An independent review looking at whether the current sanctions in place for failure to hold a TV licence are appropriate, fair, and represent value for money, is calling for evidence.
The Government announced an independent review into TV Licence Enforcement, led by independent reviewer David Perry QC, on 9 September 2014. The Review is looking at options for changing the current enforcement measures, including the decriminalisation of TV licence evasion offences, and whether these options would represent an improvement to the existing system.
Currently a person who installs or uses a television receiver without a TV licence is guilty of a criminal offence under the Communications Act 2003 and may be fined – currently a maximum of £1,000. In some cases where there is a refusal to pay the fine and where all other enforcement methods have been tried or considered, a person can be sent to jail for non-payment of a court-imposed fine.
The consultation sets out six policy options for interested parties to provide evidence and views on:
- Do nothing: to retain the current criminal enforcement system.
- Reform of current system: leave the current offence as it stands but reform the current criminal enforcement system.
- Out of court settlement: retention of the criminal offence, with an option for disposal by way of an out of court settlement.
- Fixed monetary penalty: retention of the criminal offence, with an option for disposal by way of a fixed monetary penalty.
- Civil monetary penalty: decriminalise and enforce via a civil infraction.
- Civil debt: decriminalise and enforce as a civil debt.
The consultation will run until 1 May 2015 and can be found online here.
Following this consultation period, the views expressed in the consultation will be considered and will inform the final report to Ministers. The Review will report by the end of June 2015 and findings will be presented to Parliament and the BBC Trust.