British Broadcasting Corporation Room BC2 A4 Broadcast Centre White City Wood Lane London W12 7TP
Telephone 020 8008 2882 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Elliott Riley email@example.com
25 May 2021
Dear Mr Elliott Riley,
Freedom of Information request – RFI20210690
Thank you for your request to the BBC of 26 April 2021 seeking the following information under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’):
“Please can I request all the correspondence between Andrew Neil and the conservative party
If held, the information you requested is held for the purposes of ‘art, journalism or literature’.
The Act provides that the BBC is not obliged to disclose this type of information and we will not
be disclosing the information on this occasion.
Part VI of Schedule 1 to the Act 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 activities1.
This is an important way that the BBC and other public service broadcasters can preserve their
independence by ensuring information about matters including editorial decisions about
programming and budgets allocated to such programming, are not subject to undue public
scrutiny. It is important that the BBC is an independent and impartial news organisation.
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 BBC.
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.
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. However, the BBC makes a huge range of information available
about our programmes and content on https://bbc.co.uk.
Notwithstanding the above, we can confirm that the BBC does not hold the information you
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, tel: 0303 123 1113 or see https://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.
Information Rights BBC Legal
Freedom of Information
From January 2005 the Act 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 resource.
It is important to bear this in mind when considering the 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 creative activities.
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'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 Ofcom (the BBC’s independent regulator) to
ensure that the organisation delivers against this remit by setting key objectives, approving
strategy and policy, and monitoring and assessing performance. Ofcom also safeguard the
BBC's independence and ensure the BBC is accountable to its audiences and to Parliament.