Broadcasting Council for Wales
The Broadcasting Council for Wales welcomes
this opportunity to submit evidence to the inquiry into broadcasting
conducted by the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs. The inquiry
comes at a most opportune time for Wales as the nation faces great
opportunities and challenges arising from constitutional change,
and broadcasting embarks upon its most radical change since the
introduction of colour television. Devolution and the development
of digital television provide Wales with the chance to reflect
the sense of identity and national awareness amongst the Welsh
people, as well as the diversity of their lives and interests.
It is not the Council's intention to develop
the themes and issues that have been so clearly identified within
the BBC's own submission to the Committee. Indeed, the Council
has been fully consulted on the evidence, and endorses the response
that is being submitted by the Chairman of the BBC and the National
Governor for Wales/Chairman of the Broadcasting Council for Wales.
The Council's brief addendum relates specifically
to issues pertaining to the final question posed by the Committee,
on the role of the Assembly in the scrutiny of broadcasting in
The Broadcasting Council for Wales' role in
advising the BBC on the direction and performance of programmes
and services in Wales in specified in the current BBC Royal Charter,
as is its responsibility to advise the Board of Governors on the
views and opinions of the people of Wales. With the creation of
a National Assembly for Wales, the members of the Council believe
that they will need to become more openly accountable for the
way in which these functions are fulfilled. Indeed, the Broadcasting
Council needs to be publicly recognised as the key mechanism of
accountability to the people of Wales, and as being in regular
and constructive dialogue with the BBC's Board of Governors.
A new approach, aimed at heightening the Council's
profile and interaction with the viewers and listeners of Wales
is already being developed. This is likely to involve:
the development of a working relationship
with the National Assembly which will include:
the submission of its Annual
Review to the appropriate Committee of the new body, and the presentation
of the Review by the Council's Chairman (the BBC's National Governor
for Wales) and the Controller of BBC Wales.
dialogue between the Council
and appropriate Assembly committees on broadcasting issues and
other relevant projects.
the enhancement of the public profile
of the Council, through the development of a "Listening Strategy"
that will include an annual programme of seminars and public meetings,
and the utilisation of external assessment Panels to provide in-depth
advice on BBC Wales' programme services.
the presentation of BBC Wales' Annual
Review to meetings of opinion formers and other representatives
of viewers and listeners in Wales.
the utilisation of BBC Wales' web-site
to facilitate improved dialogue with the audience.
The Broadcasting Council for Wales will have
an increasingly important role to play, in reporting to the BBC
on the aspirations and concerns of the licence fee payers of Wales;
in advising on the implications of devolution for public service
broadcasting; and in helping to communicate effectively with members
of the National Assembly. The Council welcomes these challenges
as the BBC continues to develop its public service broadcasting
remit in the new Digital Age.