Broadcasting (Public Service Content) Bill (HC Bill 27)




Define public service content for the purposes of public service broadcasting.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Public service content

(1) For the purposes of the Communications Act 2003Communications Act 2003 “public service television
broadcasting” shall be construed as broadcasting material with public service
content, as defined in subsection (2).

(2) 5“Public service content” is content which is primarily produced in the United
Kingdom and which satisfies one or more of the following criteria—

(a) it comprises local, national, international news or current affairs which
is impartial, factual and objective;

(b) its primary purpose is to inform, educate or entertain children;

(c) 10its primary content is charitable or religious;

(d) the content would not otherwise be likely to be provided by the market
responding to consumer demand.

(3) Where the only criterion of public service content is that contained in
subsection (2)(d), the judgement relating to the likelihood of market failure
15shall be made by the National Audit Office, which must publish an opinion on
any matter referred to it by the Secretary of State pursuant to this section.

(4) No content shall be public service content if it fails to satisfy prevailing
standards of good taste and decency.

(5) Section 264 of the Communications Act 2003Communications Act 2003 is repealed.

2 20Payment of licence fee

(1) No licence fee revenue shall be paid to any broadcaster by the Secretary of State
for services which do not satisfy the criteria of public service content in section

Broadcasting (Public Service Content) BillPage 2

(2) It shall be the duty of the National Audit Office to keep under review the total
cost of public service television broadcasting.

(3) In pursuance of its duty under subsection (2) the National Audit Office must
conduct, in each calendar year after the year in which this Act is passed, a value
5for money audit of the expenditure incurred on the broadcasting of public
service content that is funded by the licence fee payer.

(4) The results of all audits conducted under this section shall be published in
reports which must be laid before both Houses of Parliament.

(5) The Secretary of State must by regulations provide for any costs incurred by
10the National Audit Office in the exercise of its duties under this Act to be
reclaimed from licence fee revenue.

(6) Regulations under subsection (5) shall be made by statutory instrument and
are subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of

3 15Short title, commencement and extent

(1) This Act may be cited as the Broadcasting (Public Service Content) Act 2011.

(2) This Act shall come into force on a day to be appointed by the Secretary of State
by order made by statutory instrument provided that such date shall be no
later than 1 January 2012.

(3) 20This Act extends to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.