The BBC's policy for use of location and production incentives applies across all its output.
This guide covers location and/or production incentives used in financing independent film and television productions for the BBC.
The policy does not apply to third party financing under a co-production arrangement i.e. where finance is in exchange for broadcasting, publishing or other rights in the content produced by the independent producer.
Distribution/sales arrangements are therefore not subject to review under this policy. However, the independent producer needs to ensure that all sources of third party funding comply with the BBC Editorial Guidelines in the usual way.
The BBC's initial assessment of discretionary schemes is available on this page.
There are three key principles relating to the use of location and production incentives across BBC commissioned output:
These principles are reflected in the BBC Editorial Guidelines and form part of the BBC's constitutional: Other key relationships.
Compliance with this policy is a contractual requirement of the BBC's General Terms for the Production of Television Programmes by Independent Producers (see downloads).
The list of genres which may consider location and production funding are:
Some categories of programming may not access location incentive and/or tax break schemes (regardless of the actual facts of editorial influence). These are:
Schemes offering such incentives fall into two categories:
These discretionary schemes evaluate the projects applying for funding, usually on the basis of support of local talent, local creativity, the economic value to the geographical area they serve and the commercial viability of the project.
It is this decision-making process and the inherent judgement of a project that is entailed which requires the BBC to evaluate whether accessing funds from these bodies would (or could be perceived to) impact editorial integrity.
The independent producer, as the party applying for any incentive funding, is responsible for ensuring that the provision of any such funding to an individual project complies with this policy and the BBC Editorial Guidelines.
The independent Executive Producer is responsible for the compliance of discretionary and non-discretionary schemes with BBC policy.
STEP 1: Assessing the appropriateness of the fund
In every case, the independent Executive Producer is responsible for assessing the appropriateness of accessing any scheme for the individual commission. This is the same question an independent producer must always ask on all programming - i.e. could the access to funds from the scheme (including any editorial aspects required to satisfy the scheme's requirements) be seen to undermine the BBC's editorial impartially and integrity.
STEP 2: Accessing discretionary schemes
If a funding scheme exercises its own judgement to determine which projects it supports, check whether an overall assessment of the scheme has taken place by the BBC.
The BBC's initial assessment of discretionary schemes is available on this page (see downloads).
For your information the criteria the BBC uses for assessment of a scheme are:
If it is non-discretionary, then the scheme may be used provided STEP 1 is applied at all times to each individual production.
STEP 3: Mandatory referrals to the BBC
For certain categories of programmes, there is also a mandatory referral to Controller, Editorial Standards in BBC Vision - and consultation with BBC Editorial Policy before funding may be accepted for a BBC commission. This consultation would be led through the BBC Commissioning Executive Producer.
STEP 4: Keep full and accurate records
In order to ensure that the BBC can exercise its audit rights under the BBC General Terms, the independent producer must ensure that it maintains a complete and accurate record of all sources of finance in a programme. This will also enable the independent producer to demonstrate that it has complied with all relevant BBC guidelines and policies in connection with such funds.
The independent producer will be required to indicate on the Commissioning Specification forming part of its production agreement with the BBC whether the commissioned content is being financed by any alternative sources of finance covered by this policy, and which individual is taking responsibility for compliance with this policy.
For both discretionary and non-discretionary schemes, credits may be given to acknowledge the enabling role of funders.
End credits for the providers of tax breaks and location incentives are often a requirement of funders. They provide transparency and will assist the independent producer to assess the appropriateness of accessing the grant for the production.
Where governments provide tax breaks or location incentives, no impression should be given that there has been any influence on the editorial content of the production.
Credit wording for individual projects will be agreed by a senior representative from the Business Affairs and the relevant BBC Commissioning Executive Producer. All credits should comply with the BBC Credit Guidelines.
The BBC's reputation for impartiality and integrity is crucial and its audiences must be confident that the outside activities of programme makers do not undermine the BBC's impartiality and that editorial decisions are not influenced by any commercial or personal interest. If you have a commercial relationship of any sort with any organisation or third party (under which you, or anyone close to you, receives payment or benefit in kind) you may not under any circumstances use, wear or otherwise promote their goods, services or views in any BBC content and you agree not to make use of or reference to your association with the BBC, or any BBC content in any commercial context.
If you are likely to be involved in editorial decisions about the programme or are engaged to take part in Consumer or Lifestyle programming you must declare prior to signature of this agreement your relevant outside commercial, business, financial or personal interests or activities which are connected to the subject matter of the programme and/or could be perceived as a conflict of interest or which might reasonably be considered to influence or otherwise affect your contributions to the programme/BBC content. You should also declare to the programme's producer any such interests or activities which may provide for a conflict of interest which arise during the course of this Engagement.
We also have the 2005 version of the General Terms for the Production of Television Programmes by Independent Producers (see downloads).
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