Section 16: External Relationships and Financing - Introduction
The BBC is committed to working collaboratively with others to deepen the impact and reach of its content and services, to extend creative possibilities and to maximise public value .
Our commitment to partnerships, specifically, is set out in the BBC Charter which says that we must: seek to enter into partnerships with other organisations, particularly in the creative economy, where to do so would be in the public interest. These partnerships must be: with a wide range of organisations including commercial and non-commercial organisations and organisations of all sizes, throughout the nations and regions of the United Kingdom covering television, radio and online services.
The BBC should: encourage people to explore new subjects and participate in new activities through partnerships with educational, sporting and cultural institutions.
We must ensure that our partnerships: are fair and beneficial to all organisations in the partnership and, in particular, that partners are given due attribution and recognition, including in the branding and promotion of the output and services created or distributed.
To be fair and transparent in our partnerships and other external relationships, the nature of the relationship must be appropriately signalled to the audience.
And in order not to bring the BBC into disrepute, external relationships and financing must not compromise the BBC’s impartiality, editorial integrity and independence and must be in line with the BBC’s values. We must also maintain independent editorial control over our editorial content.
Partnerships and other external relationships can involve the use of third-party funds for broadcasting content on BBC services.
Financing for UK Public Services
UK Public Services are funded by the licence fee and may only take funding for content from limited exceptions that conform to Clause 49 of the BBC Framework Agreement . The conditions of these exceptions are set out in the Statement of Policy on Use of Alternative Finance in BBC content  and the Policy Statement on Ticketing for BBC Public Service events .
Because UK Public Services must not broadcast sponsored editorial content or carry advertising  (although the BBC has specific permission to accept sponsorship for BBC events) , arrangements with external organisations must not give the impression that a UK Public Service is sponsored. And arrangements involving funds from not-for-profit bodies and other partners must be in accordance with Clause 49 (4) of the Framework Agreement .
Financing for BBC World Service
The BBC World Service is principally licence fee funded and is permitted the same limited exceptions to the constraints on mixing licence with other sources of funding as the UK Public Services. It must also conform to the BBC Framework Agreement  and with the regulatory documents above. However, it is permitted additional specific limited exceptions which are set out in the BBC World Service Statement of Policy for Sources of Finance Other Than the Licence Fee .
Financing for Commercial Services
BBC Commercial Services and the BBC World Service, when undertaking commercial activity which is permitted by the BBC World Service Statement of Policy, must meet the guidelines on advertising and sponsorship.
There must be distinction between editorial content and commercial content, such as advertising, and surreptitious advertising is prohibited.
In order not to compromise their due impartiality and independence, news and current affairs content must not be sponsored or externally funded. And consumer advice content must not be directly sponsored or externally funded by sponsors or external funders whose products, services or activities are likely to be reviewed in the editorial content.
The Statement of Policy on use of Alternative Finance in BBC Content , the Policy Statement on Ticketing for BBC Public Service Events , the BBC World Service Statement of Policy for Sources of Finance Other Than the Licence Fee  and the Advertising and Sponsorship Guidelines for BBC Commercial Services all set editorial content standards in their relevant areas.
Partnership is a relationship between the BBC and one or more third-party organisations which aims to deliver mutually beneficial outcomes in the form of:
- contributions, albeit often of different types from all those involved
- creation of designated partnership activities
- shared responsibility and accountability.
Editorial partnership is a partnership that is connected to BBC-commissioned editorial content/brands. As with all editorial content the BBC must maintain independent editorial control over its content and brands.
Joint editorial initiative is where the BBC joins with another organisation for a one-off project or initiative.
It is not intended to form a long-term relationship and is therefore not a formal partnership. Rather it is where both organisations share a common aim and it may be appropriate to share resources and reference each other to extend the experience for the audience. Joint editorial initiatives are typically used in relation to one programme or a specific piece of content.
Co-production is an arrangement whereby BBC output is created, commissioned or otherwise obtained by the BBC in co-operation with one or more appropriate third parties, and where funding is provided in exchange for broadcasting, publishing or other rights in the material.
Co-funding for Public Services is financing for output by not-for-profit bodies in minority languages, such as BBC Alba, and other limited circumstances including learning and educational output targeted at a specific section of the audience, where it might be unjustifiable to fund the output entirely from the licence fee.
External funding occurs when any public or private undertaking (including but not limited to an individual) finances, but does not co-produce or sponsor, editorial content. An external funder may not receive any promotion within or around the content either within the editorial content or through a sponsor credit. However, for reasons of transparency an external funder must receive acknowledgment in the end credits or adjacent to the editorial content. Such external funding usually comes in the form of a grant. External funders are not co-producers because the primary purpose of the financing is not the exchange of rights.
Sponsored editorial content (which may include a programme, channel, programme segment or block of programmes) is editorial content that has had some or all of its costs met by a sponsor. It includes advertiser-funded programmes. Sponsors must be identified by means of sponsorship credits.
Sponsor (of editorial content) means any public or private undertaking or individual (not engaged in the provision or production of content) who is funding the editorial content (or its publication or broadcast) with a view to promoting its name, products, services, trade marks and/or its activities.
There may also be sponsors of events and awards.
Distribution refers to the making available of content to viewers, listeners and other users. It can take a wide variety of forms across numerous different technologies and platforms and has to evolve constantly as new technologies and platforms are developed. It covers a broad range of activities including:
- transmission of broadcast TV and radio signals received directly by audiences
- syndication of services to managed platforms
- publishing individual assets to open online platforms.
Democratic governance content is a type of current affairs content on international services in BBC World Service Group that is aimed at improving democratic accountability by building greater understanding of the political process and institutions and by holding those in power to account. This is through citizens’ access to information and the ability to challenge or debate with holders of public office. It frequently gives citizens information about public institutions and how they operate, and the opportunity to question those holding power through formats such as debate, panel discussions, call-in shows or other events where leaders are held to account. Democratic governance content is targeted at audiences outside the UK.
Democratic governance is a category of editorial content which may be externally funded by appropriate external funders on the World Service and services which are not funded by the licence fee.
The sections of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code that relate to this are 9: Commercial References in Television Programming and 10: Commercial Communications in Radio Programming. Under the 2016 Charter, UK Public Services came under the provisions of Section 9 and Section 10 of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code for the first time.
 The BBC must not, without the prior approval of the appropriate Minister, include any sponsored material in any of its services. Broadcasting: An Agreement Between Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and the British Broadcasting Corporation 2016 Clause 50 (2).