Freedom of Information Act

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

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

The BBC’s FOI 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 this 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 publicly 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. Legal framework

3. Financial information

4. Policies

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

5. Licences facts and figures

  • Licences in force
  • Cancellations
  • Concessions

6 About the TV Licence

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

7 Administering the Licence fee

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

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

Find out how to submit an FOI request to the BBC about TV Licensing.

Personal data

Under article 15 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 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 can do so by making a Subject Access Request (SAR). Data protection enquiries relating to information held by TV Licensing can be made to the Data Protection Manager via the following channels:

By email at TVL.Policy@capita.co.uk.

By post to the Data Protection Manager, TV Licensing, Darlington, DL98 1TL*.

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

Further information on your rights as a data subject under data protection can be found in the TV Licensing Privacy Policy.

Information about other people

If you are requesting personal data 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 law.

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

The Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act 2000 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 TV Licensing's handling of requests for official information and deals with personal data?

Official information

The Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act 2000 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 contractors.

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, phone 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 700 (national rate) or see www.ico.org.uk (opens in a new window).

Personal data

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – which supersedes the Data Protection Act 1998 - sets rules about the way organisations, including the BBC and its TV Licensing contractors, collect, use and store information about an identifiable individual (personal data). If a person has concerns about how 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.

About us

Freedom of Information Act (FOI)Link for Freedom of Information Act (FOI)

Latest press releases

TV Licensing assures customers that implementing the new over 75s licence fee concession will be Covid-19 safe
Thu Jul 09 2020
Following the BBC Board’s confirmation that the BBC will begin the new scheme covering the over 75s licence fee concession from 1 August this year, TV Licensing is assuring customers that implementation of the new scheme will be Covid-19 safe.
Thousands of black and white TVs still in use as BBC One in colour hits 50
Wed 13 Nov 2019
As BBC One celebrates its 50th anniversary of colour television this week, TV Licensing has revealed that more than 6,500 UK households are still watching TV programmes on black and white TV sets.
Over 20,000 young people interviewed for watching TV without a TV Licence
Tue Oct 22 2019
More than 20,000 young people aged 18 to 25 have been interviewed by TV Licensing Visiting Officers for watching live TV or BBC iPlayer without a valid licence in the last year, according to figures released by TV Licensing.

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