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:
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 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 knows the BBFC well having been its legal adviser for many years, a role which he has now relinquished.
The Vice Presidents
The Vice Presidents are Gerard Lemos and Alison Hastings.
Alison Hastings is Chair of the BBC Editorial Standards Committee. She is also a media consultant and a member of the BBC Trust, where she is Chair of the Audience Council England (as Trustee for England) and a member of the Audience and Performance Committee.
Alison was a member of the Press Complaints Commission from 1997 to 2002.
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.
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).
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 day to day management of business operations and business development, with a strong focus on providing an excellent service to the Industry.
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.
Chief Digital Officer
Mark Dawson is Chief Digital Officer. Appointed in 2011 Mark is responsible for the BBFC's work with the video-on-demand (VOD) industry. He works with VOD platforms wishing to use the BBFC's age ratings and iconic symbols. He is also responsible for the Watch&Rate service, providing ratings for content that falls outside the remit of the Video Recordings Act. Mark joined the BBFC as an Examiner in 2003. Prior to joining the BBFC, Mark worked as a lawyer and is also a published novelist.
Press and Public Relations Officer
Catherine Anderson is the BBFC’s Press and Public Relations Officer. 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 a PR Account Director at a boutique 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.
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.
Examiners view the submitted works, write detailed reports and recommend a category decision, cuts or other actions. They also do internal policy work, draft responses to letters from the public and give talks about classification at educational institutions, film festivals and other events. Examiners are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds including social work, teaching, journalism, research, law and marketing.
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.