New Code of Conduct for competitions and voting published by BBC
The BBC publishes today for the first time a Code of
Conduct for competitions and voting on the Corporation's television,
radio and online services. The code is the BBC's undertaking to its
audiences on the running of competitions and voting.
The Code, which applies to competition and voting activity on every BBC
programme, emphasises the importance of trust in the relationship with
An honest and open relationship is required, in which the
public is treated with respect and fairness.
Competitions and voting
will be handled with rigorous care and integrity.
The Code, which will be widely publicised on the BBC's services, also
reminds audiences that BBC competitions and votes will not be run on the
BBC to make a profit.
The only time BBC competitions or votes will be
aimed at raising funds will be for a BBC charitable initiative.
In particular, through the Code, the BBC undertakes to ensure 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
it will never ask anyone to pose as a competition contestant or
prizes are described accurately. The BBC 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.
The Code states that whatever pressures there may be to "keep the show
on the air", the BBC must never compromise its editorial integrity.
things go wrong with running a competition or vote, the BBC will not
cover it up or falsify the outcome.
Premium rate telephone services will be used when the size of the likely
response to votes or competitions requires large numbers of calls to be
handled, or where raising money for a BBC charitable initiative.
The Code of Conduct is part of the response by BBC management to the
requirement from the BBC Trust for a comprehensive plan to address
important issues which arose from serious editorial breaches on the BBC
earlier this year.
The Code was called for by the BBC Trust, and
further detailed advice for programme makers on competitions, voting and
running awards and a formal approvals process for such activities is to
be submitted to the Trust for its consideration before competitions can
resume on the BBC.
It is anticipated that some competitions may return
on air before Christmas.
A mandatory editorial training programme for 17,000 staff, Safeguarding
Trust, is also now underway.
Announcing the new Code, BBC Director-General Mark Thompson said: "Trust is the BBC's most important value and we must never do anything
that may undermine that trust. That belief is shared by the BBC's
"The new Code will enable audiences to have a clear
understanding of what they should expect in the conduct of competitions
and votes on the BBC.
"Audiences enjoy interacting with BBC programmes
and output. It's important that they can do so with confidence at all
Chairman of the BBC Trust, Sir Michael Lyons, said:
"The BBC Trust wholly endorses the BBC's new Code of Conduct.
"In operating by the Code the BBC will demonstrate its unique responsibilities to the public who expect the highest standards from the public service broadcaster they own and pay for through their licence fee."
The full Code of Conduct is published at bbc.co.uk/competitionspolicy.
BBC Press Office