David Austin (OBE) is the new Chief Executive (CEO) of the British Board of Film Classification.
The position, previously referred to as the Director of the BBFC, is delegated to make executive decisions on behalf of the Board of Classification. The CEO 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 title of “Director” is changing to “CEO” to better reflect the remit of the role and to be more consistent with other UK media regulators and organisations with a child protection role.
David Austin said: “The BBFC is a transparent and agile media regulator, working to reflect evolving public opinion, protect children from unsuitable content and develop, in partnership with industry, classification services that are up to date with digital technology. Changing the title of my role from Director to CEO reflects the evolution of the BBFC and the Director’s role. As CEO I will continue to develop the BBFC’s work in line with digital technology and in areas beyond film classification where our expertise in child protection and content regulation can be helpful.”
David Austin 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 where he coordinated the BBFC's policy work and led on its public affairs efforts. He was also responsible for managing the BBFC’s research, communications and education programmes.
Since 2008 the BBFC has developed a new voluntary online regulation services for Video-on-Demand content, introduced a classification framework for mobile network operators, and launched an initiative to age rate UK online music videos. The BBFC continues to work to published Classification Guidelines based on large scale public consultation. The last Classification Guidelines consultation, in 2013, involved more than 10,000 members of the public from the across the UK. The process to update the Guidelines is repeated every 4-5 years and is supplemented with expert research into issues including depictions of sexual and sadistic violence and glamour works.