Further information about the Switchover Help Scheme

What is the Help Scheme for?

The Help Scheme has been set up by the BBC, through agreement with Government, to offer practical help at switchover to older and disabled people who may face greater barriers in switching to digital TV.

The Help Scheme's purpose is to make every effort to ensure that all eligible people can continue to watch public service television channels after switchover.

The Help Scheme will offer each eligible household help to switch one TV set to digital, including equipment, installation and aftercare.

People are eligible for the Help Scheme if they are:

  • Aged 75 or over, or
  • Have lived in a care home for six months or more, or
  • Get (or could get):
    • Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or
    • Attendance or Constant Attendance Allowance, or
    • Mobility supplement, or
  • Are registered blind or partially sighted.

Most people will be asked to contribute £40 towards the help. The service is free for people who are eligible and also get pension credit, income-related employment and support allowance (ESA(IR)), income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance.

Who runs the Help Scheme?

The BBC has set up DSHS Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary, to administer the Switchover Help Scheme which is based at BBC offices at White City, 201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TS. Peter White is the Chief Executive of the Help Scheme and of DSHS Ltd.

DSHS Ltd has contracted service provider Carillion Energy Services Limited (formerly Eaga Plc) to deliver the service to eligible people for the duration of switchover. Eaga was appointed in spring 2008 after a rigorous procurement process and competitive dialogue.

Digital UK runs the Switchover Help Scheme awareness campaign. Digital UK is the independent, not-for-profit organisation established in 2005 to implement digital switchover. It is jointly owned and funded by the public-service broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, S4C and Teletext), and the digital multiplex operators.

Key Switchover Help Scheme policies

The policies underpinning the Help Scheme are set out in the Scheme Agreement.

The Help Scheme is committed to managing a service which best meets the diverse needs of eligible people. This commitment is set out in the Code of Service Standards.

Equipment provided as standard through the Help Scheme must meet a set of Core Receiver Requirements designed to ensure it best meets the needs of older and disabled people, such as easy-to-use menus, remote controls, rescanning capabilities and access to useful functions including Audio Description and subtitling. The Core Receiver Requirements are managed by DCMS and the BBC.

The Switchover Help Scheme service has been specially designed to provide a high level of service and to make it easy for everyone to use it. For example all Help Scheme information material is provided in different formats on request, such as Braille, easy read for people with learning difficulties, large print, audio and video formats and in several different languages.

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