Freedom of Information Act

Requests for information about television licensing under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The BBC regularly receives requests for information about TV Licensing under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOI Act”).  This section sets out the answers to some of the frequently asked questions.  If you are considering making a FOI request, please first check whether the information you are seeking is available below. 

The BBC’s FOI Act website also contains information about TV Licensing and includes copies of FOI responses considered of wider interest in the disclosure logs. Please note that some of the information here and on the BBC’s FOI website is publicly accessible elsewhere, including under the BBC’s Publication Scheme.


While the BBC aims to be as open as possible, we are not required to make all information about TV Licensing publically available.  Some information requested under the FOI Act may be withheld where an exemption is applicable.   

The exemptions commonly applied to TV Licensing information are section 31, Law Enforcement and section 43(2), Commercial Prejudice.

Section 31 is relevant where disclosure of the information would prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. 

Section 43(2) is relevant where disclosure of the information would prejudice or would be likely to prejudice the commercial position of the BBC or any other person. 

Both of these exemptions are ‘qualified’ exemptions and subject to a public interest test.  This means that the BBC can only apply the exemptions to information when we are satisfied that the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it. 

General information on the use of exemptions under the FOI Act is available here.

Available information

The information available in this section has been divided into the following areas.

1. About TV Licensing

2. Financial information

3. Legal framework

4. Policies

  • Privacy policy
  • No licence needed policy
  • Refund policy
  • Licensable places policy

5. Facts and figures

  • Licenses in force
  • Concessions

About the TV Licence

  • Terms and conditions
  • Receiving your Licence
  • Paying for your TV Licence

7 Administering the License fee

  • TV Licensing database and data management
  • Mailings/letters and electronic communications
  • Evasion
  • Enquiry officers
  • Detection
  • Search warrants
  • Prosecutions

Didn't find what you’re looking for here?

Find out how to submit a Freedom of Information request to the BBC about TV Licensing.

Personal information

Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have the right to inquire of any organisation whether they hold your personal data, and to see a copy of that information. If you would like details of the information held about you by TV Licensing, then you will need to make a Subject Access Request and pay a £10 fee. Data protection enquiries relating to information held by TV Licensing can be made to the:
Data Protection Manager,
TV Licensing, Darlington,
DL98 1TL.

Like the right to information under the FOI Act, the right under the Data Protection Act is subject to exemptions which may affect our ability to supply information; each case will be dealt with on an individual basis.

Information about other people

If you are requesting personal information about other people or an address that is not your own, please note that we are not able to disclose this information to you. To do so would be in breach of the Data Protection Act.

Why is TV Licensing subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000?

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the FOI Act”) provides a general right of access to information held by public authorities. The BBC is a public authority for the purposes of the FOI Act in respect of information it holds for purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature.

Under the Communications Act 2003 the BBC is the public authority responsible for television licensing. The FOI Act therefore applies to all TV Licensing information held by and on behalf of the BBC by contractors engaged to administer the issue of licences and collection of the licence fee, subject to certain exemptions set out in the FOI Act.

Who has oversight of the way in which TV Licensing handles requests for official information and deals with personal information?

Official information

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the FOI Act”) gives a person the right to ask for official information from public authorities, including information - held for purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature – relating to television licensing held by the BBC or on behalf of the BBC by its TV Licensing agents.

If a person is not satisfied with a response received to a request under the FOI Act he or she has the right to an internal review by a BBC senior manager or legal adviser. If a person is not satisfied with the internal review, he or she can appeal to the Information Commissioner at the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, telephone 01625 545 700 or see

Personal information

The Data Protection Act 1998 sets rules about the way organisations, including the BBC and its TV Licensing agents, collect, use and store information about an identifiable individual (personal data). If a person has concerns about the way in which their personal data is processed by TV Licensing they can contact the Information Commissioner at the above address.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promote openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

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Freedom of Information Act (FOI)

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