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
  • 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 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 and of the Sharing Economy UK Expert Advisory Panel, 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.

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 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 Chief Executive, 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.


Policy Director

The Policy Director is the principal adviser on policy and public affairs to the Chief Executive, 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 Policy Director is Alexandra Evans. Alexandra joined the BBFC as Policy Director in March 2016. Prior to this, she established and ran an independent publishing house on behalf of the Chairman Emeritus of the law firm Mishcon de Reya. Alexandra is a qualified solicitor and worked for many years as a policy lawyer at Mishcon de Reya where she specialised in developing and implementing multifaceted advocacy strategies on behalf of a wide range of clients. She has advised on numerous public interest and human rights law issues, in particular the right to freedom of expression.


Finance Director

The Finance Director ensures proper financial controls and reporting are in place. The Finance Director is Helen Fowweather. She joined the BBFC in June 2016. Helen qualified as an accountant over twenty years ago and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Her experience spans several industries across the commercial and not-for-profit sectors, including seven years as Finance and Commercial Director of a £45m turnover public transport group. Most recently Helen spent three years as Finance Director and Fellow of St Peter's College in the University of Oxford.



Other Principal Officers

Compliance Managers

The Compliance Managers are Craig Lapper and Murray Perkins.

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

Craig Lapper joined the BBFC in 1997 and held a number of posts, including in the Director's Office and in Policy, before becoming a Senior Examiner in 2006.

Murray Perkins joined the BBFC as a Film and Video Examiner in May 2000. In 2005 he became a Senior Examiner. Prior to coming to the UK, Murray worked for the New Zealand Office of Film and Literature Classification.

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 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.



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 Chief Executive, 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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