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 current Council membership is: 

  • Graham Lee

  • Steve Jaggs

  • Sonita Alleyne

  • Maggie Carver

  • Jonathan Teckman

President and Vice Presidents

The BBFC has one President and two Vice Presidents. They are designated with statutory responsibility for the classification of video works under the Video Recordings Act 1984. The President and Vice Presidents are consulted in the case of difficult or controversial works or ones that raise particular questions of policy. 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 currently 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 Gerard Lemos and Alison Hastings. 

Alison Hastings is a non-executive Director of Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, a Council Member of Durham University, a member of the Pagefield Advisory Board, a specialist partner with Alder Media. and a Gambling Commissioner. Until recently she was the BBC Trustee for England and was formerly a Press Complaints Commissioner.




Gerard Lemos is a Partner in Lemos and Crane Social Research. He is also Chairman of the Money Advice Service, appointed by the FSA and an independent director of the Payments Council. He chaired the Board of Trustees of the British Council from 2008 to 2010 having been a trustee since 1999 and Deputy Chair from 2005. He was a visiting Professor at Chongqing Technology and Business University between 2006 and 2010. Gerard has formerly been Chair of Akram Khan Dance Company, an Audit Commissioner, a Civil Service Commissioner and a non-executive director of Crown Prosecution Service. He received a CMG in the Queens' Birthday Honours List in 2001 for services to the British Council.

Management Team

The Director

The Director is delegated to make executive decisions on behalf of the Presidential tier. 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 current Director is David Cooke. David joined the BBFC in September 2004, prior to this he held six government Director level posts, in the Cabinet Office, Northern Ireland Office and Home Office, working on topics such as the Northern Ireland Peace Process, devolution, asylum, criminal justice performance and broadcasting. David is also an Executive Board member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS).

Senior Management

The senior management team can make executive decisions in the Director’s absence.

Assistant Director Policy and Public Affairs

The Assistant Director, Policy & Public Affairs is the principal adviser on policy and public affairs to the Director, 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 research, communications and education programmes.  

The current Assistant Director 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.  He moved to his present role in 2011.


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 also on the most efficient performance management of the BBFC Operation. The role also includes acting as the principal adviser on business development to the Director, coordinating the Board's business development work.  

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


Assistant Director Head of Technology

The Head of Technology is Dave Harding. He is responsible for the planning and provisioning of the technical processes used by the BBFC.  This includes information systems, the digital content archive and developing future technologies.

Dave joined the BBFC in 1997.  Prior to this he worked for a number of private sector technology companies in the commercial and defence sectors.  He was involved with the development and deployment of systems covering aerospace, media, defence and finance. 



Head of Finance and Personnel

The Head of Finance and Personnel ensures proper financial controls and reporting are in place. The current Head of Finance and Personnel is Imtiaz Osman. He joined the board in November 2001. Imtiaz qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1980 with W H Payne & Co before becoming a senior auditor with the Malawi office of Coopers & Lybrand. He also worked as Financial Controller for a motor vehicle group before joining the BBFC.




Head of Communications

Catherine Anderson is the BBFC’s Head of Communications. She is responsible for providing the BBFC’s outward communications including press releases and articles for the website and handling any media enquiries. She also helps produce the BBFC podcast and manages projects including the production of the BBFC Annual Report and BBFC marketing materials. Catherine joined the BBFC in 2011, prior to this she was an Account Director at a PR agency and a Press Officer for the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA).


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 current 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.




Senior Examiners

The senior examiners are Craig Lapper and Murray Perkins.

Senior Examiners are responsible for making decisions on the classification of works and on any cuts required on the basis of Examiners’ reports, policy, Guidelines and precedents. They are responsible for referring any works to the Director that raise difficult or novel policy issues. Senior Examiners also undertake advice viewings, answer enquiries from distributors and lead a team of Examiners and Compliance Officers.



Examiners and Compliance Officers

Examiners view the submitted works, write detailed reports and recommend a category decision, cuts or other actions. Examiners are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds including journalism, media, research and marketing. Further examining duties are carried out by Compliance Officers, who 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 Director, Assistant Director, BBFC President and two Vice-Presidents also carry out Examining 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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