Section 10: Politics, Public Policy and Polls


The principles relating to our political impartiality are set out in the Agreement accompanying the BBC Charter and are central to our coverage of politics and public policy.  Over an appropriate timeframe we must aim to give due weight and prominence to all the main strands of argument and to all the main parties.  Although the government of the day will often be the primary source of news, the voices and opinions of other parties must also be routinely aired and challenged.  The Guidelines in this section should be read in conjunction with Section 4 Impartiality.

Opinion polls, surveys, questionnaires, phone and online votes are useful and fruitful ways of listening to our audiences.  However, when we report them, the audience must be able to trust that the research - and our reporting of it - is robust.  To avoid misleading the audience, we should be rigorous in using precise language and in our scrutiny of the methodology.

We must also avoid commissioning any of our own research that could suggest a BBC position on a particular policy or issue.

This section of the Guidelines is intended to help those making output for the BBC, who wish to include polls, surveys and questionnaires in their content, to do so appropriately, meeting the requirements of due accuracy and impartiality.

(See Section 3 Accuracy and Section 4 Impartiality)