British Broadcasting Corporation Room BC2 B6 Broadcast Centre White City Wood Lane London W12 7TP
Telephone 020 8008 2882 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Information Policy & Compliance
Via email: email@example.com
10 March 2014
Dear Abigail, Freedom of Information request – RFI20140278
Thank you for your request to the BBC of 14 February 2014, seeking the following information
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000:
I understand that there are 28 language services operated by the BBC World Service.
Does the BBC conduct any recent internal assessment on the efficiency or impact by these 28
language services? By ‘efficiency or impact’, I mean to ask if there is any internal report on how
good or efficient these services are.
If you have such reports, can those reports be released to the public?
BBC World Service does not measure efficiency as such; we report on performance measures
agreed annually between the BBC and FCO, such as a Global Audience Estimate. Whilst specific
details related to the information you have requested are excluded from the Act, as outlined
below, you may be interested to see the BBC World Service Annual Review, which is published
and available at this link (please refer to page 52 for performance measurement in particular): http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/our_work/strategy/annualreport/2012_13.html
The information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes
of ‘journalism, art or literature.’ The BBC is therefore not obliged to provide this information to
you and will not be doing so on this occasion. Part VI of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that
information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters is only covered by the Act
if it is held for ‘purposes other
than those of journalism, art or literature”. The BBC is not required
to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that
supports and is closely associated with these creative activities.1
The limited application of the Act to public service broadcasters was to protect freedom of
expression and the rights of the media under Article 10 European Convention on Human Rights
(“ECHR”). The BBC, as a media organisation, is under a duty to impart information and ideas on
all matters of public interest and the importance of this function has been recognised by the
European Court of Human Rights. Maintaining our editorial independence is a crucial factor in
enabling the media to fulfil this function.
That said, the BBC makes a huge range of information available about our programmes and
content on bbc.co.uk. We also proactively publish information covered by the Act on our
publication scheme and regularly handle requests for information under the Act. Appeal Rights
The BBC does not offer an internal review when the information requested is not covered by the
Act. If you disagree with our decision you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. Contact
details are: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire,
SK9 5AF telephone 01625 545 700. www.ico.org.uk
Please note that should the Information Commissioner’s Office decide that the Act does cover
this information, exemptions under the Act might then apply.
Head of Business Affairs
BBC Global News
1 For more information about how the Act applies to the BBC please see the enclosure which follows this letter.
Please note that this guidance is not intended to be a comprehensive legal interpretation of how the Act applies to the
Freedom of Information
From January 2005 the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 gives a general right of access to all
types of recorded information held by public authorities. The Act also sets out exemptions from that
right and places a number of obligations on public authorities. The term “public authority” is defined in
the Act; it includes all public bodies and government departments in the UK. The BBC, Channel 4,
S4C and MG Alba are the only broadcasting organisations covered by the Act. Application to the BBC
The BBC has a long tradition of making information available and accessible. It seeks to be open and
accountable and already provides the public with a great deal of information about its activities. BBC
Audience Services operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week handling telephone and written
comments and queries, and the BBC’s website bbc.co.uk provides an extensive online information
It is important to bear this in mind when considering the Freedom of Information Act and how it
applies to the BBC. The Act does not apply to the BBC in the way it does to most public authorities in
one significant respect. It recognises the different position of the BBC (as well as Channel 4 and S4C)
by saying that it covers information “held for purposes other than those of journalism, art or
literature”. This means the Act does not apply to information held for the purposes of creating the
BBC’s output (TV, radio, online etc), or information that supports and is closely associated with these
A great deal of information within this category is currently available from the BBC and will continue
to be so. If this is the type of information you are looking for, you can check whether it is available on
the BBC’s website bbc.co.uk or contact BBC Audience Services.
The Act does apply to all of the other information we hold about the management and running of the
BBC. The BBC
The BBC's aim is to enrich people's lives with great programmes and services that inform, educate and
entertain. It broadcasts radio and television programmes on analogue and digital services in the UK. It
delivers interactive services across the web, television and mobile devices. The BBC's online service is
one of Europe's most widely visited content sites. Around the world, international multimedia
broadcaster BBC World Service delivers a wide range of language and regional services on radio, TV,
online and via wireless handheld devices, together with BBC World News, the commercially-funded
international news and information television channel.
The BBC's remit as a public service broadcaster is defined in the BBC Charter and Agreement. It is
the responsibility of the BBC Trust (the sovereign body within the BBC) to ensure that the
organisation delivers against this remit by setting key objectives, approving strategy and policy, and
monitoring and assessing performance. The Trustees also safeguard the BBC's independence and
ensure the Corporation is accountable to its audiences and to Parliament.
Day-to-day operations are run by the Director-General and his senior management team, the
Executive Board. All BBC output in the UK is funded by an annual Licence Fee. This is determined and
regularly reviewed by Parliament. Each year, the BBC publishes an Annual Report & Accounts, and
reports to Parliament on how it has delivered against its public service remit.