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16 October 2014
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Interactivity: Voting

Summary Guide

Before launching a vote you should always read this checklist in order to ensure compliance:

  • Any BBC vote must comply to
  • If telephony is involved, a Telephony Approval Form must be submitted to the Interactive Technical Advice and Contracts Unit (ITACU) and also be authorised by a Controller or Senior Manager

Running the Vote

  • An appropriate editorial figure must be designated as responsible for overseeing the running of the vote.
  • There must be clear terms and conditions both for the voting public and any contestants being judged by the vote, which are available to the audience. ITACU Legal and Business Affairs must be consulted where the vote involves any element of telephony, if it does not then consult Programme Legal Advice
  • Clear information must be given about when the vote opens and closes.
  • There must be a robust voting mechanism in place, matching the nature of the vote and the likely response. In the case of telephony or online and telephony combined, you must consult ITACU
  • If voting can take place on multiple platforms, a robust system should be in place to ensure all votes from all sources are properly registered and aggregated. ITACU must be consulted if the voting includes telephony
  • Enough time must be allowed between the closure of the vote and the announcement of the result, to ensure that the result can be properly collated and verified.
  • A contingency plan must be drawn up for any significant vote, to deal with any major problem. This plan must be signed off by the editorial figure responsible for overseeing the vote in consultation with ITACU for technical advice and Editorial Policy weher relevant.
  • 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 vote, if the vote has closed.

Telephony Issues

  • If you are contracting a telephony service provider, you must take advice from ITACU Legal and Business Affairs.
  • If the vote 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 is not used to make a profit except if it is 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 tariffs
    • The only time, in exceptional cases, where we may use premium rate lines to raise money, is in order 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 proposal to use a text (SMS) vote or red button vote which will be run and resolved in a live programme must be referred to ITACU who will also consult Editorial Policy.

If you have any doubt refer to your Senior Manager, or to 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 Voting
Guidance on Voting

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