Radio Reception and TVL Home Visits

Mark made this Freedom of Information request to British Broadcasting Corporation

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by British Broadcasting Corporation.

Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

In RFI20121524, the BBC stated: "I can tell you that you do not need a TV licence if you only use a TV to listen to digital radio broadcasts and not to watch or record television programmes as they are being shown".

By reference to policy documentation, staff training materials or similar, please can you tell me:-

1. What process is used to distinguish Evaders' use of TVs from legitimate use of TVs (as per RFI20121524)? e.g. when a "Home visit" is undertaken, or during Search Warrant execution?

2. Is a householder's word deemed (by you) to be sufficient to make this distinction - generally, or in the event of "Home visit" or Search Warrant execution?

3. If a TV is capable of having channels deleted, is it a requirement of your policy that TV channels are deleted? e.g. in order to "pass inspection".

4. If a TV is not capable of having channels deleted, is it still compatible with the information provided in RFI20121524?

5. Do these principles apply to other items of equipment such as: VM, Sky, Freesat, Youview and Freeview set-top boxes, (in each case) with or without recording capability?

6. Any other information that will help the public understand the links and differences between what is permitted without a licence and what would be checked in the case of "Home visit" and/or Search Warrant execution?

Yours faithfully,

Mark on behalf of Licencefree.co.uk

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

2 Attachments

Dear Mark,

 

Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI20130095.

 

Yours sincerely,

Theresa Pollard

 

BBC Information Policy and Compliance

Room BC2 B6 Broadcast Centre

Wood Lane

London W12 7TP

 

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882

Fax: 020 8008 2398

 

[3]Description: Description: \\BBCFS2025\UserData$\myrien01\Documents\My
Pictures\BBC.png

 

 

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Dear FOI Enquiries,

The essence of my question is this:

if the BBC is guiding lawfully unlicensed people to use TV equipment to receive Freeview Radio, how does this guidance affect the work of TVL doorstep staff?

In what way(s) can legitimate use (for radio reception) be differentiated from evasion (during examination & test of equipment) if there is no difference in configuration?

Yours sincerely,

Mark on behalf of LicenceFree.co.uk

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

I think you're aware Mark, that TVL has no way, at all, of differentiating between the reception of Freeview radio (requires no licence) and Freeview TV (requires licence).

I wouldn't expect the BBC to provide a simple answer like that.

Mark left an annotation ()

Just trying to get some transparency from this most opaque organisation.

Watchkeeper left an annotation ()

Didn't you see the BBC's response to RFI20130094?

"Only pass the minimum necessary information".

That's the mindset we're dealing with.

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mark,

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as detailed in your email below. Your request was received on 16th February 2013. We will deal with your request as promptly as possible, and at the latest within 20 working days. If you have any queries about your request, please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your request is RFI20130281.

Kind regards

The Information Policy & Compliance Team

BBC Freedom of Information
BC2 B6, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP

www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882

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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

2 Attachments

Dear Mark,

 

Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI20130281. I apologise for the delay in responding to your
request.

 

Yours sincerely,

Theresa Pollard

 

BBC Information Policy and Compliance

Room BC2 B6 Broadcast Centre

Wood Lane

London W12 7TP

 

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882

Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]Description: Description: \\BBCFS2025\UserData$\myrien01\Documents\My
Pictures\BBC.png

 

 

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References

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1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Mr Hillas left an annotation ()

How can disclosing whether lawfully listening to radio via freeview unlicensed is prejudicial to enforcing tv broadcast receiving licence when the BBC themselves have admitted that so listening to radio is lawful?

BBC FoI staff seem to have taken leave of their senses.

Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of British Broadcasting Corporation's handling of my FOI request 'Radio Reception and TVL Home Visits'.

Given that the BBC has established itself as sole arbiter of what is lawful in respect of the use of AV equipment in people's homes, I believe it is incumbent upon them to be clear about the rules that it will apply in particular circumstances, so that citizens can assist the BBC with a degree of confidence of avoiding false or unfair prosecution.

To paraphrase Liberty: the rules must be clear so that citizens know how to modify their behaviour in order to remain on the correct side of the law.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ra...

Yours faithfully,

Mark

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mark,

We have received your request for an internal review relating to our handling of your request. Your request for an internal review was received 5th April 2013. We shall deal with the review within 30 working days. If you have any queries please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your internal review is IR2013037.

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
BC2B6, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane,
London, W12 7TP

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/foi/
Email: [BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

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Dear FOI Enquiries,

This request for Internal Review is now somewhat overdue. Please can you provide an update?

Yours sincerely,

Mark on behalf of LicenceFree.co.uk

Dear FOI Enquiries,

This request is now well overdue, and there was no response to my previous request for an update.

Please advise.

I will wait 10 working days, and then re-raise this as a new request.

Yours sincerely,

Mark on behalf of LicenceFree.co.uk

Mark Salter left an annotation ()

Complete failure to conduct an internal review is also a matter you can involve the ICO for.

Might I suggest opening a case with the ICO, since their process is also very slow moving :-(

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

This is something we have previously sought disclosure over, and we actually got an answer:

FOIA request: http://tv-licensing.blogspot.co.uk/2012/... (see page 2 of disclosure document).
Our article: http://tv-licensing.blogspot.co.uk/2012/...

J. Jones left an annotation ()

It looks to me they do not want to answer the request, because there is such a thin legal line, between.
1. A person with no TVL using a TV ONLY legally, to listen to radio stations.
2. A person with no TVL using that same TV to watch live broadcasts illegally.

Technology has overtaken the law to such a huge degree, so they are stuffed!

D Westwood left an annotation ()

Where is this internal review from April?

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Please can you provide an update.

Yours sincerely,

Mark

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

I believe you've had what's known as "the brush-off".
The BBC do that a lot - mainly when they're trying to escape the blame for something that is entirely their fault. Can you go to the ICO? It's time to make a stand.

J. Jones left an annotation ()

Saying they did not understand the request is a load of rubbish - To simplify Rupinda:
If a TV is ONLY used as a Radio reciever, EG to listen to Radio four, is a TV licence required - yes or no?

D Westwood left an annotation ()

On 21 Jun 2013, at 15:08, "TVL - Customer-Relations" <TVL.Customer-Relations@capita.co.uk> wrote:

Dear Blah,

Thank you for your email of 14 June 2013, which has been passed to me for reply and has been recorded under your reference blah blah. Please use this number if you wish to contact us again.

I am very sorry that we have not been able to resolve your enquiry to your satisfaction, and hopefully I can clarify the exact position now. I must also apologise for the fact that the advice you were given in our email of 13 June was incorrect, and I have now referred this error to the advisor’s manager for feedback and training.

You asked the following question:

“Is there any legal/lawful objection to a cash-strapped household taking a 1 year “TV Licence Fee Holiday” by simply switching off their fully functional TV and ensuring that, without exception, it remains switched off for a 12 month period, thereby spending the entire year never using it to watch or record live programming as it is broadcast?”

The answer in response is:

There is no objection to a household taking this decision. Legally, the ownership of a television receiver does not require a TV Licence. Therefore if you choose not to switch your television receiver on for twelve months, you do not need a TV Licence during that period. Under the Communications Act 2003, a TV Licence is only required to watch or record live television programmes.

I trust that this has provided a clear answer to your question.

I would also like to take this opportunity to explain why we always ADVISE people in these circumstances to disconnect the aerial and remove the TV set from a power source as a precautionary, NOT A MANDATORY, measure.

I appreciate that you requested that we do not mention TV Licensing Officers in our response. HOWEVER, in order to give as full an explanation as possible, I would like to clarify that the reason we give this advice is because IF a TV Licensing Officer WAS to visit an address and WAS permitted to enter, AND the officer WAS to see a television receiver connected to an aerial and a power source, he or she would have reason to SUSPECT the unlicensed use of a television receiver. This COULD be observed without attempting to turn on the television set. IN TURN, this COULD POTENTIALLY lead to a Court case where the Court MIGHT reasonably (?!) believe that a TV receiver set up ready for use, was SUFFICIENT evidence of licence evasion.

However, as you have quite rightly said, the option remains for a person to deny entry to a Licensing Officer.... Clearly, in this instance, a Licensing Officer would not be able to see the television receiver connected to an aerial and a power source.

I trust that this has provided the clarity that you required, and I would like to apologise again for any frustration caused due to the misleading information that you were given following your initial enquiry. Yours sincerely Etc

^^ That letter is on the TV Licence Resistance forums. I have CAPITALISED some of the words for my own amusement.

Hope it helps :)

Mark left an annotation ()

This has been raised as an ICO complaint.

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

You might have problems with the ICO Mark.
The name "Mark" by itself is not a valid name for making a request.

Mark left an annotation ()

As far as I am aware, I have complied with the requirements of FOIA. If the ICO decide otherwise, that'll be interesting.

The complaint to the ICO is in my full name, as required under their procedures.

Mark left an annotation ()

The ICO has determined that the BBC must send this matter for Internal Review, to be reported upon within 20 working datys of 8/11/2013.

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

2 Attachments

Dear Sir,
 
Please find attached the response to your request for an internal review
of RFI20130095 and RFI20130281.
 
We offer our unreserved apologies for the delay that has occurred in the
processing of your request for an Internal Review. The BBC has received an
unprecedented volume of FOI requests over the last few months which has
led to delays and a backlog of cases which we are working to address. We
are taking steps to increase the resource available to the Information
Policy and Compliance team to prevent such delays occurring in future.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room BC2 B6 Broadcast Centre
Wood Lane
London W12 7TP
 
Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2882
Fax: 020 8008 2398

 
 
 

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References

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1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

J. Jones left an annotation ()

That is the most biased "Independant" review in favour of the BBC, that I have ever seen.
This is imprisonment of information - nothing less.

Mark left an annotation ()

I need to take some time and read the lengthy reply.

From what I can see so far, a complaint to the ICO is probably not justified - if they do not have the information, they do not have it.

However, a complaint to the BBC Executive is looks more than justified.