The BBC’s criteria for allocation of Referendum Campaign Broadcasts (RCBs) in the UK referendum on EU membership

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 provides for the Electoral Commission to “designate” organisations in a referendum. (Section 108)

The Act further provides that such designation confers on the organisation rights relating to RCBs and specifies that broadcasters must only broadcast RCBs on behalf of designated organisations.(Sections 110 and 127)

Relevant amendments to the process of designation were made in the European Union Referendum Act 2015. (Sections 9 and 11)

RCB Criteria

If the Electoral Commission designates organisations on both sides of the referendum question, each organisation will be offered at least one Referendum Campaign Broadcast.

There will be an equal number of RCBs on each side of the referendum question.

In the event of the Electoral Commission designating only one organisation, representing only one side of the referendum question, there will be no RCBs allocated.

NB: the allocation of broadcasts, including the number of RCBs, will be a matter for the BBC Executive, which may be appealed to the BBC Trust.

BBC Services which broadcast RCBs in a UK-wide referendum:

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Online
  • BBC Radio 4
  • BBC Radio 2

Electoral Commission

As is required by Schedule 12, section 4(6) of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, the BBC - in setting its policy with respect to RCBs – has taken account of any views expressed by the Electoral Commission.