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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 February, 2005, 16:37 GMT
New complaints process launched
The BBC has launched a new procedure for handling editorial complaints.

The aim is to make it easier for audiences to complain about programmes and services, and for the BBC to respond promptly and fairly.

All complaints must receive a response within 10 working days, and if the complainant is unhappy with the reply, the complaint can be investigated by a new independent editorial complaints unit.

Some complaints of a serious nature such as legal challenges and charges of major inaccuracies are to be "red-flagged" and referred immediately to a senior level.

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If there is a follow-up from the complainant, the editorial complaints unit must be consulted about fast-tracking the complaint for investigation.

Corrections

If complainants are unhappy with the unit's findings, they can, as now, appeal to the governors' programme complaints committee. Significant adjudications, findings, clarifications and corrections will be published on the complaints website.

To make a complaint, viewers and listeners can contact BBC information by phone, letter or through the complaints website. They can also contact an output area directly; for news and current affairs programmes, information can be found on the NewsWatch site.

We think we need to do better.
Mark Byford,
Deputy Director-General
Written complaints from either route will be tracked in a central logging area.

The deputy director-general, Mark Byford, oversaw the review which led to the changes.

"When I started the complaints review I found it difficult to know how to complain," he told the NewsWatch programme last year. "We think we need to do better.

"It is our responsibility and requirement, if we don't believe they are right, to explain why but to take that complaint very seriously and if we've made a mistake to admit it and correct it."




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