The following activities must conform to the Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance:

(See Appendix 3: Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance)



In order to fulfil its commitment to the UK Nations, the BBC may accept co-funding from suitable, non-commercial bodies to provide services in minority languages.  In Scotland, the Gaelic Media Service co-funds television, radio and online services in Gaelic.  In Northern Ireland, the BBC accepts funding from the Irish Language Broadcast Fund for some television broadcasts in Irish.

Occasionally, the BBC may accept co-funding for learning and educational output targeted at a specific section of the audience, where it might be unjustifiable to fund the output simply from the licence fee.  For example, co-funding has been accepted in Wales for some online output which is in English as well as Welsh and directed at a specific niche audience.

Suitable co-funders include publicly funded bodies, charities, charitable trusts or voluntary bodies.



16.4.8 All arrangements for co-funding must comply with the Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance Section 14: Co-Funding

(See Appendix 3: Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance)

In addition, all co-funding must meet the following requirements:

•·       The BBC must retain editorial control for a co-funded programme or website and it is essential that the programme does not promote the funder

•·       Co-funding must never be taken for news, current affairs or consumer advice content on any BBC service

•·       The BBC must not accept funds from any organisation whose interests or activities could raise doubts about the objectivity of a programme or website.

•·       Any co-funding projects must be approved in writing by the relevant BBC Director responsible for the output.

Any proposal for co-funding on any UK service must be referred to Chief Adviser Editorial Policy.

Other Activities which must Conform to the Statement of Policy


Ticket sales, makeovers, location and production incentives, public value partnerships and sponsored BBC on-air events must conform specifically to the following principles from the Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance:

·       BBC services may not broadcast sponsored programmes or carry advertising and it is important that arrangements with external organisations do not give any impression that a BBC service is commercially sponsored

·       The BBC's editorial impartiality and integrity must not be compromised and the BBC must retain editorial control of BBC output

·       The choice of partners must be appropriate and not risk bringing the BBC into disrepute.

In certain cases, a proposal for an activity which does not fit precisely within the categories listed in these Guidelines may be acceptable, provided it conforms to the Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance.  Written approval to undertake such an activity must be obtained from Chief Adviser Editorial Policy, who will consult BBC Commercial and Regulatory Legal.

Ticket Sales


In some cases it may be acceptable to charge for tickets for BBC broadcast events.  However, we may only charge for tickets to concerts or events which are not merely recordings of regular programmes.

We should only charge entry for events held at an outside venue, not events held in BBC studios.  However, with approval from Chief Adviser Editorial Policy, we may charge for tickets to events held in a bespoke BBC concert hall.



Proceeds from ticket sales may only be used to pay for event costs and tickets should not be priced to generate any further income.  The money from ticket sales must not be used for production costs.

Clear separate records must be kept of all ticket revenue going to the BBC or going via the BBC.



In addition to the principles of the Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance, all ticketing arrangements must conform to the BBC Guidance on Ticketing for BBC Events and Programmes.

(See Guidance: Ticketing for BBC Events and Programmes)




The BBC must always cover the full production costs of makeover programmes and will also meet the costs of the home makeover itself where such makeovers have been directly instigated by the BBC.

The BBC must not, under any circumstances, demand a financial contribution from a homeowner as a pre-requisite for taking part in a makeover programme.  However, in some limited cases, it may be appropriate for a homeowner to contribute towards some makeover costs.  These contributions are only possible if the homeowner has already begun a makeover or is already considering a makeover.  Such arrangements are a form of Alternative Finance and must conform to the Statement of Policy.

(See Appendix 3: Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance)



In all cases, contributions from homeowners may only be used to pay suppliers of materials, goods and services and any construction personnel who are not featured in the programme.  No money from the homeowner may go into a production budget.  Separate accounts must be kept for the programme and the makeover and it must be clear that a contributor's payments have not been used for programme costs.




Any proposal for a homeowner to contribute towards the cost of the materials for a makeover must be referred to Chief Adviser Editorial Policy.

(See Section 14 Editorial Integrity and Independence from External Interests: 14.4.15)

(See Guidance: Makeover Programmes)

Location and Production Incentives


A number of countries around the world, including the UK, offer incentives to stimulate film, television and other media production.  The BBC, together with other broadcasters, producers and film makers, has accessed these incentives for many years.  The schemes are most frequently offered when a drama, documentary or other programme is filmed in a particular location.  These schemes are often run by film councils or governmental or regional organisations.  Grants are also available from the EU Media Fund.


Acceptance of such funds must be in accordance with the principles in the Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance.


Any conditions made by the funder must not undermine the BBC's integrity or impartiality.  Particular care should be taken in relation to factual production.



Factual programmes and factually-based dramas which focus on the current politics of a country may not accept funding from schemes operating there.


News and Current Affairs programmes may not accept such funding.  The only exception to this prohibition may be the acceptance by a BBC commissioned current affairs production of a grant from the EU Media Fund.  Such acceptance must be referred in advance to Director Editorial Policy and Standards.


The Guidance on Location and Production Incentives gives detailed advice in this area, including the procedures required for accessing schemes and the referrals required for their acceptance.

(See Guidance: Location and Production Incentives)


Public Value Partnerships


The BBC seeks to offer the greatest public value by working in partnership with others.  We can often inspire and motivate audiences far more powerfully if we work with others and deliver added value for our audiences, and our partners.

In many cases the BBC will receive no money from a public value partnership.  The partnership may involve complementary activities, such as a gallery mounting an exhibition on the same theme as a BBC programme.  In other cases, the partner and the BBC may jointly fund an off-air activity.

(See Guidance: Partnerships)



All partnerships must conform to the following key requirements from the Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance:

  • Partnerships must not compromise our editorial values or independence. A partnership must not consist merely of the BBC covering the partner's activities or promoting their campaigns. The partners need to be involved with the BBC in an activity which offers public value
  • Any money from partners must only go into off-air activities or support material and no money from an external partner may be used for any programme costs
  • Partnerships must not undermine BBC impartiality. Choice of partners must be justifiable and the BBC should be seen to vary its range of partners over time
  • Any BBC credits for partners must be appropriate and editorially justifiable.

(See Appendix 3: Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance)

(See Guidance: Partnerships)




Any contractual commitment to credit partners on air or online must be referred to Chief Adviser Editorial Policy at an early stage, well before contracts are issued.


The BBC should not enter into public value partnerships with political parties, tobacco firms or those mainly known for tobacco products, organisations involved in pornography or alcoholic drinks manufacturers and suppliers.

The BBC should not normally enter into a partnership with a foreign government.  Relationships with UK government departments, religious organisations, charities and organisations which undertake lobbying should also be treated with care to ensure our impartiality is not undermined.

(See Section 4 Impartiality: 4.4.20 - 4.4.21)


Suitable partners include arts, educational and cultural bodies and not-for-profit organisations.  In many cases it is advisable to consult Editorial Policy on the choice of partners.


Any proposal for involvement with a commercial organisation in relation to a public value partnership must be referred to Chief Adviser Editorial Policy.  It is important in the course of any partnership arrangement that the BBC does not appear to endorse commercial organisations or their products or services.


Sponsored BBC On Air Events


The BBC may mount public events, such as concerts and award ceremonies, which are held at outside venues and covered on air.  These events are key to fulfilling the BBC's public purpose remit to extend its offering and enable the public from around the UK to have closer access to BBC services.

(See Guidance: Sponsorship of BBC On-Air Events)

In some cases, in order to defray the costs to the licence payer, it may be acceptable to supplement the cost of mounting a public event by sponsorship from a non- commercial body.



Any proposal for sponsorship of a BBC on-air event must be approved well in advance by Chief Adviser Editorial Policy and the relevant director.


Any sponsorship of BBC on-air events must comply with:

  • the Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance
(See Appendix 3 online: Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance)
  • the Guidance on Sponsorship of BBC On-Air Events broadcast on publicly funded channels

(See Guidance: Sponsorship of BBC On-Air Events)

  • the BBC's Fair Trading Guidelines and, in particular, the Competitive Impact Principle.




The money from the sponsor may be used only for the costs of mounting the event.  No sponsorship money may be used for any broadcast costs.  Accounts must show clear separation between event costs and broadcasting costs. 

No programme on a BBC publicly funded service may be sponsored.




Sponsorship is only acceptable for on-air events which are clearly distinctive and of manifest public value.  Events which are eligible for sponsorship include:

  • concerts, performance, cultural or artistic events including competitive performance events which celebrate artistic achievement
  • BBC award ceremonies
  • BBC talent, community or youth initiatives which include an on-air event.




News and Current Affairs on-air events, and events based on consumer programmes dealing with a range of topics, must not be sponsored.



In addition:

  • sponsored events should only be mounted where there is a strong justification as to why the event would not be possible without sponsorship
  • there is a presumption against the conversion of established programme titles into sponsored events
  • no impression should be given that a BBC programme or service is being sponsored - credits should make it clear that it is the event itself which has been sponsored
  • BBC broadcast events held on BBC premises should not be sponsored
  • we must not feature the sponsor in the title of a BBC event
  • we aim to credit fairly the enabling role of sponsors and any credits given should be fair without being promotional
  • we should not enter into a contractual arrangement which guarantees on-air credits.


Suitable Sponsors for BBC On Air Events


Suitable sponsors include charities, trusts and foundations, local authorities (such as city or regional councils), regional development agencies, appropriate government agencies, publicly funded educational institutions, and other suitable public institutions.

The following are not suitable sponsors for BBC events: commercial bodies, religious bodies, organisations involved with promotion of the occult, political organisations, foreign governments, pressure groups and lobby groups.

The choice of sponsor must not lead to any doubt about the objectivity of the event.



The event must always remain under the BBC's editorial control and the sponsor must not influence its editorial content, or that of the BBC programme covering it.  The editorial remit of the event or the programme covering it must not be changed because it clashes with the sponsor's agenda.

The event must not become a vehicle for promoting the sponsor or its activities.


Sponsored Awards


Any proposal to offer a sponsored award must conform to the Framework for Funding Prizes and Awards and the Guidance on Sponsorship of BBC On-Air Events broadcast on publicly funded channels.

(See Appendix 4: Framework for Funding Prizes and Awards and Section 17 Interacting with our Audiences: 17.4.6)


BBC Off-Air Events


The BBC may, from time to time, run off-air events to support its programming or outreach activities.  Sometimes such events may take limited sponsorship.  Such events must be run in accordance with the Guidance on BBC Off-Air Events.

Joint Editorial Initiatives and Events

Joint Editorial Initiatives


A joint editorial initiative is a partnership where the BBC and a partner, or partners, share editorial responsibility for an overall initiative or project which is of public service value.  The BBC may undertake outreach activities in relation to the project as well as producing programmes or other content.  In some cases the partner may run a related event or publish related articles.  Online material relating to the initiative may be co-hosted (i.e. placed on both sites).


When undertaking a joint editorial initiative:

  • no money from a partner may go into a BBC programme or online budgets
  • the BBC must retain editorial control of all BBC broadcast, online or other content and any element of the project which refers to the BBC
  • the initiative must not be used to plug the outside body on air or online. We should not link directly to any page of the partner's site whose main purpose is to promote or sell any commercial product or service
  • referral must be made to Editorial Policy about the suitability of partners and arrangements for a joint editorial initiative.


In some circumstances, for sound editorial reasons, the initiative may be with a magazine or newspaper which publishes material related to the initiative.  Any reference on air to an initiative with a newspaper or magazine must be strictly editorially necessary and be referred to Editorial Policy. We must ensure that any reference does not promote the publication and people must not be required to buy it to take part in any activity related to the joint initiative.

Joint Events


In some cases the initiative may consist of joining with a partner to mount an event.  The BBC and the partner are jointly responsible for the event. This is not a sponsored event as the partner is jointly involved editorially with the BBC in running the event.  These events may sometimes be broadcast.



Joint events of this kind may only be mounted with partners who are suitable as public value partners.

(See Section 16 External Relationships and Funding: 16.4.22 - 16.4.27)

No money from the partner for a joint event may go into a programme budget.

The choice of partners and arrangements for jointly run events which are broadcast must be approved by Editorial Policy.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.