The BBC has a number of specific policies that freelancers/contractors are required to comply with. These include:
- Editorial Compliance
- Health and safety
- Insurance requirements
- Conflict of Interest, which involves making a declaration in advance of your engagement
The BBC Editorial Guidelines are a statement of the values and standards the BBC has set over the years. They also codify the good practice we expect from the creators and makers of all BBC content wherever and however it is received. New joiners, including freelancers, to the BBC must sign and return their contract and, where required, an Editorial Policy Compliance form (confirming their agreement to comply with the BBC's editorial standards) before they start work. (More information about the Editorial Guidelines can be found on the BBC website).
Declaration of personal interests
A conflict of interest can arise if your activities outside the BBC interfere with your work for the BBC; it can also occur if your outside activities are seen by others to affect the BBC's reputation for impartiality, integrity and high standards.
Health and safety
This guidance booklet aims to provide an understanding of the arrangements we have in the BBC to make sure that you and the people with whom you work are kept healthy and safe. It explains the roles and health and safety responsibilities involved in programme making.
Further Health and Safety information is available at the BBC Safety website.
The BBC's Child Protection Policy establishes the roles and responsibilities of everyone who works for the BBC in relation to the protection of children and young people with whom their work brings them into contact.
The information below sets out the arrangement for directly engaged freelancers working for the BBC. It also explains arrangements for those travelling on BBC business.
Emergency overseas medical expenses
This is provided to freelancers on the same terms as BBC employees. Cover is up to £5m per claim for such expenses incurred whilst away from their normal country of domicile on BBC assignments of up to three months duration.
Personal accident cover
Whether filming in Britain or overseas, freelancers are expected to have their own personal accident insurance. However, the BBC operates a benevolent fund which may provide benefits following accidental disablement or death while working for the BBC. This is known as the Supplementary Accident Benefit Scheme and is subject to a maximum payment of £125k (higher limits may apply where death or disablement is caused by an act of violence/ war).
It is a condition under the BBC Terms of Trade for Engagement of Freelances that freelancers insure their own equipment.
Freelancers are responsible for the care and safekeeping of their personal possessions while engaged by the BBC and they are expected to make their own insurance arrangements.
Public liability insurance
It is anticipated that freelancers have in place public liability insurance, but the BBC may choose to extend its public liability insurance arrangements following an incident, subject to the freelancer having demonstrated that they have complied with BBC’s health and safety requirements.
The BBC’s public liability insurance operates in respect of any liability to any third party for death/injury or damage to third party property arising out of its negligence and is effective in respect of the BBC's activities anywhere in the world.
Please note that freelancers engaged under a contract which involves any hazardous work (e.g. pyrotechnics experts, armourers) must hold their own public liability insurance. The appropriate Terms of Trade detail the minimum requirements.
The BBC public liability insurance may also extend to directly engaged stunt co-ordinators/performers providing that they are:
- A self employed individual.
- Listed on the Health and Safety stunt register.
- Able to supply a CV demonstrating the appropriate level of experience for the work being carried out.
Only properly authorised freelances, who meet the following criteria, can drive BBC vehicles hired through Transport Services:
- Completed a Driver Declaration Form.
- Hold a full and valid driving licence appropriate to the type of vehicle being used.
- Be at least 23 years of age, trained, competent and sufficiently experienced to drive the type of vehicle being used.
- Not be suffering from any health condition or infirmity which may affect their ability to drive safely.
The vehicle may only be used for purposes authorised by the BBC and all drivers must comply with the rules set out in the driver packs issued by the vehicle hire company.
The BBC is not obliged to pay personal expenses to a freelance in addition to the fee unless it is expressly agreed by the BBC.
Where there is a specific agreement, all expenses must be reasonably and properly incurred by the freelance in the course of the particular engagement. The freelancer will normally be required to provide the BBC with an itemised list of expenses incurred, accompanied by receipts.
The BBC is obliged to report to the Inland Revenue annually all payments to freelances and these will include expenses where paid.