BBC policies and guidelines

Under the terms of your Production Agreement all programmes made for BBC Radio must comply with a number of BBC guidelines and policies. Ensure production staff are using the current versions as procedures can change.

Editorial guidelines

Visit the BBC Editorial Guidelines site.

During production it is an Indies responsibility to work in accordance with the BBC Editorial Guidelines.

Independent Producers have access to Editorial Policy teams but in the first instance referrals must be made  through the Commissioning Editor. The BBC Commissioning Editor is the BBC’s editorial safeguard and the final judgement about what is and is not permissible rests with them. It is the indies responsibility to inform the BBC Commissioning Editor of any new risks or issues that could affect the reputation of the BBC.  

If you have any queries please contact your relevant Commissioning Editor, who will be able to refer you to the appropriate Editorial Policy Advisor. Contact the Editorial Policy team on 020 8008 1819.

See the BBC Future Media Standards & Guidelines for the delivery of web material.


Editorial training

Visit the BBC Academy online training course site.

All production personnel working on BBC commissioned content should complete appropriate training modules.

This training must be completed by the start date of production. Staff employed after this date should complete training by the date their role begins.

Modules such as Competitions and Voting and Awards may be required. Contact your BBC Commission Editor if you’re unsure which to complete.

Each module should take approximately 30 minutes or less to do and you’ll be able to click for a confirmatory email at the end of each. You must keep this email to demonstrate you’ve completed the training.

The training modules are likely to be updated once a year and the training certificate is only valid whilst the module you have completed is current.

If your programme involves audience interactivity you will still need to do the competitions module.


Data protection

The BBC must ensure it complies with the Data Protection Act 1998 and any companies it works with also need to comply with this act.

The Data Protection Act 1998 requires every data controller (eg organization) who is processing personal information to register with the Information Commissioners Office, unless they are exempt ‘Personal information’ means any detail about a living individual that can be used on its own, or with other data, to identify them.

Radio Production companies will be required to ensure that anyone in their company who may come into contact with personal information has completed relevant training.

Further information can be found on our Data Protection Guideline


Fair trading

As a publicly funded broadcaster the BBC has a responsibility to ensure that it trades fairly and has regard to the competitive impact of its activities. The BBC Fair Trading Guidelines provide guidance on how the BBC's activities – both public service and commercial – will trade fairly.

Read the BBC Fairtrading guidelines on the Inside the BBC website.



The BBC’s anti-bribery policy and code of conduct sets out its commitment to upholding all laws relevant to countering bribery and corruption and provides information and guidance on how to recognise and deal with these issues.

Anti-Bribery High Level Principles & Guidelines for Independent Producers

Guidance on How to resist requests for facilitation payments

Facilitation payments are usually unofficial payments made for a routine or necessary government action which we are already entitled to. For example, an inspection fee for clearance of imported equipment through customs. They are not commonly requested in the UK but this is a widespread form of bribery.


Child protection

Download the children's privacy guidelines 

Visit the Working with Children section to find more detailed guidance.

Everyone directly interacting with children on behalf of the BBC must comply with the Child Protection Policy, Code of Conduct and Guide to Working with Children at the BBC. Visit the Inside the BBC section on Working with Children to download these documents along with consent forms and licences.   

If you have any questions related to working with children please raise them with your BBC Commissioning Editor in the first instance.


Online guidelines

Read the Future Media Editorial Guidance


The BBC and social media activity around programmes

Social media is a powerful way for audiences to find and recommend BBC content. BBC Marketing (M&A) decides which programmes will have dedicated social media activity but a small selection may have additional content specifically commissioned editorially as part of the programme commission. If an indie wishes to carry out its own social media activity around a programme there must be written agreement from the BBC. This will either be classed as marketing activity, in which case it must comply with the BBC's marketing plan and be approved by the BBC Business Affairs Manager in consultation with M&A or if the activity is deemed as editorial support it must be approved by the BBC's Business Affairs Manager in consultation with BBC Commissioning Editor to ensure it complements the BBC's public service offering.

Read the following editorial guidelines:

On air references to social media

Using pictures from social media and third party websites

Social media and third party websites, use of pictures from: 

Social networking, microblogs and other third party websites: BBC use 

Social networking and other third party websites (including blogs, microblogs and personal web space): personal use 


Branding and credit guidelines

The BBC's credit policy balances our desire to reflect further information can be found on the Publicity webpage.

Download the BBC Music style guide.


Accessibility guidance

Visit the BBC Editorial Policy for full accessibility guidance:

Read the hearing impaired guidelines

Visit the BBC Diversity website’s Disability section. 

Visit the BBC Accessibility Policy Statement


Audience interactivity

Download the audience interactivity policy

This document sets out the process for incorporating interactivity into a programme.

Visit the BBC Editorial Policy Audience Interactivity section for more information about audience interactivity. 

Contact the Interactive Technical Advice and Contracts Unit (ICATU) 


Working with children

The BBC is committed to best practice in child protection. Any independent production company making a programme for BBC Radio involving children must comply with the principles set out in the BBC's Child Protection Policy.

Please read our guide for independent production companies working with children on a BBC project.

You will be asked to provide a nominated person in charge of child protection and you will be asked to work to the standards of the BBC working with children guidelines. Self-disclosure statements (see example in downloads section) will be required from all involved in the programme before production begins, and some may need additional checks.

If you would like to discuss any of this further, please contact BBC Radio's Head of Editorial Standards Paul Smith or the Commissioning Editor on the station you are working with.


Equal opportunity policy

The BBC is an equal opportunity employer and is also conscious of the need to ensure that all staff and suppliers operate safe and secure working environments. We seek to ensure that all our independent suppliers take seriously their responsibilities with regard to Equal Opportunities and Health and Safety.

The BBC requires that all suppliers comply with all current anti-discrimination legislation (race relations, sex discrimination, equal pay, fair employment and disabled persons employment) and all applicable Health & Safety legislation together with the respective codes of practice related to the legislation.



Contracts Unit

Editorial Policy teams

Legal advice team (Via your commissioning Editor)

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