The ICO exists to empower you through information.

What can I complain to the BBC about?

Complaints to the BBC are split into five categories: 

  • Editorial complaints.
  • General complaints.
  • TV licensing complaints.
  • Complaints about the allocation of party-election, party-political and referendum-campaign broadcasts.
  • Regulatory complaints.

In this guidance, we provide details of its editorial complaints process because complaints about its journalistic standards are likely to fall into this category. You can find more information on the other types of BBC complaint in the BBC Complaint Framework and Procedures.

What are the BBC Editorial Guidelines? 

The BBC Editorial Guidelines are the BBC’s own code of conduct and standards. All content that the BBC broadcasts or publishes is expected to keep to them.

You can complain to the BBC about any published or broadcast content that you believe breaches the Editorial Guidelines. You can also complain to Ofcom if you are not satisfied with how the BBC has dealt with your complaint, once you have completed the BBC complaints process.

Do I always need to complain directly to the BBC before complaining to Ofcom?

This depends on what your complaint is about. If it is about the BBC’s compliance with the privacy or fairness sections of its Editorial Guidelines and you are someone directly affected, you have a choice. You can complain directly to the BBC or, if you wish, raise your concern directly with Ofcom who will then assess your complaint against the Ofcom Broadcasting code. Ofcom does recommend trying to resolve the matter with the BBC directly before contacting them, and you cannot pursue your complaint with the BBC and Ofcom at the same time. Please also bear in mind that if you wish to complain to the ICO about a breach of data protection law by the BBC regarding privacy, you will first need to complain to the BBC directly.

If your complaint is about other sections of the Editorial Guidelines, you will need to complete the BBC’s complaints process before complaining to Ofcom.

How can I raise my concern with the BBC?

You can raise a concern about BBC journalistic content:

  • by telephone on 03700 100 222
  • by text phone on 03700 100 212, or
  • in writing to the following address:

BBC Complaints
PO Box 1922

If your complaint is about the BBC's World Service, the postal address is:

Audience Relations Team
1st Floor Brock House
19 Langham Street

What can I do if I disagree with the BBC’s decision about my complaint?

If you are not satisfied with the BBC’s decision on your complaint, you may be able to escalate it to the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit. If this is possible with your particular complaint, the BBC will explain how to do it.

If, having completed the BBC’s complaints process, you are still not satisfied, you can complain to Ofcom.