Trust consults on BBC guidelines for coverage of Elections in 2016 and Referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union

Date: 20.11.2015     Last updated: 20.11.2015 at 11.41

The BBC Trust is today launching an eight week consultation asking for views on a set of referendum guidelines and a set of election guidelines which will assist BBC journalists and content producers reporting on both the European Union membership referendum and on elections due to take place next May.

The guidelines, which will sit alongside the BBC’s main editorial guidelines, are intended to act as a framework to ensure that journalists and content makers can operate in as free and creative an environment as possible while delivering to audiences impartial, independent reporting.

The Trust recognises that a number of key points about the referendum have still to be confirmed, but considers it appropriate to consult now on the draft referendum guidelines, so that they will be in place before the campaign starts. 

Submissions to the consultation will be taken into consideration by the Trust before it publishes the final guidelines.

Once approved, the guidelines will come into effect at the beginning of the official referendum period, once it is known, and will remain until the close of polls.

We anticipate that the final guidelines for the referendum and for the May 2016 elections will be published in February 2016.

The full consultation papers and both sets of draft guidelines can be read below.

The Trust has also published a background paper written by the BBC Executive on the current electoral landscape which explains some of the thinking behind the drafting of the election guidelines for May 2016.