Foreign and Commonwealth Office/BBC World
1. This Agreement defines the relationship
between the FCO and the BBC World Service, including the aims
and objectives of the World Service, its target audiences and
provisions for performance assessment. Arrangements relating to
the application and administration of the Grant-in-Aid and additional
income of the BBC World Service and agreement on related matters
are set out in a separate Financial Memorandum between the FCO
and the BBC.
2. The Secretary of State for Foreign and
Commonwealth Affairs (hereafter referred to as the Secretary of
State) is responsible for the foreign policy of the United Kingdom.
The aim of the Foreign and Commonwealth office is to promote the
interests of the United Kingdom and to contribute to a strong
world community. The FCO's Mission Statement and current long-term
objectives are set out at Annex A .
3. The FCO funds the World Service through
a Grant-in-Aid to provide services defined in this agreement.
The ambit of the FCO Request for Resources expressly includes
a Grant-in-Aid to the BBC in respect of the World Service for
broadcasting. The Secretary of State in responsible for agreeing
with the BBC World Service its objectives and medium-term priority
target audiences defined geographically and by audience segment,
and appropriate performance measures.
THE BBC WORLD
4. The BBC World Service is a constituent
part of the BBC, sharing its general objectives and obligations
as a public service broadcaster. The responsibilities of the BBC
are set out in the Royal Charter (Cm 3248) and Agreement (Cm 3152).
See in particular Charter Article 3 "Objects of the Corporation",
sub-paragraph (g). Article 5 "Provision and Review of Services"
and Article 16 "Financial" paragraph (1), and the Agreement
clause 9. The World Service's Mission Statement and current objectives
as agreed with the FCO are set out at Annex B.
5. The World Service has full editorial
independence and integrity. The Director World Service & Global
News is responsible to the Director-General and Board of Governors
of the BBC for editorial policy and standards, managerial competence
and the delivery of a value for money service.
6. Charter Article 7 sub-paragraphs (1)
(b) and (h) set out the responsibilities of the BBC Governors
with particular regard to the World Service. A BBC Governor has
special responsibility for the World Service and chairs a Governors'
Consultative Group on the World Service.
7. The BBC World Service is obliged under
the Charter and Agreement to obtain the written approval of the
Secretary of State for the opening or closure of any language
service, and for other matters and activities set out in the Charter,
with particular reference to Article 3 "Objectives of the
Corporation", sub-paragraphs (i), (u),
(w), (x); Article 4 "Restriction on Overseas Concessions";
Article 7 "Constitution", sub-paragraph (1) (h); and
the Agreement clause 9 "The World Service".
8. Six agreed key principles underpin the
relationship between the FCO and the BBC World Service:
(i) the World Service has full editorial
and managerial independence and integrity;
(ii) the FCO will define the external broadcasting
service it requires clearly through robust objectives and performances
(iii) the BBC will decide the most effective
and efficient way of delivering the service defined;
(iv) the BBC will be provided with stable
funding, based on a medium-term agreement with Government paralleling
arrangements for the BBC's Licence Fee Funded operations, and
on the development of additional revenue streams;
(v) the World Service is permitted to generate
additional income on its grant-funded activities (with all proposals
being first subject to compliance with the BBC's own Fair Trading
Commitment and Commercial Policy Guidelines) and any surplus will
be used for Grant-in-Aid purposes subject to FCO approval;
(vi) the BBC will obtain audit assurances
that there has been no material subsidy between Grant-in-Aid and
Licence Fee funds.
BBC World Service Accountability
9. FCO Ministers and the BBC World Service
will annually agree performance targets based on agreed objectives
and review performance and medium-term priority target audiences
both by geography (eg by country) and audience segment. The World
Service will advise the FCO on the competitive broadcasting environment
and the effectiveness and efficiency with which it can reach these
audiences. In addition the FCO and the World Service will agree
and monitor World Service efficiency and effectiveness targets.
World Service Strategic: Three Year Plan
10. The BBC World Service will produce and
agree with the FCO a strategic Three Year Plan to deliver the
agreed objectives and reach the agreed target audiences, taking
account of the Whitehall planning framework. This will take account
of regional strategies discussed with the FCO and agreed during
the formulation of the Plan.
Review and Performance Assessment
11. The FCO and World Service will meet
regularly at working level. These contacts may be used to review
World Service plans and performance, both by region and globally.
The World Service regions and FCO geographical commands will maintain
a regular dialogue which will inform the World Service of FCO
thinking on the region concerned and the FCO about World Service
12. FCO Ministers, the Chairman of the BBC,
the BBC Governor with special responsibility for the World Service
and the Director World Service & Global News will meet annually
to review performance against agreed objectives and targets and
to consider future audience and strategic priorities. These discussions
will inform the strategic Three Year Plan.
13. The World Service will commission a
rolling programme of research to assess its impact across target
audiences. This will use outside agencies and will be independently
validated. It will include where possible comparisons with relevant
competitors. In any one year this programme will cover a representative
range of target audiences. It will aim to review key target audiences
at least every three years.
Arrangements for Review
14. This Agreement succeeds the previous
Agreement dated 19 May 1999 and takes effect from date of signature.
It will be reviewed at least every three years.
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth
Affairs and the British Broadcasting Corporation
17 June 2002
2 Mission Statement, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Departmental Report 2002, p6 (not printed). Back
Current long-term objectives. FCO Departmental Report 2002 p22-23. Back
This sub-paragraph of the Charter refers to the Secretary of
State for Heritage (now Culture, Media and Sport). However common
practice has been that any of these matters regarding the World
Service have been approved by the Secretary of State for Foreign
and Commonwealth Affairs. Back