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Compliance for Programme Websites

Download the Online Shortform Compliance form.
Download Guidance for shortform labels.

A compliance form must be completed for all online short form videos (and audio clips) to confirm they comply with the BBC Editorial Guidelines and to ensure that guidance labels are applied where necessary.

Please use the Online Shortform Compliance form.

The completed form and a copy of any paperwork related to the content you publish online must be submitted to with the sign off from the independent production company Executive Producer.The form will then be sent to the BBC Executive Producer for final sign off before it is published. See the Compliance Responsibility section below for more information.

The Vision Online Compliance Form is a simplified version of the full television programme compliance form. See the Compliance for TV Programmes for more information. 

Multiple clips: a single form can be used for multiple clips when there are no compliance issues that need noting and they relate to the same programme or product.


A new compliance form does not have to be submitted if a clip is being republished due to technical issue or with minor changes, eg spelling mistakes. If there is a significant editorial change to the content, a new form must be submitted.

Compliance Responsibility

The BBC Executive Producer is responsible for the content being compliant. The Executive Producer can designate a member of the production team with appropriate editorial expertise to view the content on their behalf.

The compliance form should be signed either by the Executive Producer or, if applicable, by the member of the production team designated to comply the clip by the Executive Producer. It is essential that either the Executive Producer or the team member with designated compliance responsibilities  has viewed  the video (or listened to the audio) and, if it is derived  from a programme, is familiar with the programme's content.

If for technical or procedural reasons, such as in the case of a live programme, it is not going to be possible to submit a compliance form before publication of a clip an alternative sign off process should be agreed in advance by the BBC Executive Producer.

Delegated compliance

If the BBC Executive Producer considers the online content carries a low level of risk they may delegate the viewing of the content and the sign-off of the compliance form to a designated member of staff. The Executive Producer must record the fact that compliance has been delegated via an email to the designated member of staff. However, overall responsibility for compliance still rests with the Executive Producer.

Likewise, the Indie Executive Producer can delegate sign off in the same way as the BBC Executive Producer.

Delegated compliance is not always advisable.  Executive Producers should assess the level of risk involved in online content which may include issues such as but not restricted to the following:

  • Is the programme on the managed risk list?
  • Does it contain controversial or extremely sensitive material?
  • Is there a risk that material taken out of context could lead to legal or Editorial Policy issues?
  • Does a careful assessment need to be made regarding young or vulnerable contributors?
  • Will the embedding of the clip cause problems for the programme or for contributors?
  • Does the clip meet user expectations?
  • Is the clip representative  of the TV programme?

The BBC requires consistency in compliance across all BBC platforms. Compliance Managers can provide guidance on short form content. If the video carries content that requires a mandatory referral, the Executive Producer or designated individual must contact the relevant Controller  and obtain authorisation.

Some clips may require a Guidance label. Download the Online shortform, suitable content and guidance advice document for more information.

Clip Guidance

Context is key to the acceptability of shortform content. A short clip taken out of context may produce an impact or generate consequences that would not arise within a full programme.

All programmes and especially Factual programmes have to take care that clips accurately reflect their editorial content and are fair to contributors. If a BBC lawyer has been consulted concerning the programme this should be noted on the compliance form.

Young and vulnerable contributors should be treated with special care when selecting clips. Remember that clips are now embedded online and can attract negative comments from online users which can be harmful and distressing for some contributors.  It can be difficult for young and vulnerable contributors to make an assessment of the possible long-term impact of their contribution. For example, some contributors may object to a clip which refers back to a difficult time in their lives which they subsequently feel they have outgrown.  A short clip is a more accessible reminder than a television programme which may only be repeated within a specific time frame.

Online content is available worldwide therefore care should be taken when using clips from contributors who may require anonymity for themselves of their families outside the UK.

Guidance for the Online Compliance Form

Offensive Language

Care should be taken with musical lyrics used in soundtrack or performance, as well as spoken language and gestures.

Strong language means “motherfucker”, “cunt”, “fuck” and its derivatives.  Any proposal to use strong language is a mandatory referral to the relevant channel controller, Care should also be exercised over  any offensive  language,  especially terms relating to ethnicity, faith or sexually pejorative  terms. The Channel Compliance Manager can advise on labelling of content. Read more about guidance labels.

Sex /Nudity

Please record on the compliance form any kind of sexual activity within a clip or any nudity, whether in a sexual or non-sexual  context.

Imitative Behaviour

This section deals with the possibility of audiences, especially children, imitating anti-social, life-threatening or criminal behaviour.

Short form content can be distributed across a wide variety of sites over a long period,  so consider carefully  whether a clip which features  this type of behaviour is suitable for use.

Disturbing/Violent  Content

Any scene containing violence must be noted. This is relevant to all programmes genres. Spoof violence may be offensive or disturbing. Violence involving animals as well as people needs to be noted.

Disturbing scenes which may be upsetting for an audience, or which have the potential  to cause a significant impact at a particular time or in a different  context (eg after a train crash or natural disaster) need  to be considered  carefully  and noted.  


Other Online Content

Other content, such as text and images, does not have be individually complied, but the Executive Prodcuer must ensure that he/she has put in place satisfactory procedures to ensure that content is compliant with BBC Editorial Guidelines.

This includes a process for escalation of issues or queries. They should also decide, based on what content is planned, whether it is necessary to re-check ongoing updates.

Sign off of this content can be done via email confirmation.

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