The British Broadcasting Commission is an independent government agency that is responsible for the regulation of British broadcast media, both terrestrial and digital. It was created by Parliament in 1985 and has many members representing the different sectors and parts of the broadcasting industry. It has the duty to ensure compliance with the code of conduct for radio, television and sound recording. It enforces the BBC Charter, which regulates the performance of the BBC.
The BBC Charter is an independent statutory authority that oversees all matters concerning the Corporation. It consists of seven articles and includes some mandatory regulations and other discretionary ones. It was introduced by the then Conservative government in 1983 to protect the BBC and to ensure that the organisation was governed in line with the wishes and needs of the people who used it. This code of conduct has been modified on occasion in order to keep pace with developments in broadcasting and also to ensure that it meets the expectations of those who are not satisfied with it. It also incorporates the BBC Charter. Each year, the Code of Conduct is amended to reflect changes in communications law and the development of the broadcasting industry.
The Code of Conduct is designed to protect the BBC from breaches of policy. It covers complaints made against the BBC, complaints that are about the quality of programmes, and complaints regarding the conduct of employees. All complaints must be investigated by a senior member of staff at a senior level and that should be followed up in writing. If the complaint is upheld, the BBC may decide to investigate further or to take disciplinary action against the complaintee. It is for the BBC to determine the appropriate course of action for a complaint. If it decides that there is no case to answer then no further action is taken.