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About BBC and TV Licensing

TV Licensing: who are they and what are they authorised to do by law?

In short, TV Licensing (TVL) IS the BBC.

TVL is given the appearance of a separate legal authority from the BBC where in reality they are one and the same. This obfuscation is deliberate and once the truth is learnt, most find the scale of misinformation quite shocking.

The Technicalities

As indicated above, TVL is not a Government agency, and the acronym ‘TVLA’ for TV Licensing ‘Authority’ is not accurate.

TVL is actually a registered trade mark of the BBC, and is one of its internal departments. See the proof yourself here and click on the ‘Names and Addresses’ tab for the Intellectual Property owner of the trade mark: IPO (gov.uk link)

A check of the Enhanced Verification (EV) green SSL certificate of the BBC’s TVL website also reveals the truth. The EV SSL certificate always displays the owner’s legal name of the website domain.

TVL is not independent of the BBC, in fact Comic Relief is more independent of the BBC than TVL. This raises questions of conflict of interest and non-accountability.

TVL is a hybrid created as a BBC department but also as a way to distance Licence enforcement from the BBC and to cover a series of outsourcing arrangements, the main one being with Capita.

It is the BBC that is legally the licensing agency, and TVL is simply the brandname that it chooses to trade under for that activity.

The Practicalities

What do TVL do? The two main items in the TVL arsenal are their threatening Letters and their threatening Doorsteppers (aka Goons). They also have the option to request Search Warrants when there is evidence of evasion, but these are incredibly rare, and so can be discounted by most people who do not need a TV Licence.

And what don’t they do? The first thing to know is that detector vans are firmly a part of history. Whether they ever worked is open to speculation, but now they are never routinely used, and they have never been used as the basis of any Court case.

The Remit

The hoax nature of TV Licensing starts with its lack of remit. The BBC spends over £100m a year on TVL, but doesn’t have a remit for it? That’s ridiculous.

  • TVL does not have democratic accountability
  • TVL does not have a published remit
  • There’s no remit in legislation
  • The BBC, when questioned, will not say what TVL’s legal remit is
  • TVL does not have a proper regulatory body (…yet)
  • TVL pretends to be what it isn’t, and is incapable of telling the Public the truth about who it is and what it does.

TV Licensing is probably the biggest, most audacious hoax ever perpetrated on the British Public.

What BBC/TVL says

We asked: What is the remit of TVL?
They said: “That information is a matter of legal privilege and we will not disclose it to the public*”.
* Or words to that effect

The Consequences

If TVL were a well-behaved organisation then it wouldn’t matter if their remit was weak or non-existent. Unfortunately, that’s far from being the case. TVL policy issues include:-

  • Sending millions of threatening, misleading letters designed to intimidate citizens and undermine their rights
  • Attempting to make 4m unwarranted “home visits” per year without proper authority
  • Commission payments made to staff for taking prosecution statements
  • 350,000+ Interviews under Caution that breach PACE requirements
  • A Search Warrant process that is not consistent with the law

Let’s call “time” on this ridiculous charade. Enough is enough.