British Broadcasting Corporation Room BC2 A4 Broadcast Centre White City Wood Lane London W12 7TP
Telephone 020 8008 2882 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
John Smith email@example.com
12 February 2021
Dear Mr Smith Request for Information – RFI20210098
Thank you for your request to the BBC of 16th January 2021under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 (‘the Act’) seeking the following information (each part of your request has been
numbered for ease of reference):
“Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,
1. How many people have cancelled their tv license in the last 12 months starting from June
2. How many people did you you prosecuted for not having a TV licence in the last 12 months
starting from June 2020?
3. How many of these people had a lawyer or access to leagal aid?
4. How many of these people had a were single parents?
5. How many of these people had a were women?”
Please note that “TV Licensing” is a trade mark used by companies contracted by the BBC to
administer the collection of television licence fees and enforcement of the television licensing
system. The majority of the administration of TV Licensing is contracted to Capita Business
Services Limited (‘Capita’). Over-the-counter services are provided by PayPoint plc (‘PayPoint’) in
the UK, and by the Post Office in the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. Target Group Limited
(‘Target’) is the supplier for the Simple Payment Plan. Marketing and printing services are
contracted to RAPP Limited (formerly Proximity London Limited). Media services are contracted
to Havas Media Limited. The BBC is a public authority in respect of its television licensing
functions and retains overal responsibility.
Please be advised the Act gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held
by public authorities; and that we are not required to create new information to respond to a
request, or give a judgement or opinion that is not already recorded.
link to page 2 link to page 2 Part 1
For your information, licences can be cancelled for a variety of reasons by customers who no
longer need a licence - for example, if they have moved into an address which already has one. TV
Licensing management information is reported on a monthly basis (fol owing the end of each
month) and comprises data relating to licences in force where the licence has been cancelled by
TV Licensing as a result of payment failure and
by customers themselves. As this does not
disaggregate the number of licences solely cancelled by customers, we do not hold
recorded information that enables us to answer your specific request.
Under our duty to advise and assist you, please note that a monthly breakdown of all cancellations
for the previous financial year (2019/20) is readily available on the TV Licensing website at https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/about/foi-licences-facts-and-figures-AB18. T
cancel ations figures are consolidated at the end of the financial year and intended to be published
on the TV Licensing website, following the publication of the TV Licensing Annual Review1
Please note that our routine information terms some cancellations as expired, depending on the
circumstances of the cancellation, and these are not reported as cancelled licences. To reiterate,
the cancellations information on the website relates to licences in force where the licence has
been cancelled by TV Licensing as a result of payment failure, and by customers themselves.
Therefore these figures cannot be taken to mean solely the number of licences cancelled by
customers during this period. Part 2
By way of background, it is an offence to watch or record television programmes as they are being
shown on any channel and on any broadcast platform (terrestrial, satel ite, cable and the internet)
or download or watch BBC programmes on demand, including catch up TV, on BBC iPlayer
without a valid TV Licence. TV Licensing gives people every opportunity to pay as we would
prefer not to prosecute. Before we visit addresses, we communicate with unlicensed customers
over a period of time on how to spread the cost and detail the independent financial support
available. We also work with almost 350 community organisations throughout the UK to help
people understand licensing requirements and the legal process.
First-time evaders have several opportunities to buy a licence before a case comes to court. This
is explained in our Prosecution Code2
which is given to people at their addresses if they are at risk
of prosecution, and is also published on the TV Licensing website. TV Licensing will prosecute
evaders if it is in the public interest and there is sufficient evidence to do so.
With regard to your specific request, as stated on the TV Licensing website at https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/about/foi-administering-the-licence-fee-AB20
(under the sub-heading
“How many licence fee evaders are prosecuted and convicted of not having a valid TV Licence?”);
the BBC does not hold official statistics on the precise numbers of people actually prosecuted or
convicted for evasion of the Television Licence Fee. For England and Wales this information is
1 Due to the impact of the Coronavirus, the publication date this year wil be delayed.
retained both by the Ministry of Justice and individual magistrates’ courts. Further relevant
information - including details of the relevant judicial bodies in Northern Ireland and Scotland - is
available on the TV Licensing website on the web-link provided.
Parts 3 and 4
The BBC does not hold this information.
The BBC does not hold official statistics and I advise that you contact the relevant judicial bodies
for this information. Under our duty to advise and assist you,
prosecutions and convictions data -
including a gender breakdown of defendants - for England and Wales for the period 2014 to 2019
(the most recent data available) can be found at the below link to the Criminal Justice System
statistics publication: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-december-
If you are not satisfied that we have complied with the Act in responding to your request, you
have the right to an internal review by a BBC senior manager or legal adviser. Please contact us at
the address above, explaining what you would like us to review and including your reference
number. A request for an internal review must be made within 40 working days of receiving the
BBC’s response to your original request.
If you are not satisfied with the internal review, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner.
The contact details are: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, Tel: 0303 123 1113 or see https://ico.org.uk/.
Rupinder Panesar Freedom of Information Advisor, TV Licensing Management Team