Makeover programmes are programmes where a home, garden or community space is transformed with the work being undertaken or initiated by the programme.
A BBC makeover may leave some contributors with a valuable asset, as the value of their property or community space may be increased. Therefore it is important that:
licence payers’ money is spent wisely
the selection of contributors is fair and diverse
contributors do not commercially exploit the makeover.
This guidance note applies to all makeover arrangements. It also clarifies the circumstances under which it is appropriate for contributors to pay towards the cost of their makeover, or to receive free or reduced cost materials and services for their makeover. There are legal implications here and care must be taken to follow the attached advice.
Funding Makeover Programmes
The makeover spectrum ranges from the simple reworking of a space at modest cost along traditional lines, to the bold and innovative featuring previously unexplored possibilities. At one end of the spectrum costs may be minimal with contributors’ own materials being recycled to achieve a new look.
At the other end of the spectrum, the makeover may be substantial and its cost well into five or six figures.
Observational documentaries which film contributors making over properties themselves should have no financial involvement with any makeover.
The BBC must always cover the full production costs of makeover programmes.
Production costs include the fees of designers, regular presenters, occasional presenters such as the makeover project manager and other contractors specifically featured on screen as talent, programme experts and production staff. It also includes all OB costs such as lighting, accommodation, transport and the hire of specialist equipment and personal protective equipment such as goggles and gloves.
In some cases the BBC may also cover the full cost of the makeover itself.
Makeover costs include raw materials, goods and services and the fees of work men and women involved in construction and decoration. These people may be featured on air incidentally in background shots or provide the occasional vox pop, but are not regarded as being part of the production or onscreen talent.
It is important that programmes consider the costs of the production and the makeover separately.
Modest Makeovers Which Have Been Instigated By The BBC
Contributors to makeover programmes are members of the public who allow their homes, gardens or community space to be featured in a makeover programme. Where a room, garden or community space is transformed at modest cost and the results are filmed to illustrate DIY and design techniques, the BBC will meet the full cost of the makeover as well as all production costs.
Contributors Who Are Already Considering Their Own Makeover
In cases where the proposed makeover is of a substantial nature, it may be appropriate for programme makers to seek contributors who are already considering or have budgeted to do their own makeover. In these cases programme makers will need to establish what the contributor’s budget is and whether their plans/home/garden meet the programme’s editorial criteria. To avoid the excessive use of licence fee money to benefit selected individuals, the BBC and the contributor may share the makeover costs. Such proposals should be discussed with Editorial Policy. But it is essential that contributors do not pay for any production costs.
For legal and regulatory reasons, the BBC cannot under any circumstances demand a financial contribution from a contributor as a pre-requisite to their having a makeover and taking part in a programme. So we can only ask for a contribution for materials from those who are already considering undertaking their own make-over.
If it is decided that the contributor should be responsible for meeting the cost of some or all of the materials from their budget, the prior approval of the relevant Controller should be obtained.
If contributors are asked to make payments towards materials the same approach should be adopted throughout the series, and not selectively, to ensure consistency and fairness. However, it is important that viewers on lower incomes are not automatically excluded from receiving an “up market” make-over and in such cases the BBC may have to meet the cost of materials.
Contributors Who Have Already Begun Makeovers
In some cases contributors will have already begun makeovers which have then been abandoned, or completed makeovers but to a poor standard. A programme then completes or repairs the makeover. In these circumstances, contributors may contribute to the cost of completion or repair, in return for the expertise provided by the BBC to effect the completion or repair.
How Contributors’ Payments May Be Used
The money that contributors were intending to spend on their work may be used to pay suppliers of materials, goods and services and any construction personnel who either are not featured at all in the programme or only incidentally in background shots or in the occasional vox pop.
Under no circumstances should contributors pay the programme itself nor may the programme accept money from contributors. It is preferable that if contributors are to make payments that they are invoiced by suppliers and the contributors pay the suppliers. If this is not possible, and the BBC has to make all payments to suppliers this should be done via an assigned account which is separate from the programme budget. Separate and clear accounts must be kept to show how the contributor’s assigned budget has been spent.
In some cases, it may be appropriate for programmes to appoint a project manager whose duties could include helping to oversee and facilitate the payment of suppliers. However it must be clear in all contracts that the contributors are directly responsible to suppliers for any makeover costs that they have agreed to meet.
The BBC production team may negotiate for discounts on the contributor’s behalf. All such arrangements must be in accordance with Section 14: Editorial Integrity and Independence from External Interests of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines. It must be clear to all suppliers that there can be no promise of a credit in the programme in exchange for free or reduced cost goods or services nor any promise that goods or services will be featured at all. Suppliers should be reminded of BBC policy in writing.
Makeovers Relying on Free or Reduced Cost Materials and Services
In some cases, makeovers may be undertaken by the BBC for people who are disadvantaged or for charitable causes, which rely on free or reduced cost materials and labour, donated directly to the people or community in receipt of the makeover. This sort of makeover may occur when the recipients are not financially capable of funding the makeover themselves. Even in these circumstances it is essential that all production costs must still be met by the programme.
All activities must conform to the BBC’s Statement of Policy on Alternative Finance which means the BBC cannot be in receipt of free goods or services.
Reduced cost or free materials and services must be donated directly to the recipient of the makeover and not to the BBC. Such makeovers must be referred to Editorial Policy and prior approval of the relevant Channel Controller must be obtained.
The BBC production team may negotiate for discounts on the contributor’s behalf. All such arrangements must be in accordance with Section 14: Editorial Integrity and Independence from External Interests of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines. The programme and contributors may not negotiate with suppliers to accept free or reduced cost goods in exchange for credits in the programme or on any websites. There can be no guarantees that goods or services will be featured on the programme or websites. Nor must donors be allowed to use their involvement with the BBC programme to promote themselves, their products or their services. Contractors and suppliers should have written notice of this before they donate their services. Equally, promotional logos and signage by donors must be discouraged. If donors arrive on location with unduly prominent logos or signage, programme makers are expected to take steps to avoid them appearing on screen.
Programmes should keep records of all products, materials or work provided at full or reduced cost or free of charge. A template for this is available from BBC Procurement.
Not all the items in a makeover are built in. Programmes sometimes use freestanding products as props. A retro fridge, for example, or an ultra modern television set may be used to round off a particular design “look”. In such cases the goods usually are removed at the end of filming. It may be appropriate to make this clear in contributors’ contracts.
It may be, however, that the contributor wishes to negotiate separately with the supplier to purchase or keep these. No monies should come to the BBC.
Contributors may not negotiate with suppliers to keep reduced cost or free goods in exchange for any promotional activities which refer in any way to the BBC makeover or the programme. The contract with the contributor should make this explicit.
The BBC must retain sole editorial control of the programme. While it is entirely appropriate to consult contributors over their wishes in relation to the makeover itself, whether they have or have not paid towards the cost of the makeover, the contributor cannot influence the editorial content of the programme. All contracts with contributors must make it explicit that the final decision over the nature and style of the makeover and how it is achieved rests with the BBC.
Selection of Makeover Programme Contributors
Advertising for Contributors
Any advertisements for contributors must be referred to the relevant Divisional Controller and Editorial Policy. The advertisements must not in any way imply that contributors have to pay towards the cost of making a BBC programme.
However, programmes may appeal for people who are in the process of or are about to start a makeover project. The most appropriate wording is for potential contributors to be asked whether they will “allow the BBC to film the progress of a planned project”.
Checking the suitability of contributors
It is important that programmes take steps to ensure the suitability of contributors to makeover productions. Members of the public may receive a considerable benefit through a makeover and the value of their property could rise. Efforts should be made to recruit a diverse range of homeowners reflecting the diversity of licence fee payers.
Normally we would not allow a contributor to take part in a BBC makeover programme if they have already featured or are about to feature in a makeover programme on the BBC, on any television channel or in the press.
All contributors should be asked if they have received or agreed to receive a makeover from the BBC or any television company or newspaper. If a programme discovers that one of its contributors has received a makeover or is currently involved in any other makeover project, and still wishes to proceed with the contributor, the relevant editorial figure should be consulted.
The contributor agreement should ensure that contributors cannot capitalise on their makeover from the BBC. They may not refer to the makeover in any sale documents nor use their contribution to promote a business venture. The parts of the property featured in the makeover room cannot be used for advertising or promotions, without the BBC’s express prior permission.
Makeover design teams and programme makers should consider carefully whether the work they are proposing to undertake contravenes local planning regulations. They should not undertake a makeover unless they are sure that it meets planning regulations. If there is any doubt, the appropriate planning authority should be consulted at an early stage. Checks should also be put in place to establish whether a building and its gardens are listed or subject to preservations orders and whether local by-laws have exceptional planning issues.
To neighbours and others living in a community with no connection to a makeover in progress the presence of a production team in an area may be regarded as a disruption to their lives. Neighbours will also have to live near the resulting designs after the team has finished filming. As a matter of courtesy and to foster goodwill, teams should do their best to inform neighbours of their presence, explain the design proposals, and take due consideration of their concerns. It should be made clear from the outset who is responsible for dealing with any snags that may occur during or after the makeover.
Conflicts of Interest
Our audiences need to be confident that the outside activities of our programme makers or presenters do not undermine the BBC’s impartiality and that editorial decisions are not influenced by any commercial or personal interests. Family, friends or business associates of the production team or presenters must not be used as contributors to such shows.
People working on lifestyle and makeover programmes, either as presenters or producers must have no commercial or other links which could appear to influence their attitude towards any product, service or company. Any non-BBC activity undertaken by presenters, such as writing or advertising should not undermine their integrity. In particular they should not promote or advertise any product they might review/use on air.
Contributors should also be checked for any potential conflicts of interest e.g. working for a company that makes DIY materials.