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Complaints About Commissioning

This procedure is for independent production companies. It should be used where a company believes it has concerns relating to the BBC's commissioning process that have not been fully addressed by the commissioning genre.

There are three stages in the complaints procedure.

Stage One: Refer to Independents Executive

Complaints should be submitted in writing to the Independents Executive (contact details below) within four weeks following the conclusions reached by the commissioning genre.

In order for a complaint to be accepted it must:

  • Relate to a network idea
  • Have been submitted through the applicable and established BBC processes
  • Relate to an issue where BBC Commissioning has fallen short of its published commitments on fair and meritocratic processes that go beyond an explanation of why an idea was not commissioned

If the complaint does not meet these criteria the complainant will be informed in writing of the reasons why and, where relevant, referred to an alternative complaints route, eg Editorial or Fair Trading.

Complaints should clearly articulate:

  • The specific facts and events which give rise to the complaint
  • Which of the BBC's published procedures or processes are believed to have been breached as a result of the BBC's actions (or inactions) and how
  • The specific outcome(s) being sought

The Independents Executive will take an impartial view of the case with reference to the BBC's published commitments on commissioning, discuss it with both the company concerned and the relevant BBC Commissioning or Business Affairs representative, and seek a resolution.

The Independents Executive will undertake an impartial investigation of the issues raised in the context of the BBC's published commitments on commissioning. The issues forming the basis of the complaint investigation will be agreed with the complainant in writing. The Independents Executive will discuss the issues with all relevant BBC Commissioning and/or Business Affairs representatives before coming to a conclusion.

This stage of the process should typically be completed within six weeks*.

Stage One complaints should be addressed to:

Angela Chan
BBC Independents Executive
Zone C, 6th Floor BBC New Broadcasting House
Portland Place
London, W1A 1AA

Email: Angela Chan

Stage Two: Appeal to BBC Television Complaints Panel

Should the complainant believe they have has not received a full or fair outcome from the Independents Executive they may appeal to the Television Complaints Panel (or the Sports Complaints Panel if relevant).

The appeal should identify:

  • Which aspects of the Stage One findings remain in issue for the complainant, and why
  • The specific outcome(s) being sought

The panel is supported by the Complaints Panel Manager (contact details below), and comprises:

For Television ComplaintsFor Sport Complaints
Director of BBC TelevisionDirector BBC North
Director of Television OperationsDirector of Television Operations
Channel Controller (not connected to area of complaint)Head of Editorial Development, Multimedia and Journalism

Appeals to the Panel should be submitted in writing to the Complaints Panel Manager within two weeks of receipt of the response from the Independents Executive. The Complaints Panel Manager will consider if there are issues that have not been fully or fairly addressed at Stage One, or fundamental process issues such that an appeal to the Complaints Panel is warranted. If this is the case, the Complaints Panel Manager will prepare a report for consideration by the Complaints Panel seeking additional information if necessary.

The Complaints Panel will:

  • Review the report compiled by the Complaints Panel Manager and relevant documentation
  • At its discretion:
    • hear evidence in person from the complainant, or 
    • request more information
  • Uphold or reject the appeal
  • Write a response, through the Complaints Panel Manager
  • Ensure that lessons learned are fed into BBC editorial and managerial process

This stage of the process should typically be completed within six weeks*.

Appeals to the Complaints Panel should be addressed to:

Jo Korn
Complaints Panel Manager
MC4 D6, BBC Media Centre
201 Wood Lane
London, W12 7TQ

Phone: (020) 3614 2641
Email: Jo Korn

Stage Three: Commissioning Compliance


Should the complainant believe that the response from the Complaints Panel does not adequately address any issue(s) of fairness relating to BBC's commissioning system then they may appeal such issues to the BBC Compliance Officer. The Compliance Officer is independent of Television and Sport Management and is charged by the BBC Executive with investigating complaints on an impartial basis. The Complaints Panel Manager will notify the Compliance Officer of any such appeal.

A request to appeal to the Compliance Officer should be made to the Complaints Panel Manager within two weeks of receipt of the decision of the relevant Panel.

Requests for an appeal to the BBC Compliance Officer should identify:

  • The basis on which the Stage Two findings fail to adequately address an issue(s) of fairness relating to BBC's commissioning system
  • The specific outcome(s) being sought

Should the BBC Compliance Officer believe the complaint merits further investigation they will conduct his own investigation.

This investigation will generally take six weeks*.


Six weeks is typically the length of time taken for an investigation. However, please note that in specific cases an investigation may take longer, in which case the complainant will be notified of any likely delay.

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