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16 October 2014
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Interactivity: Competitions

Summary Guide

Before launching a competition you should always read this checklist in order to ensure compliance.

  • The competition must be referred to the relevant Controller or Senior Manager in the first instance

Running the competition

  • An appropriate editorial figure must be designated as responsible for overseeing the running of the competition.
  • There must be clear published terms and conditions for the competition. You must refer to ITACU Legal and Business Affairs where a competition involves a telephony method of entry; where there is no telephony element refer to Programme Legal Advice.
  • Clear information must be given about when the competition opens and closes.
  • Adequate resources need to be in place to ensure that all entries have a fair chance of winning.
  • A contingency plan must be drawn up in case problems arise with the running of the competition. This must be signed off by the editorial figure responsible for overseeing the competition in consultation with ITACU for technical advice and Editorial Policy, where relevant.
  • Sufficient time must have been allowed for resolving the competition. This must be more than half an hour unless there is a specific exemption from the relevant Controller - in consultation with ITACU where telephony has been used as a method of entry.
  • If the programme is to be repeated, or available on demand, steps must be taken to ensure that the audience won’t be misled into thinking they can still enter if the competition has closed.
  • Acceptance of any modest donated prize must be in accordance with section 12 of the BBC Detailed Guidance on Competitions.
  • If the competition is jointly organised with a third party, this must be referred to Editorial Policy.

Selecting Winners

  • All winners of competitions must be genuine and never invented, pre-chosen or planted.
  • If the winner is to be selected at random from all correct and verified entries, a demonstrably fair random selection process must be put in place. ITACU must be consulted.
  • If the winner is selected by judges or a judging panel, they must be issued with judging criteria.

Telephony Issues

  • If you are contracting a telephony service provider, you must consult ITACU.
  • If the competition involves Premium Rate Telephony (including premium rate text), this must be referred to the Senior Manager in your division charged with approving the use of Premium Rate telephony, and then must be referred to Editorial Policy and ITACU.
  • Premium Rate Telephony must not be used by the BBC to make a profit except if to raise money for charitable purposes (see below).
    • The BBC will use Premium Rate Telephony where it is the most suitable way to handle large volumes of calls effectively. The lowest viable tariff must be used. ITACU will advise on the tariff.
    • The only time, in exceptional cases, where we may use a higher tariff is to raise funds for a BBC charitable initiative.
    • In such cases the editorial content of the programme must relate directly to the charitable cause; and
    • any such proposals must be cleared at Director level and referred to Editorial Policy in advance.
  • Clear information must be broadcast about any call costs, any charitable contribution from call costs and opening and closing times.
  • Any competition, in which the audience can text into a live programme, and where the result is to be announced in the programme, must be referred to ITACU whol will consult Editorial Policy.

If you have any doubt refer to your Senior Manager, Editorial Policy or ITACU.

Useful Contacts

Editorial Policy:
Natalie Christian (Senior Adviser)
Julian Coles (Senior Adviser, Online Issues)

Interactive Technical Advice and Contracts Unit (ITACU):
Claire McLaughlin (Head of ITACU)
Vikki Sumner
Simon Rose
Michaela Hamm

Legal and Business Affairs Advice:
Shelley Bradley (Programme Legal Advice)

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Content producers must also read


Code of Conduct: Competitions and Voting


Summary Guide
on Competitions
Guidance on Competitions

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