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
Ms R Keane
By email: email@example.com
14 November 2014
Dear Ms Keane Freedom of information request – RFI20141766
Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the Act”) dated 27th October 2014
requesting the following information:-
1. Could you tell me how much the BBC spent on purchasing alcohol between 1 October 2013
and 26 October 2014 inclusive;
2. The names of companies that the BBC use to purchase Alcohol from;
3. Also could you tell me how much the BBC spent on purchasing flowers between 1 October
2013 and 26 October 2014 inclusive;
4. The names of companies that the BBC purchase their flowers from.
Response - Questions 1 & 2, Alcohol
The BBC has clear policies to ensure spend on hospitality is proportionate and we are always mindful
that we are spending public money. Production teams do on occasion provide hospitality for guests
BBC’s Expenses Policy
It may be useful at the outset if we explain a little about how the BBC’s Expenses Policy applies to the
purchase of alcoholic refreshments. Drinks may be purchased where there is an appropriate
business purpose, for example at award ceremonies or to celebrate the successful completion of a
series. The BBC has a rigorous expenses policy which has been progressively tightened and we are
careful to ensure value for money. How the BBC purchases alcoholic refreshments
The main way in which alcoholic refreshments can be ordered is through a single preferred supplier
and the details provided in this response relate to this supplier.
The purchase of alcoholic refreshments can also be arranged through the BBC’s providers of in-
house hospitality (for fully serviced events), by staff and claimed back via expenses (such as at award
ceremonies) or charged by an events company on an invoice. We estimate that these sums are
significantly lower but to provide the cost via these routes would take more than two and a half days
because for internal hospitality and events we would have to analyse charges to extract spend on
alcoholic refreshments. In the case of expenses, this would require detailed analysis of claims.
Under section 12 of the Act we are allowed to refuse to handle the request if it would exceed the
appropriate limit. The appropriate limit has been set by the Regulations (S1 2004/3244) as being
£450 (equivalent to two and half days work, at an hourly rate of £25).
We are not obliged to supply information which relates to the BBC’s commercial subsidiaries, as they
are not subject to the Act (see section 6(1) (b) (ii) of the Act). However, we are not able to separate
all of the data and therefore the figure below include costs incurred by all BBC divisions and
commercial subsidiaries, therefore, not all of the costs disclosed were met through the licence fee.
Production related information
BBC expenditure on alcoholic refreshments can be classified as non-production related ‘spend’ and
production related ‘spend’. Where the ‘spend’ is for production related purposes (e.g. in the case of
an end of series party) the information requested falls outside of the scope of the Act because it is
held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’ 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 by the
Act 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 however as we are not able to
separate production related spend, on this occasion we are happy to volunteer the following
information which would normally fall outside the scope of the Act. The information disclosed,
therefore contains non-production related and production related spend.
The total spent on alcohol for the period 1st October 2013 to 26th October 2014 with the BBC’s single
preferred supplier Majestic Wine PLC was £43,000.
Response - Questions 3 & 4, Flowers
The BBC’s financial accounting and e-expense systems are not set up to capture and report in a way
that would enable us to retrieve information related to the purchase of flowers as there are no
accounting codes designated for this type of spend.
If you are not satisfied with this response of information which is covered by the Act, 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. 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, telephone 01625 545700 or see http://www.ico.gov.uk/
Tracey Morris Head of Category Management