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How we handle your complaint

   Overview

   Step 1: Complain online, by phone or post within 30 working days.

   Step 2: We circulate your complaint overnight to producers and managers.

   If you complain in writing, we’ll normally respond in 2 weeks.

   If you call, we summarise and circulate your complaint but won’t reply (unless you can’t write in because of a disability).

   We respond in public to significant issues but not everything.

   Step 3: Hopefully you don't need to take it further.

   If necessary please write again within 20 working days. Include your case number to help us.

   We’ll reply in a similar period. If you can take it further we’ll tell you how.

   We and Ofcom publish regular reports on complaints.
   Read our full Complaints Framework

Like other organisations we have fewer staff currently able to work because of the coronavirus pandemic. We would ask if you would not complain unless it is essential, and appreciate your understanding if we may not be able to respond within our normal service times.
What to expect

   We circulate your complaint in full with all the other reaction we receive overnight for producers and managers to read and consider. Please complain centrally in writing or we can’t guarantee you a reply. We investigate possible breaches of standards but won’t reply in detail to views and other comments. We are experiencing reduced staff numbers because of the coronavirus pandemic, and would appreciate your understanding if we are unable to respond within normal service times.

   People’s opinions about our work vary widely but this may not imply a breach of standards. For example, last-minute scheduling changes can never please everyone. So our reply may not always be what someone may wish for, but if we are at fault we will apologise.  Please read the complete BBC Complaints Framework for full details.

How does the BBC react to complaints?

   We judge the issues they raise against BBC Editorial Guidelines, Ofcom’s expected standards and audience research. If we are at fault, if necessary we’ll take steps to avoid it happening again. The BBC’s Editorial Standards Board reviews complaints each month and reports to the BBC Board. This informs any reviews of editorial, compliance or other policies.

Does the number of complaints make a difference?

   No. We’re concerned about each complaint, but what matters is whether the BBC acted wrongly. If so we apologise, if not we try to explain in our reply. If others complain about the same issue as you, our responses will be the same for efficiency. If we come under pressure from petitions, lobbies or from elsewhere we will defend our independence if necessary.

Ofcom

   Please complain to the BBC first. The BBC’s regulator Ofcom may later consider a complaint but only after the BBC has replied in full. If so we’ll tell you how to contact Ofcom. The exception is for a complaint about alleged unfairness or infringement of privacy to you (not someone else). These can be made either to the BBC or Ofcom first, but not to both.

Misuse of the service

   We will treat you with courtesy and respect and expect the same consideration to be shown to staff. If you misuse the service we may stop correspondence or prevent your future access to it.


Further Information

   BBC complaints reports

Fortnightly complaints reports

Executive Complaints Unit findings

Executive Complaints Unit archived reports

Public BBC responses to complaints

   Useful links

BBC Complaints Framework

Corrections & Clarifications

BBC Editorial Guidelines

Commercial BBC services complaints

Archived BBC Trust complaints appeals 

TV Licensing complaints 

   Ofcom

Ofcom website 

Ofcom complaints bulletins 

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