Trust launches further consultation on the BBC’s guidelines for its coverage of the May 2015 elections

Date: 15.01.2015     Last updated: 15.01.2015 at 10.09

Today the Trust launches the final stage of its consultation process on the BBC’s approach to covering this year’s General Election, English local, and mayoral elections.

The material written by the BBC Executive, which the Trust has published today, sets out the relative level of coverage that political parties can expect to receive on the BBC during the election period of 30 March to the close of polls on the 7 May, along with the evidence which supports this analysis.

The Trust’s consultation on the BBC’s draft election guidelines began at the start of November and at the time the Trust said there would be an extra consultation period in the New Year of 2015 on additional material relevant to the election guidelines when it became available. 

This new material has been added at a later stage in order for it to be as up to date as possible, taking into account relevant contextual information such as recent opinion polling and by-election results.

The consultation

Over the next four weeks the Trust is interested in receiving any comments relating to the following published documents: 

-       Draft Election Guidelines Appendix 1 - Party Coverage 2015 (PDF document)
This document gives BBC content producers specific information on the levels of coverage different parties can expect to receive on BBC services.

-       Two new background documents: an electoral landscape paper and an annex to that paper (PDF documents). These documents are not for consultation specifically, as they set out evidence that has informed the drafting of Appendix 1, however the BBC will pay due regard to any factual remarks or other comments received about the landscape paper and its annex. 

The material we are now publishing will continue to be open to amendment to reflect new and significant relevant evidence of current electoral support until the day after the close of nominations.

The consultation will end on 11 February and the Trust will consider responses before approving and publishing the final election guidelines and the supporting appendices. We anticipate that this will be in March. 

Please note that the Trust is not consulting on which politician or party should be invited on individual programmes such as the leaders’ debate programme/s. That is an editorial decision for the BBC Executive. However as the debates form part of the BBC’s coverage during the election, they will have to be consistent with the BBC’s guidelines.

The BBC is also today publishing a blog by Chief Political Advisor Ric Bailey, in which he explains the background to the guidelines and appendices as well as the factors that determine the level of coverage parties can expect to receive on the BBC.