Glossary of terms

BBC Trust

The BBC is governed by the BBC Trust, which sets out the strategic direction of the BBC as well as holding the Executive Board to account for its performance in delivering BBC services.


These are the groupings that information in the publication scheme is divided in to. They have been set by the Information Commissioners Office as part of the model scheme that an organisation has to adopt.

Commercial subsidiaries

The BBC's commercial subsidiaries, such as BBC Worldwide Ltd are separate legal entities and as such are not covered by the Freedom of Information Act. Other subsidiaries include BBC Children in Need and the BBC Pension Scheme.

Disclosure logs

These are copies of previous responses we've sent out to people making requests under the Freedom of Information Act. We publish those that we believe may be of interest to a wider audience.

DPA - Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Act gives individuals a right to access personal information held only about themselves. It is important the personal data is not given to a third party without prior consent.


These are set out in the legislation and are the legal reasons why an organisation may decide not to release information to an individual upon request. Exemptions fall into two categories; non-qualified and qualified. When a qualified exemption applies the organisation must undertake a public interest test.

FOIA - Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act came into force in January 2005 and is intended to make information held by public authorities available to the public to demonstrate transparency and encourage openness.

I.C.O. - Information Commissioners Office

The Information Commissioners Office is the regulator responsible for ensuring that organisations covered by the FOI Act adhere to the legislation. For more details visit the Information Commissioners Office website.

I.P.C. - Information Policy & Compliance

Information Policy and Compliance is the name of the team in the BBC that is responsible for managing Freedom of Information Act requests received by the BBC. Please note that they do not advise the BBC how to make requests to other organisations.

Media regulators

The BBC is accountable to both the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and Ofcom. DCMS is the Government body responsible for broadcasting and creative industries in the UK. Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries.

Public Authorities

The Freedom of Information Act only applies to public authorities as defined in the Act and includes companies that are wholly owned by public authorities.

Public interest test

The public interest test favours disclosure where a qualified exemption applies. In such cases, the information may be withheld only if the public authority considers that the public interest in withholding the information is greater than the public interest in disclosing it.

Public service broadcaster

Public service broadcasters are those that are funded from public funds and provide broadcasting services to ensure that the public are kept informed of necessary information. Channel 4 are also a public service broadcaster.

Publication scheme

The publication scheme sets out the information that the public authority makes routinely available, and assists the public in finding the information required.

Regulatory framework

The BBC's Charter and Agreement require the BBC to publish a range of documents explaining its purpose, setting its policies and priorities, and describing the remits of its services.

Vexatious request

A vexatious request is one that is intended to cause distress, disruption or irritation. Under these circumstances an organisation can refuse to handle requests that may be considered to fall under this guidance.

Working days

It is important to remember that organisations have 20 working days in which to respond to an FOI request. Working days do not include the weekends or public holidays in the UK.

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