The Legal, Business and Commercial Affairs team negotiates your budgets, issues your programme production agreements and provides support relating thereto, on behalf of all the BBC's national radio stations.
The Legal, Business and Commercial Affairs Executives will deal with any queries arising and will be happy to talk to you about any clearance, contractual or legal issues you may have during production.
We are all based on the fourth floor of Brock House - do feel free to drop by if you are in the building.
If you have never been commissioned by BBC radio before and have an idea you would like to submit to the BBC, we have put together the below information to assist you and point you in the right direction.
It is advised to first of all contact the relevant radio station you wish to pitch an idea to as they will be able to tell you if it is something they would be interested in purchasing.
There is a section on the commissioning site with details of how to pitch for radio and information on how to sign up to BBC Radio Independent Production Company database where you will hear about commissioning rounds.
Programme proposals must be submitted via Proteus, the electronic commissioning system for radio. By signing up to the BBC Radio Indie database you will be assigned a Proteus login to the system to allow you to submit ideas during commissioning rounds.
The Starter Pack (see downloads) is a general overview of all the things you need to consider when making a programme for the BBC including Health and Safety, Insurance and BBC Policies and Guidelines.
All independent production companies working on programmes for the BBC need to complete a Health and Safety Questionnaire, available in the downloads section. This will be sent to you along with a covering letter on the instruction of a radio network once you have been commissioned.
Advice on how to complete the questionnaire is included in the Starter Pack (see downloads), and an example of a completed questionnaire can be reviewed (see downloads).
More information about Health & Safety can be found on the compliance & policy page.
While making programmes for the BBC, you will need to comply with the BBC Editorial guidelines. More details can be found on the compliance & policy page.
In accordance with the Data Protection Act (DPA), and as required under the BBC's standard production agreement, production companies are responsible for ensuring they manage and protect personal data properly and in accordance with the legislation.
BBC Radio have produced a user-friendly set of data security guidance to help producers to comply with their obligations under the Data Protection legislation. The guidance should be used by all production teams making content for BBC Radio. The BBC also follows these guidelines.
Where an independent producer is working in the capacity as Data Processor then this guidance constitutes written instructions from the BBC as required under the legislation.
Where the BBC is acting as Data Processor and the production company is the Data Controller, then the BBC will take these guidelines as its written instructions from the production company (unless directed otherwise in writing by the production company).
There are two Production Data Security Guidelines:
Senior production team guidelines - A&M - Dec 2010 [PDF]
Production crew guidelines - A&M - Dec 2010 [PDF]
Useful link: Information Commissioner's Office. [external link]
On the Resources Page you can find out more information on resources which will help you with creating your programmes.
There may be other documents and information you need to supply once your programme has been commissioned (depending on the type of programme and what you are intending to do).
Information on everything you need to deliver for your commissioned programme can be found on the Production & Delivery pages.
A checklist on everything you need to supply to the BBC while you deliver your programme can be found on the programme quick checklist.
If you want more information about the commissioning process, there are some more details below, or just follow the links above to direct you around the commissioning website.
A summary of the terms agreed with the radio independent production sector is set out in the Terms of Trade (see downloads).
The programme production agreement that the BBC would expect to conclude with an independent producer is made up of the General Terms and the Special Terms (see downloads).
For the majority of radio commissions the cashflow is payable in two stages: 50% on signature and return of your production agreement, and 50% on delivery of all programme-related material as specified in the programme production agreement (section 6 of the Commissioning Specification). For larger commissions, the cashflow may be amended to three or four stages to reflect the production schedule; and for long-running series, to monthly payments. This should be raised and discussed at the time of the budget negotiation.
All new suppliers will need to supply the following details to the Finance Assistant as soon as possible after a programme has been commissioned by the relevant Network and your budget has been agreed:
We may require you to set up a trust account for a particular programme or series of programmes. If this is the case, you will be required to complete a Bank Mandate (see the downloads section).
Invoices should be sent to Steria only after the relevant paperwork and deliverables have been submitted. Payment queries should be directed to Steria on (020) 7326 9760.
For guidance, please see our template invoice (see downloads). It is imperative that your VAT invoice include the details specified in this template, including Purchase Order Number and Finance Assistant's details (ie "BBC Contact: Amir-Hussain Shah (020) 7765 0435") in case of a query.
Address for invoices Steria, BBC Accounts Payable, PO Box 479, Manchester M14 0EJ. Telephone: (020) 7326 9760 Email for invoices (which must be sent as "locked" documents such as PDF format): steriaInvoiceEmail@steria.co.uk
As part of our continuing programme to improve our invoice and payments process the BBC has introduced the Supplier Self Service which allows you to:
The benefits to using self supplier service are:
If you would like to take part in this please send your VAT number as well as the email address you will be using to log on to the system (a generic email address that has no attachment to any one individual at your organisation is sensible) to Business Affairs (AMBusinessAffairsSupport@bbc.co.uk) and we can begin the process that will enable you to be part of this.
Or do visit the Supplying the BBC page to get a better idea of what the system is actually like to use to invoice the BBC.
There is some information in the Starter Pack and a separate guide to what you need to do for writers, actors and music (see downloads).
Also see the downloads section to view the BBC agreements with Equity, the Musicians' Union, the Writers' Guild and the ISM.
We have drafted templates for you to use (if you wish) for the clearance of published works which are based on the BBC's agreements with the Publishers' Association. There is one for extracts (PA5e, downloads section) and one for complete works (PA5c, downloads section). If you choose to use these templates we ask that you do not agree any alterations to the terms without consulting Business Affairs. Any amendments which you agree could affect the BBC's negotiating position when clearing published works for inhouse productions.
All the above agreements contain details of the standard rates for commissioning the relevant contribution, we will update these agreements when these rates change.
As of July 2006, budgets for readings, dramas and sitcoms reflect the New Public Services Fee in the writers' contract(s). We would expect you to pre-clear the rights covered by the New Public Services Fee as defined in the relevant agreements. To clarify, this includes internet streaming, audio on-demand rights and pre-cleared repeats of the writers' contributions on the BBC's digital networks for a period of five years from first analogue broadcast.
The Underlying Rights Guide contains some suggested wording for you to include in your performers' contracts to make sure that they are covered by the BBC's blanket licence with Equity for repeats on BBC7.
See the downloads section for a sample release form, guidance on its use and guidance about making a consent form binding.
Please let us know at the time of making the programme proposal, via the Rights section on Proteus, if there are any variations to General Term 6 that we will need to discuss.
When completing the Rights section, please use wording similar to that usually used in clause 3.2 of the Special Terms of your contract; samples of clause 3.2 are available in the downloads section.
We commission or outsource work from suppliers throughout the editorial and technical delivery process for Interactive. This means that our suppliers might be working on a very diverse range of activities, from producing content through to software or user experience design. We are currently running a pilot relating to outsourcing work – which is where we openly publish opportunities for suppliers on our site.
More details can be found on the Radio Interactive What We Want page.
If you want to commercially exploit your programme in accordance with the Terms of Trade (see the downloads section in the top right of the page), you will need to notify the Legal, Business and Commercial Affairs team, and in some circumstances get BBC's approval (see General Term 16).
You will need to follow the:
BBC Radio has complaints procedure for independent producers. It explains how you should deal with complaints from the public and how to direct your complaints to the BBC.
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