BBC launches a new department to oversee interactive events
The BBC today launches a new technical department to oversee all of the BBC's interactive events involving telephony to ensure that audiences receive the best service possible when taking part in BBC programmes.
The creation of the Interactive Technical Advice and Contracts Unit (ITACU) is part of the BBC's comprehensive plan to address important issues which arose from serious editorial breaches on the BBC last year, many involving interactive votes, competitions and the use of Premium Rate Telephony.
The ITACU team, who have extensive experience of working with broadcasters and in the telecomms industry, will support the work of the BBC's TV and Radio production teams, enabling the reintroduction of participation services whilst being compliant with industry regulations.
The unit will oversee the technical and contractual arrangements for telephony for programmes across the BBC; ITACU has already been helping programme teams on shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, Eurovision, Last Choir Standing, Maestro and Children In Need.
It will be mandatory for all programme makers to use ITACU, and the unit will oversee all the telephony elements of TV and radio programmes which run competitions, votes, awards and donations.
It will also deal with contestant application lines.
The unit will sit within the Future Media & Technology department but will serve all parts of the BBC.
It will be the only part of the BBC permitted to engage with a third party telephony service provider, and will manage the relationship on behalf of the production teams.
David Jordan, Director of Editorial Policy and Standards, who has helped set the unit up, said: "This new unit should be a huge help to BBC production teams who want to exploit the creative possibilities of interactivity in their output.
"Programme makers must use the ITACU to arrange and contract telephony, it is mandatory to do so from today, but it will take a lot of the strain out of the process and ensure it is being done properly."
Notes to Editors
Last year the BBC published its Code of Conduct for competitions and voting on the Corporation's television, radio and online services.
The code states, for example, that BBC competitions and votes will not be run on the BBC to make a profit, and that the only time BBC competitions or votes will be aimed at raising funds will be for a BBC charitable initiative.
A mandatory editorial training programme, Safeguarding Trust, was also rolled out by the BBC management as part of the comprehensive plan called for by the BBC Trust following the editorial breaches last year.
The training course is ongoing and has been attended so far by more than 20,000 members of staff.
BBC Press Office