Appendix 2: Code of Conduct for Competitions and Votes

Code of Conduct for Competitions and Votes

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  1. Principles for Interactive Competitions and Votes
  2. Use of Premium Rate Telephone Services

This Code of Conduct constitutes the BBC’s commitment to licence fee payers for all publicly funded services in the UK.

Trust is the BBC’s most important value and we must not undermine public trust in the BBC. We will maintain an honest and open relationship with our audiences and we will not intentionally mislead them.

When the public engages with us through interactivity they will be treated with respect, honesty and fairness. We will handle all interactive competitions and votes with rigorous care and integrity.

BBC competitions and votes will not be run in order to make a profit. The only time BBC competitions or votes will be aimed at raising funds will be for a BBC charitable initiative.


Principles for Interactive Competitions and Votes

These key principles apply to BBC competitions and votes which involve viewers, listeners and the online audience. They apply to interactivity conducted by telephones, texts, using the red button, post or any other interactive service.

The BBC undertakes that

  • competitions and votes are conducted in a way that is honest, open, fair and legal
  • winners of competitions and votes are genuine and never invented, pre-chosen or planted by the production team. Every entry should have a fair chance of winning
  • we will never ask anyone to pose as a competition contestant or winner
  • prizes are described accurately. We will not mislead entrants about the nature of a prize and prize winners will receive their prizes in reasonable time
  • there are clear rules for any competition or vote which are readily available to the public.

Whatever pressures there may be to "keep the show on the air", the BBC must never compromise its editorial integrity.

If things go wrong with running a competition or vote we will not cover it up or falsify the outcome.

(See Guidance online: Audience Interactivity)


Use of Premium Rate Telephone Services

The size of the likely response to some votes or competitions may mean that premium rate lines are the most suitable way to enable such a large number of calls to be handled.

We will state as clearly as possible on air how much calls cost and use the lowest viable tariff, unless we are specifically raising money for a BBC charitable initiative. We will inform the audience clearly when competition or voting lines open and close.

For all premium rate telephone competitions or votes we will comply with the code of practice issued by the independent regulator PhonepayPlus (formerly ICSTIS).




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