British Board of Film Classification

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Who we are

The Council of Management

In order to preserve its independence, the BBFC's income is derived solely from the fees it charges for its services, calculated by measuring the running time of films, DVDs/videos and other works submitted for classification. The BBFC is not organised for profit, and its fees are adjusted only as required to cover its costs. 

The BBFC's financial affairs are administered by the Council of Management. Members of the Council are drawn from the manufacturing and servicing sections of the film industry, as well as from banking, corporate accountancy, TV broadcasting and production and the charity sector. Council of Management members are excluded from classification decisions and policy making. There must be no actual or perceived conflict of interest, while at the same time members have to command the confidence of our customers. The Council of Management is also responsible for the senior appointments at the BBFC. 

The Council membership is:

  • Maggie Carver, Chair of The Council
  • Sonita Alleyne
  • Mel Alcock
  • Lesley Mackenzie
  • Jonathan Teckman

The Board of Classification

The Board of Classification is the BBFC Chief Executive plus the President and two Vice Presidents. They are designated with statutory responsibility for the classification of video works under the Video Recordings Act 1984. The Board of Classification is consulted on difficult decisions. They are appointed by the Council of Management.  

The President

The President is Patrick Swaffer, a former Senior and Managing Partner of Goodman Derrick solicitors. He is a Consultant to that firm, sits as a Recorder in the Crown Court and is a partner in Media Compliance Services LLP.

Patrick had been the BBFC's legal adviser for many years, a role which he relinquished when he was appointed President.


The Vice Presidents

The Vice Presidents are Murphy Cobbing and Lord Patel. 


Murphy Cobbing is a Broadcast Journalist. She was a senior BBC producer in news and documentaries based in the North East of England during a twenty year career. She was recently vice chair of the Tyneside Cinema Board of Trustees and a trustee of the North East Circus Development Trust.






Lord Patel is a member of the House of Lords. He is a qualified Social Worker and on 19 March 2018, he was appointed as the Chair of Social Work England, the regulator for all child, family and adult social workers in England. He was previously chair of the Mental Health Act Commission and a Commissioner of the Healthcare Commission and The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse. He has authored a number of national reports including The Patel Report into Prison Drug Treatment. Lord Patel is also Senior Independent Director of the England Wales Cricket Board (ECB), appointed in 2016.


Chief Executive

The Chief Executive is delegated to make executive decisions on behalf of the Board of Classification. He is responsible for formulating and ensuring the execution of policy, management of the BBFC and handling external relations with the industry, the public and relevant bodies. The Chief Executive was previously referred to as the Director.

The Chief Executive is David Austin. David joined the BBFC in 2003 as an Examiner following a career in the Diplomatic Service, serving in South Asia, Central Africa and the former Yugoslavia.  In 2011 David moved to the role of Assistant Director Policy and Public Affairs, before becoming Chief Executive in March 2016. 

David is a member of the Executive Board of the United Kingdom Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) and the Board of the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA).

Executive Leadership

The Executive Leadership team can make executive decisions in the Chief Executive's absence.

Chief Operating Officer

The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for the management of all parts of the classification process, focussing on speed and effectiveness of service, quality of classification decisions for BBFC customers and on the most efficient performance management of the BBFC Operation. The role also includes acting as the principal adviser on corporate services to the Chief Executive, coordinating IT, Human Resources and Facilities work.

Dave Barrett became Chief Operating Officer in October 2011 after holding a number of BBFC posts including Head of Operations.

Policy Director

The Policy Director is responsible for coordinating the BBFC's policy work and managing and leading on its public affairs effort. The role is also responsible for managing the BBFC’s communications and marketing, education, business development and age-verification teams.

The Policy Director is Murray Perkins. Murray joined the BBFC as a Film and Video Examiner in May 2000. In 2005 he became a Compliance Manager (the role previously titled Senior Examiner). Prior to his appointment as Policy Director in November 2018 Murray had been leading the Age-Verification team as Head of the Digital Economy Act.
Before coming to the UK, Murray worked for the New Zealand Office of Film and Literature Classification.



Finance Director

The Finance Director ensures proper financial controls and reporting are in place. The Finance Director is Siobhan Smedley-Wild. Siobhan joined the BBFC in April 2017. She has 14 years post qualification experience and is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Prior to joining the BBFC Siobhan was Finance Director at Take 2 Films and a Senior Financial Accountant at The British Land Company PLC.



Other Principal Officers

Head of Age-Verification

The Head of Age-Verification is the principal adviser on age-verification and the Digital Economy Act 2017 and is responsible for managing the BBFC's ongoing responsibilities under the Act.

The Head of Age-Verification is Amelia Erratt who joined the BBFC in 2014. Amelia has previously worked as a compliance officer and as the Digital Economy Act Officer at the BBFC. She was appointed Head of Age-Verification in November 2018.


Head of Compliance

The Head of Compliance is the principal adviser on compliance and classification policy to the Chief Executive and is responsible for the day-to-day management of compliance policy and classification, including leading a team of Compliance Officers.

The Head of Compliance is Craig Lapper who joined the BBFC in 1997 and held a number of posts, including in the Director's Office and in Policy, before becoming a Compliance Manager (the role previously titled Senior Examiner) in 2006. He was appointed Head of Compliance in 2018.

Compliance Manager

The Compliance Manager has day-to-day responsibility for managing a team of Compliance Officers whose main task is the classification of works submitted to the BBFC. The Compliance Manager is Sarah Peacock who joined the BBFC in 2014. Sarah previously worked as a Compliance Officer and as an Education Officer at the BBFC. She was appointed Compliance Manager in 2018. 



Head of Education

The Head of Education coordinates the BBFC education and outreach programme including education visits, creates online resources and runs our series of in house seminars.  The Head of Education is Lucy Brett. She joined the BBFC as an Examiner in 2004 and became Education Officer in 2010. Prior to joining the BBFC, Lucy was a journalist for trade and consumer home entertainment magazines and a media studies teacher.



Head of Business Services

Tom Cairns is the BBFC's Head of Business Services. He is responsible for managing the BBFC’s continuing development of digital services for Video-on-Demand platforms, and other non-statutory uses of our ratings and compliance expertise. Tom joined the BBFC in 2010 and has more than 11 years' experience of working with brands and content including BBC, 3 Mobile, FA Premier League, MTV, Universal Music and Sony Music.



Compliance Officers

Compliance Officers view the submitted works, write detailed reports and recommend a category decision, cuts or other actions. Compliance Officers are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds including journalism, media, research and marketing. Compliance Officers also carry out a range of tasks to support the BBFC's voluntary, best practice regulation of online video content, including data handling tasks.  The BBFC Chief Executive, BBFC President and two Vice-Presidents also carry out viewing duties.

Associated Bodies

The Consultative Council

The Consultative Council is an advisory forum whose members come from UK Local Authority Associations, the screen entertainment industry and other experts in relevant areas. It is chaired by the President of the BBFC or one of the two Vice-Presidents.

The Advisory Panel on Children's Viewing (APCV)

The APCV was set up by the BBFC to provide advice on issues relating to the classification of works for children. The panel is made up of members with a range of relevant professional expertise and responsibilities.

The Video Packaging Review Committee (VPRC)

Introduced in 1987, this committee is administered by the BBFC, but attended by industry representatives. It is a voluntary system to prevent offence to members of the public caused by explicitly violent or sexual imagery on the covers of videos/DVDs. Cinema posters, only for films passed ‘18’, are also reviewed by a joint BBFC / industry body.


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