Section 19: Accountability

BBC Trust


The BBC Trust is the sovereign body of the BBC, its independent trustees act in the public interest.  It aims to ensure that:

  • the BBC remains independent, resisting pressure and influence from any source
  • the BBC's management delivers public value by providing distinctive services of the highest quality to all the people and all the communities across the United Kingdom
  • the BBC contributes to the standing of the United Kingdom in the world, to the economy and to British culture.


Its tasks include:

  • ensuring that the BBC meets its mission to inform, educate and entertain with ambition and fulfils the public purposes laid down in its Royal Charter
  • ensuring that the BBC's journalism meets the highest standards of accuracy and impartiality to sustain public trust
  • ensuring that the BBC promotes its reputation and values around the world
  • appointing the BBC's Director-General
  • ensuring that complaints are properly handled, and acting as a final arbiter on complaints previously handled by the Editorial Complaints Unit and divisional directors
  • commissioning and approving these Editorial Guidelines which, as well as providing a manual of best practice for those making content for the BBC, are also used as a basis for the adjudication of complaints.


The Trust draws on the support of a broad network of external advisory bodies to provide advice on the BBC’s services for different parts of the UK.  These include the Audience Councils for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Regional Advisory Councils for the English Regions.  It commissions reviews of aspects of the BBC’s activities, and is supported by the Trust Unit, which is independent of BBC management.