadcast appeals should reflect the diverse range of work being done by the charitable sector, and have three main purposes:
1.1 To provide information to our audiences about a wide range of charities which need their support. In doing so, the BBC recognises its responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure that the individual charities are financially sound and that donations will be used appropriately.
1.2 To encourage members of the public to give to charitable causes.
1.3 To give charities the opportunity to raise money and raise public awareness about their work.
The BBC Editorial Guidelines set out the scope of charity broadcast appeals on BBC networks, as described below. The Guidelines also state that, apart from these provisions, programmes should not endorse particular charities or make any appeal for funds.
In summary, the scope of charity appeals is:
2.1 Regular network broadcast appeals for individual charities that work across the UK. These are the weekly BBC Radio 4 Appeal and the monthly Lifeline appeals on BBC One. They are also appropriately supported by the BBC website, bbc.co.uk.
2.2 Specific fund-raising projects such as BBC Children in Need, Red Nose Day with Comic Relief and the annual Blue Peter appeal.
2.3 Special appeals when a serious emergency occurs. These include appeals on behalf of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which is composed of UK charities involved in overseas relief work, when a serious emergency occurs abroad.
2.4 Appeals for charities working in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions. These appeals are carried separately on BBC Scotland, BBC Wales, BBC Northern Ireland and BBC local radio in the English regions. Currently, BBC Scotland does not carry separate appeals.
Oversight of BBC charity appeals is the responsibility of the BBC's Executive Board. The Board is advised by the BBC's independent Charity Appeals Advisory Committee (AAC), which is made up of specialist external advisers who represent a broad range of interests across the charitable sector. In exercising this oversight, the Executive Board and the AAC recognise that:
3.1 In relation to regular broadcast appeals (section 2.1), the responsibility for allocating these appeals rests with the Executive Board, which delegates this area of its work to the AAC. Application forms for the regular appeals are available from the BBC Charity Appeals Office. The AAC meets four times a year to assess applications against agreed criteria, and its recommendations are reported to the Executive Board. Successful applications are scheduled for an appeal within approximately a year.
3.2 In relation to specific fund-raising projects (section 2.2), these are subject to scrutiny by the AAC and the Executive Board. BBC Children in Need, the BBC Wildlife Fund, the BBC Performing Arts Fund, Comic Relief and Blue Peter provide regular reports to the AAC on their fund-raising policy and activities. In addition, proposals for major additional fund-raising projects are scrutinised by the AAC. The AAC's discussions are reported to the Executive Board, with further discussion or decision-making by the Board as required.
3.3 In relation to special appeals when a serious emergency occurs (section 2.3), requests for such appeals must be made through the BBC Charity Appeals Advisor and are approved by the Director-General of the BBC or his nominated deputy on behalf of the Executive Board.
3.4 Oversight of appeals in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English Regions is maintained by Appeals Advisory Committees in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The function of these bodies is to advise on the broadcasting of charity appeals and related issues in those nations, as well as the distribution of grants from the BBC Children in Need appeal. The Chairs of those committees or their nominated deputies are also members of the BBC Charity Appeals Advisory Committee.
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