This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'BBC TV Licence Fee Evasion Detectors'.

British Broadcasting Corporation Room BC2 B6 Broadcast Centre White City Wood Lane London W12 7TP  
Telephone 020 8008 2882 Email xxx@xxx.xx.xx 
Information Policy & Compliance 
Sean Moran 
Email to: 
10th April 2014 
Dear Sean, 
Freedom of Information Act 2000 – RFI20140454 
Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act (‘the Act’) of 17th March 2014, 
“1. Does the BBC manufacture its own hand-held TV Licence Fee evasion detectors?  
2. Does the BBC manufacture its own van-based TV Licence Fee evasion detectors? 
3. Does the BBC hold any patents on any of its different TV Licence Fee evasion detectors? If so 
please provide patent numbers. 
4. If the BBC doesn't manufacture its own TV Licence Fee evasion detectors (hand-held or van-
based) who does it buy this equipment from and what does each different piece of equipment 
In response: 
1. Does the BBC manufacture its own hand-held TV Licence Fee evasion detectors? 
The hand-held detectors are manufactured by the BBC. Certain components, or assembly of those 
components, may be commissioned by the BBC from third parties. 
2. Does the BBC manufacture its own van-based TV Licence Fee evasion detectors? 
The van-based detection systems are manufactured by the BBC. Certain components, or assembly 
of those components, may be commissioned by the BBC from third parties. 

3. Does the BBC hold any patents on any of its different TV Licence Fee evasion detectors? 
If so please provide patent numbers. 
Under section 1(1) of the Act, we can confirm that the BBC does not hold the information 
you have requested because the BBC does not patent or register designs for such equipment; the 
reason for this being that if the BBC registered a patent for such a device, the details (i.e. how it 
works) would be made public. Such public availability would potentially aid evasion of the Licence 
4. If the BBC doesn't manufacture its own TV Licence Fee evasion detectors (hand-held or 
van-based) who does it buy this equipment from and what does each different piece of 
equipment cost? 
We can confirm under section 1(1) of the Act that the BBC holds further information relevant to 
your request.  However, we are withholding it because we consider that the requested 
information is exempt from disclosure under section 31(1)(a), b), (d) and (g) and 2(a) of the Act,  
i.e. disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention or detection of crime, the 
collection of the licence fee and the BBC’s ability to discharge its public functions in respect of 
such matters.  This is because it would provide information of use to those seeking to evade 
and/or assist others in evading paying the licence fee. 
As section 31 is a qualified exemption, we are required by section 2(2) of the Act to assess 
whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in 
disclosing the information.  
Consideration of the public interest test 
The following factors are in favour of disclosure:  
1.  Ensuring that the licensing authority is exercising its functions appropriately and 
proportionately; and 
2.  Ensuring that public funds are being appropriately applied, that is: 
ensuring that the TV Licensing system is being efficiently run; and 
ensuring that value for money is being obtained. 
I consider that the above public interest factors in favour of disclosure are served by the 
1.  The fact that the BBC is inspected by an independent body - the Office of Surveillance 
Commissioners - which monitors the BBC’s compliance with legislation regarding 
detection every three years, and in doing so ensures that the public are not unfairly or 
unlawfully subject to detection. 

2.  The BBC is required to satisfy the National Audit Office ('NAO') as to the value for money 
of the collection and enforcement arrangements and is accountable for the economy, 
efficiency and effectiveness of such arrangements. NAO's most recent audit is published on 
the NAO website at   
3.  The BBC has reduced the cost of collection from 6.2% of the total licence fee collected in 
1991/2, when it took over this responsibility from the Home Office, to 3.0% for the 
financial year 12/13.  This demonstrates that the TV Licensing system is being efficiently 
run.  This and further related information is available in the BBC’s annual report (see and the TV Licensing Annual Review (
In addition, the following factors are in favour of withholding the information:  
1.  The BBC has a duty to enforce the television licensing system and it is essential that 
evasion is kept to a minimum.   
2.  Part of keeping evasion to a minimum is maintaining uncertainty as to TV Licensing’s 
enforcement practices.  This includes safeguarding information relating to the details of the 
manufacture of any detection equipment that is used by enquiry officers.  This uncertainty 
contributes to the deterrent effect which is an important part of TV Licensing’s 
enforcement strategy. 
3.  Without an effective deterrent to licence fee evasion, evasion would invariably increase.  
This would be to the detriment of the honest majority of people who are properly licensed 
and to the overall amount of revenue available to the BBC.   
4.  An increase in the rate of licence fee evasion would lead to an increase in enforcement 
costs and may lead to more prosecutions. 
5.  An increase in enforcement costs would lead to a decrease in the available funds to be put 
towards producing the BBC’s content. 
In this instance, the public interest is served by maintaining an effective deterrent to licence fee 
evasion.  This in turn protects the BBC’s revenue stream and keeps prosecutions to a minimum. 
I have concluded that there is a greater public interest in ensuring the effective collection of the 
licence fee than in disclosing the information you have sought.  I am therefore satisfied, in terms of 
section 2 of the Act, that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the 
exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.  
The Information Commissioner has acknowledged in his Decision Notice FS50476136 that there is 
a very strong public interest in the BBC being able to enforce the television licensing system and in 
not disclosing information which could impede the deterrent effect. 
Additionally, we would generally withhold information that would reveal a negotiated position (e.g. 
pricing) between the BBC and a third party as we would consider such information to be exempt 
from disclosure under section 43(2) of the Act as disclosure would be likely to prejudice the 
commercial interests of the BBC and/or its supplier. 

Appeal Rights 
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. 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 545 700 or see  
Yours sincerely, 
Kate Leece 
Head of Legal and Business Affairs 
BBC Future Media and Technology