Regulation of S4C's services

Regulation by Ofcom

S4C's television service is regulated by Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator. The regulatory provisions are set out in the Communications Act 2003.

Under these provisions S4C is required to comply with a wide range of regulatory requirements set out in legislation and also by Ofcom. Ofcom has a wide range of regulatory powers and sanctions relating to S4C's television services.

Programme standards

S4C is required to ensure that the content of S4C's television service complies with rules set by Ofcom. These are set out in the Ofcom Broadcasting Code and are applicable to all television broadcasters in the UK.

Ofcom has a range of statutory powers and responsibilities to ensure the compliance of S4C's services with the relevant regulatory requirements. These include the ability to impose financial penalties on S4C for non-compliance with the statutory requirements. Ofcom can fine S4C up to £250,000.

Provision of information to Ofcom

S4C provides a significant amount of information to Ofcom each year relating to the performance of S4C's television service.

This includes financial information, quantitative information regarding the performance of S4C's television service and information regarding compliance with Ofcom's relevant quotas.

  • S4C provides the following information to Ofcom:
  • Annual income and expenditure information;
  • Monthly and annual financial information relating to TV advertising sales on S4C;
  • Detailed expenditure information per genre of programming within the S4C television service;
  • Detailed viewing figures for Ofcom's annual Public Service Broadcasting and Media Nation reports; and
  • Information relating to the fulfilment of programming and access services quotas within S4C's television service.

In addition, S4C pays an annual regulatory fee to Ofcom.

Specific regulatory requirements

The requirements upon S4C include ensuring that S4C's television service complies with the requirements of the:

  • the Ofcom Broadcasting Code;the Code on Television Access Services;
  • the Code on the Scheduling of Television Advertising;
  • the Cross-promotion Code;
  • the Code of Practice on Electronic Programme Guides;the Code on Sports and Other Listed and Designated Events; and
  • Ofcom's rules on Party Political and Referendum Broadcasts.

In addition, S4C is required to comply with a range of requirements including:

  • Complying with the statutory provisions relating to the provision of information by S4C to Ofcom;
  • Presenting an annual Statement of Programme Policy and an annual review of the policy to Ofcom;
  • Complying with relevant quotas set by Ofcom relating to Original Programming, News and Current Affairs programming and access services (such as subtitles, audio description and signing);
  • Presenting S4C's draft Code of Practice for Programme Commissioning for Ofcom's approval;
  • Publicising Ofcom's functions in relation to the S4C television service, including procedures established by Ofcom or S4C for the handling and resolution of complaints about the S4C television service;
  • Complying with directions given by Ofcom if S4C has failed to comply with its regulatory requirements; and
  • To pay financial penalties to Ofcom for breaches of the requirements of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code and other quota requirements up to the amount of £250,000.

Further detailed information relating to these requirements can be found in Schedule 12 of the Communications Act 2003 on the legislation.gov.uk website.


S4C is responsible for ensuring that a suitable framework is in place for dealing with complaints about programmes broadcast on S4C's television service.

Complaints regarding programmes broadcast on S4C's television service can be submitted to S4C or Ofcom. Complaints regarding online programming provided by S4C should be submitted to S4C.

S4C's complaints handling process can be found at:http://www.s4c.cymru/cy/cysylltu--ni/page/17088/su...

Online programmes

Ofcom is not responsible for regulation of online content provided by S4C. In the same way as the BBC's online content is regulated by the BBC Board, S4C's online content is regulated under statutory requirements by the S4C Authority Board. (Online material means material provided online (on any website, application or online interface), but excludes programmes provided in an on-demand programme service (e.g. S4C Clic and BBC iPlayer).

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