About TV Licensing

What is TV Licensing and the role of the BBC

"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 Ltd (‘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. Marketing and printing services are contracted to Proximity London Ltd. Media services are contracted to Havas Media. The BBC is a public authority in respect of its television licensing functions and retains overall responsibility.

The BBC is required to issue TV Licences and collect the licence fee under the Communications Act 2003.

The BBC’s contracts with companies engaged to administer the television licensing system are managed by the BBC’s TV Licensing Management Team. The team sits within the BBC’s finance and business division, and ultimately reports to the BBC’s Executive Board. The BBC is governed by the BBC Trust which represents the interests of licence fee payers and sets the overall strategy.

The BBC is a corporation incorporated under Royal Charter granted by the Queen under the Royal Prerogative. The current Royal Charter was granted to the BBC on 19 September 2006. It took effect on 1 January 2007 and will expire on 31 December 2016.

The Royal Charter is the basis for the BBC’s existence. It sets out the BBC’s public purposes and guarantees its editorial independence. It prescribes the constitution of the BBC, the relationship between its Executive Board and the BBC Trust, and the duties and functions of both bodies.

The Agreement between the BBC and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport complements the Royal Charter. It sets out the BBC’s public obligations in detail, and covers the BBC's regulatory obligations and funding arrangements.

The Royal Charter and the Agreement provide the constitutional basis for the BBC.

Who reviews, and has oversight of TV Licensing?

The BBC’s contracts with companies engaged to administer the television licensing system are managed by the BBC’s TV Licensing Management Team. The team sits within the BBC’s finance and business division, and ultimately reports to the BBC’s Executive Board. The BBC is governed by the BBC Trust which represents the interests of licence fee payers and sets the overall strategy.

A report of the BBC Trust’s review of licence fee collection was published in March 2009. The report made a number of recommendations that the BBC Executive is in the process of implementing – Download the report action plan (PDF 482Kb).

KPMG are the BBC’s auditors. They review statements from TV Licensing contractors as part of annual independent audits of the BBC. The BBC is also subject to ad hoc National Audit Office audits and annual independent internal BBC audits. The TV Licensing Management Team is part of this process, which also includes audit of statements from TV Licensing agents.

The licence fee is imposed by law (the Communications Act 2003) enacted by Parliament. The licence fee amount is approved by Parliament in regulations made pursuant to that Act. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is the responsible government agency for broadcasting in the UK.

In respect of its powers to use detection equipment under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (British Broadcasting Corporation) Order 2001 the BBC is subject to the independent oversight of the Office of Surveillance Commissioners (“the OSC”). The OSC regularly inspects the BBC’s use of detection powers, and the BBC must satisfy the OSC that any use of detection equipment is lawful.

How can I contact TV Licensing?

TV Licensing can be contacted via:

For enquiries about the TV Licensing payment card scheme:

Payment Card Customer Relations
TV Licensing
PO Box 181
Preston
PR1 3GE

For enquiries about the TV Licensing savings card scheme:

TSC Customer Relations TV Licensing
PO Box 1101
Preston
PR2 0BX

Who is head of TV Licensing?

Pipa Doubtfire heads the BBC’s TV Licensing Management Team, which is based at:

The Lighthouse
BBC White City
201 Wood Lane
London
W12 7TQ

Who is responsible for customer relations at TV Licensing?

The TV Licensing Operations Director, currently Alison Roberts.

Why does the BBC use contractors to administer the television licensing system?

It is more cost effective than the BBC undertaking these functions in-house. Contracts are awarded following completion of competitive procurement processes undertaken in accordance with EU Public Procurement Regulations.

More information can about BBC partners and suppliers can be found at:

www.bbc.co.uk/partnersandsuppliers/

What major contracts does the BBC have with companies engaged to administer the television licensing system?

The BBC contracts the companies listed below to administer the collection of TV Licence fees and enforcement of the television licensing system in the UK:

  • Proximity London Ltd
  • Capita Business Services Ltd
  • Paypoint plc
  • Communisis
  • Havas Media

This information is correct as at August 2015.

Who are the directors of the companies contracted by the BBC to administer the TV licensing system?

This information is available from the Companies House, the government agency responsible for registering companies. They can be contacted at:

Phone: +44 (0)303 1234 500

Email: enquiries@companies-house.gov.uk

Postal address:
Companies House
Crown Way
Maindy
CF14 3UZ
Cardiff

How does the BBC monitor the performance of companies engaged to administer the television licensing system?

The BBC’s TV Licensing Management Team is responsible for ensuring that these companies comply with contractual obligations, and that service standards are continually improving. The contracts define service levels, and specify that contractors must comply, where applicable, with the statutory requirements (such as data protection and equality legislation) incumbent upon the BBC as the responsible public authority in respect of television licensing.

What services is PayPoint plc contracted to provide for TV Licensing?

PayPoint is contracted by the BBC to process, via over the counter collection (facilitated by PayPoint agents):

  • Cash Payment Plans (which allows individuals to spread the cost of a TV Licence by making weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments by cash, credit or debit card)
  • TV Licensing Savings Card payments (which allows individuals to save towards their next TV Licence – it replaced the TV Licensing Savings Stamps)
  • Payment for a TV Licence from individuals
  • Transferring specified transaction data and payments to the BBC and/or its nominated contractors.
How many staff are employed by Capita?

Capita are evaluated on value for money, service delivery and revenue collected. Staffing levels are a matter for Capita.

Does TV Licensing make phone calls to people about licences?

Yes. TV Licensing makes phone calls to ask people to buy or renew a TV Licence or to make general licensing enquiries.

Who provides public relations activities for TV Licensing?

The National PR function is performed in-house. We continue to use specialised regional PR support from agencies based in the regions.

TV Licensing's use of phone numbers

TV Licensing moved from 0844 to 0300 at the beginning of 2010. This means calls to TV Licensing are charged at no more than a standard national rate from all landlines and mobile phones, and in most cases will count towards inclusive minutes in phone contracts from telecom network operators.

This change was in line with recommendations made in the BBC Trust’s review report (PDF 456KB) into how the licence fee is collected. It provides a cheaper way for the public to contact us and is part of our ongoing work to make licence fee payers’ dealings with TV Licensing as easy and cost-effective as possible.