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Future of the BBC - Culture, Media and Sport Contents


Conclusions and recommendations


2017 Charter Review process

1.  We agree with Lord Burns, the former Government's adviser on the last Charter Review, that even with the timing of the general election, preparatory work for 2017 Charter Review should start as soon as possible. Consideration of the future of the BBC is too important to rush. The BBC Trust must demonstrate a readiness and willingness to ensure that a full and frank debate takes place on all aspects of the BBC as part of Charter Review including through its own engagement with licence fee payers on all the fundamental issues concerning the BBC. (Paragraph 25)

2.  The process for agreeing the future shape, funding and constitution of the BBC must be as thorough, open and democratic as possible. For this to happen, we recommend that the Government seek cross-party support for establishing an independent review panel now on the 2017 Charter, along the same lines as the previous Burns' model, led by a figure similar to Lord Burns, so that the vital preparatory work and research to inform Charter Review can begin without further delay. Our principal conclusions and recommendations in this report set out a basis for the terms of inquiry for the independent panel. (Paragraph 26)

3.  As with the previous Charter Review, the Government must ensure that the public and other stakeholders are fully consulted and able to put across their views on the future of the BBC. We expect sufficient time to be allocated for this and for the development of, and consultation on, Green and White Papers, and for parliamentary scrutiny on these and any draft future Charter and Framework Agreements. If there is insufficient time to undertake this properly before the current Charter expires another option would be to grant a supplementary Charter extending the current Charter for an appropriate period in which to complete the review process. (Paragraph 27)

Public purposes

4.  We recommend that the independent panel and formal Charter Review consult on the BBC's current public purposes and purpose remits set out for them, to determine whether and how they might be revised and to examine their effectiveness in measuring the BBC's public value. We believe a critical review of the purpose remits, and consultation and research on BBC performance, including on people's willingness to pay for BBC services, could help clarify the BBC's core purposes and suggest strategic and funding priorities. (Paragraph 44)

5.  Given the BBC's vital contribution to training and development of talent and skills in the UK's creative media industries and in journalism, we believe this function should be reflected in the BBC's core public purposes. Similarly, we believe that the success of a future public BBC will depend on its ability and willingness to collaborate and work in partnership with others at all levels to maximise its public value and that of others. The necessity for collaborative engagement should be enshrined in the BBC's public purposes. (Paragraph 49)

BBC Three

6.  It is difficult to see how BBC Three could be judged a success after more than a decade and expenditure of more than a billion pounds of licence payers' money, given the minority of the target audience reached. We believe it is right that the BBC Executive is considering alternative ways to reach BBC Three's target audience and recommend that all BBC services be evaluated in terms of most effective delivery and value for money. (Paragraph 57)

BBC World Service

7.  We are concerned that combining the role of the BBC deputy director of news with that of the director of the World Service will dilute the influence and the independent voice of the World Service within the BBC, as the Service will no longer have a leader dedicated solely to developing and representing its interests. Given its new funding and oversight arrangements, we fear the importance of the World Service could be diminished. The extent to which the World Service's needs will be met from within the BBC must be monitored very carefully in the new Parliament. At a time when countries like Russia and China are significantly increasing their investment in global media outlets, including services aimed at the UK, we believe that the World Service has an increasingly important role in what is a global information war. (Paragraph 62)

Serving all audiences

8.  While we welcome the BBC's success in shifting spend out of London during the current Charter period through its move to Salford and through the concentration on "Centres of excellence", it is evident that some areas of the country have received a disproportionately small return of the licence fee which has meant they have missed out on economic activity. Although we accept the BBC cannot have a significant physical presence in all regions of the country, it must develop a more equitable commissioning and business strategy that fosters cultural variety and spreads its activity, as far as possible, across the country. (Paragraph 68)

9.  We believe it is crucial for the BBC and other broadcasters to broaden the range of voices and backgrounds at commissioning level as well as on screen and in other areas of broadcasting. (Paragraph 72)

10.  Without the BBC's supply of UK-originated content and programmes for children, many younger people would have to rely largely on a diet of acquired US television programmes, as the BBC is pretty much by itself in the provision of UK-originated children's output. This content plays a vital part of children's early learning experience and understanding of their cultural identity. Children's content must remain a core and priority PSB genre for the BBC beyond 2016. The BBC will need to be able to continue to innovate and develop new media and distribution strategies for children as the audience for traditional linear television programmes continues to decline over the next few years. We commend the BBC for the quality and provision of its content for children over the current Charter period. (Paragraph 77)

Savings and efficiency

11.  The BBC's achievement of cumulative savings of £1.1 billion since 2007 is commendable given the relatively small negative impact they have had on audiences' appreciation and on reach of its services. Whilst efficiencies of this magnitude may have been challenging for them to accomplish, especially on the back of earlier initiatives, the fact that the BBC achieved the savings demonstrates it was right that the Corporation faced a tight spending settlement in 2010, notwithstanding the criticisms of the way that settlement was conducted. (Paragraph 83)

12.  The BBC still has £400 million of savings to make by 2017. Given that the likely opportunities for further productivity gains must be diminishing, the BBC will need to be bold and upfront in presenting the options for cuts to services or output which would allow it to stay on track for the savings target, while still meeting its public purposes and audience expectations. (Paragraph 84)

BBC performance

13.  We believe that the BBC has done well in the current Charter period, in light of increased choice and competition, in terms of overall reach and audience consumption and appreciation, but it has also had a few notable failures and underperformance in certain areas which the BBC has not always been ready to acknowledge until well after the fact. Over the course of the Charter period, in their annual reports, in our view, the BBC Trust and the BBC Executive have often tended to highlight favourable performance figures over the less favourable, burying the latter in lengthy narratives, or supplementary documents online, which has not facilitated an easy scrutiny of where the BBC had been doing well and where it had been less successful. In the remaining part of the current Charter, the BBC should aim to be a better, more transparent, self-critic. It should not be deterred from summarising and publishing the least favourable performance figures alongside those where it is doing well. We recommend that the independent panel, and the Charter Review process itself, must appraise the BBC's current performance measures and manner of reporting in order to determine whether changes should be made in the future to ensure the BBC presents a more balanced picture of its results. (Paragraph 85)

Partnerships

14.  We welcome the fact that Lord Hall has made partnerships one of his key ambitions over the next few years. We believe the BBC and its audiences have gained greatly from the Corporation working with others during the present Charter period. In order to ensure maximum public value, the BBC must be required to harness such joint working arrangements wherever it can appropriately do so if it is to continue to benefit from the privilege of public funding. Increasing its partnership potential should be a core purpose of the BBC. (Paragraph 112)

Scope and scale

15.  While it is the case that the BBC's purposes and funding will determine some parameters for the BBC's scope and scale, it is also the Framework Agreement between the BBC and the Secretary of State and the interpretations and decisions taken by the Trust and any successor oversight body that affect these. In practice the level of the funding will be the main lever in preventing the BBC overreaching its remit as set out in the Framework Agreement. (Paragraph 113)

16.  The BBC's audience share of television, comprising about a third of all UK television viewing, although it has fallen over the last couple of decades, continues to demonstrate the BBC's central presence in the life of the country. (Paragraph 114)

17.  We consider that the BBC Trust's view that it is difficult to put a stop to any significant parts of BBC activity, citing the support shown by the audiences to individual services, is questionable. The BBC must make the most effective use of licence fee payers' money and should not be trying to do everything itself. The BBC needs to be able to make bigger, braver decisions on its strategy and inevitably must do less in some areas. Similarly, we challenge the BBC's justification for doing all that it currently does in order to provide "something for everyone". (Paragraph 115)

18.  It is not incompatible for the BBC to provide "something for everyone" across its output whilst also reducing provision in areas that are over-served or where the public service characteristics of its output are marginal, or where others are better placed to deliver excellence and better value for money. The BBC has been given a privileged position and substantial public funding to serve under-served and under-represented audiences, as well as mass audiences, with content not created for commercial gain, allowing it to take risks and be distinctive, challenging, original and innovative. (Paragraph 116)

BBC One +1 proposal

19.  We do not find that the BBC has made a convincing case for launching a BBC One +1 service. Whilst we appreciate how such channels can be of particular value to commercial broadcasters, in bolstering audience share and generating advertising revenue through the additional viewing, we do not believe in the BBC's case such a channel would represent public service value given the potential adverse impact on competitors and the availability of most BBC content on the iPlayer shortly after its initial airing. If the BBC no longer requires the scarce digital terrestrial spectrum it was granted and has used in the evenings for BBC Three, then it should be obliged to give this valuable public resource up for alternative, public value use. (Paragraph 118)

Measuring public value

20.  The BBC is a powerful player in broadcasting and, given the broad scope of its public purposes and resources, there is a constant danger that it will, by accident or design, swamp smaller rivals and inhibit their ability to grow and develop. It therefore needs some boundaries, to ensure that the market overall is working to the public good and the licence fee payer is getting best value for money. To this end, we welcome the current Charter's introduction of service licences and public value tests and support their continuance. However, given the infrequency of service reviews and high thresholds for initiating public value tests, we believe that the body responsible for overseeing the BBC should be more willing to react to reasonable calls to test whether existing BBC services are fulfilling their public purposes and service remits. We recommend an additional means be developed to trigger public value and market impact tests where there is prima facie evidence of the BBC crowding out others' endeavours and having an adverse market impact. We believe the independent panel and Charter Review process should consider this as part of the review. (Paragraph 128)

21.  Under any new governance arrangements we believe that Ofcom should continue to provide market impact assessments that inform the public value tests, which would be undertaken by the body holding the BBC Executive to account for its public value. Ofcom should also be invited to give advice in areas where the BBC's market impact should be considered even where it does not involve a formal public value test. (Paragraph 129)

Production

22.  Whilst we welcome the concept of removing the BBC's in-house production guarantees and opening up the majority of BBC commissioning to competition, it is important that commissioning decisions are not simply made on the basis of cost but also on quality. Clearly there would be a benefit to licence fee payers in the BBC producing content for others on a commercial basis given the financial return it could make. However, we believe there is a risk that such commercial motives could over time distract BBC producers from their principal role in meeting the BBC's public purposes. The BBC must remember the concerns expressed and previous overreach of BBC Worldwide. It must not allow commercial gain to trump the BBC's main purpose as a public service broadcaster. (Paragraph 152)

23.  We are sceptical of the suggestion that the BBC should become solely a publisher-broadcaster and retreat from producing any content itself. Given the BBC's long successful tradition of making high-quality television programmes, it should continue to produce content itself where its output is distinctive from the market and where it makes economic sense to do so. In future, when the BBC is commissioning content it will have to give careful consideration to the value of long-term ownership of intellectual property, as well as initial production costs. Where particular types of content can be provided by the market more easily and cheaply, and have less long-term value, the BBC must be willing to withdraw from these areas. (Paragraph 153)

24.  If BBC production is opened further and the BBC were to be permitted to compete for commissions from other broadcasters then it must be able to demonstrate a transparency of costs and a fairness in its commissioning decisions and processes with robust safeguards against licence fee revenue cross-subsidising BBC's commercial supply activity. This will not be easily achieved. (Paragraph 154)

25.  In taking on production work for others, BBC Production would become one of the largest production companies trading in the UK market. As such, the Government would need to consider what impact its commercial endeavours would have on smaller and medium-sized production companies operating in the UK market and consider what, if any, bearing this should have on any review of the terms of trade and other legislation in respect of independent content production. (Paragraph 155)

26.  We recommend that the terms of trade should be reviewed as part of the Charter Review process. Among other things, consideration must be given as to how the terms of trade might have to change in respect of the BBC if it became a commercial provider of content to others. As the terms of trade apply to all PSBs, Ofcom should have a lead role in this review. However, any changes to the terms of trade must not introduce any unintended consequences. For example, limiting the retention of rights to content to only smaller production companies could create incentives for broadcasters to deal with larger producers where preferential terms could be applied. (Paragraph 156)

Local TV

27.  In the last two years, Ofcom has awarded 30 licences for local TV services and 15 stations have gone live. So far these services do not appear to have had any significant impact among audiences nor have they made a meaningful contribution to the provision of local news and content and as such their viability remains in doubt. (Paragraph 165)

Local and regional media

28.  We believe there must be a more symbiotic relationship between local media and the BBC, where each benefits from the other. The BBC as the dominant partner must always be mindful of the effect of its activities on regional media groups and their ability to turn a profit, given the greater certainty resulting from its publicly-funded position. The BBC Trust's conclusions from its 2013 review of BBC Online, where it called on the BBC management to make sites more local, demonstrated a disregard for the health of local journalism. (Paragraph 171)

29.  Whilst the BBC appears to make the right gestures in supporting local and regional media organisations in the run-up to Charter Reviews, we believe more definite commitments in respect of its interactions with the press must be codified into any future Charter framework. (Paragraph 172)

30.  The BBC must not expect to receive others' news content without providing something in return. We are attracted by the idea of exchanges of content and information, where the BBC local websites link to the source of local material they have used, and in return the BBC allows others to use its content and embed BBC clips on their sites, where these would be of local interest, under a licence agreement. There need not be a financial transaction. However, we also see the case for the BBC outsourcing the supply of some local content on a commercial basis, where there is an ongoing requirement for such material, and it is a more cost-effective way of meeting this need. We recommend this be ensured by extending the BBC's independent production quota to cover local news. (Paragraph 173)

BBC Worldwide

31.  There are major benefits from the BBC undertaking commercial activities as the profits generated by the exploitation of the BBC's intellectual property can be reinvested in the BBC's public services, to the benefit of licence fee payers. However, BBC Worldwide's activities must not risk jeopardising the reputation of the BBC or be allowed to have an adverse impact on its commercial competitors. We continue to believe that the approach of BBC's commercial activities should be limited to those closely linked to its programmes and its public service remit. (Paragraph 180)

32.  There is a potential risk that BBC dependence on returns from BBC Worldwide to fund UK public service content, as a co-producer of new content or through dividends to bolster the finance of the BBC's PSB operations, could lead to UK PSB content focused more on global commercial appeal and return rather than primarily aimed at serving domestic audiences in the first instance. We believe that investing in public service content for UK audiences must remain the priority for BBC Worldwide beyond 2016. (Paragraph 181)

33.  BBC Worldwide has an important role in marketing the BBC brand and the UK's creativity overseas, even if its financial contribution to domestic PSB remains reasonably modest. We recommend that the independent panel and Charter Review process consider whether changes are needed to existing oversight provisions in the Charter and Framework Agreement for BBC Worldwide and for the BBC's other commercial activities. (Paragraph 182)

Research and development

34.  It is vital that BBC works in partnership when developing technology and broadcasting platforms, through joint ventures such as Freeview and Freesat, and through working with standards organisations and equipment manufacturers to sustain and improve the availability of its services. Wherever possible the BBC must turn to the market for its technology needs rather than attempting to do things itself if it is to avoid future costly mistakes, as was the case with the Digital Media Initiative. Where solutions are not available to meet the BBC's future needs, then it should take the lead in developing new solutions but in conjunction with others so that the BBC's counterparts contribute and to ensure their needs may also be met. (Paragraph 189)

35.  We recommend that the BBC's sixth public purpose on communications technologies should be retained, but the means to achieve it should be clarified. The remit and priorities of the purpose should be revised and updated. They should, for instance, strengthen the requirement on the BBC to look first to the market for technology solutions and to ensure any development it undertakes is done in partnership with others, but where the market is not yet delivering innovation, the BBC should be required to take a leading role in pushing development in line with people's expectations. (Paragraph 190)

Funding

36.  There currently appears to be no better alternative for funding the BBC in the near term other than a hypothecated tax or the licence fee. However, the principle of the licence fee in its current form is becoming harder and harder to sustain given changes in communications and media technology and services, and changing audience needs and behaviours. Given this is the case, we do not see a long-term future for the licence fee in its current form. (Paragraph 212)

37.  We believe that the forthcoming round of Charter Review should not rush profound changes such as the abolition of the licence fee model but the BBC must prepare for the possibility of a change in the 2020s. We recommend that as a minimum the licence fee must be amended to cover catch-up television as soon as possible. (Paragraph 213)

38.  We conclude that a degree of subscription could be a possibility in the future if the BBC moved to a more personalised service and this could be in accordance with Lord Hall's vision for personalisation of BBC content consumption. However, careful thought would need to be given as to what content should remain universally available and free-to-air, and how this should be funded, protected from inappropriate influence and delivered to the public. (Paragraph 214)

39.  We recommend that the independent panel and Charter Review process ensure there is robust comprehensive research, taking into account generational differences, of people's attitudes towards the licence fee and their willingness to pay for BBC and public service broadcasting more widely, and in particular their openness to the idea of subscribing for certain services. (Paragraph 215)

Decriminalisation

40.  We note the Government's review, which is looking at the possibility of the decriminalisation of non-payment of the licence fee. Our view is that criminal penalties for the non-payment of the licence fee and the way enforcement is carried out is anachronistic and out of proportion with the responses to non-payment for other services. We believe there is a strong case for making non-payment a civil matter pursued through the civil courts in the same way as non-payment of Council Tax, parking fines and utility bills. We also acknowledge the possibility, based on the evidence presented and international experience, that decriminalisation could lead to an increase in evasion and potentially, therefore, a reduction in the BBC's income. Below, we discuss two possible ways this could be addressed. In paragraphs 228 to 233 we discuss Germany's recent transition from an appliance based "licence fee" to a household broadcasting levy. This has made household investigations unnecessary. And in paragraphs 237 to 244 we discuss the potential for introducing conditional access technologies, which would obviate the need for criminal penalties. (Paragraph 224)

Alternative model for funding

41.  The German model of a broadcasting levy on all households is our preferred alternative to the TV licence. Such a levy on all households would obviate the need to identify evaders and would be a fairer way of ensuring those people who use only BBC radio and online services contribute to their costs. A broadcasting levy which applied to all households regardless of whether or not householders watched live television would help support the use of a small proportion of the revenue raised for funding public service content and services by others, enhancing plurality. (Paragraph 232)

42.  We recommend that the independent panel and Charter Review process should investigate the advantages and disadvantages of a household broadcasting levy as an alternative to the licence fee and on how the broadcasting levy could be made more affordable for low income groups in the UK. We also believe that the new Finnish system, of a hypothecated tax specifically for broadcasting, based on an individual's income, although still its infancy, would still be worth consideration during Charter Review. (Paragraph 233)

Collection costs

43.  We recommend that the independent panel and Charter Review look at what options might be available for sharing collection costs of the licence fee or a broadcasting levy with local authorities or utility providers. (Paragraph 236)

Conditional access

44.  We believe that conditional access offers opportunities to ensure that only those households who have paid a licence fee or its equivalent would be able to access BBC or television services. Introducing a means of authorising access to television services would solve the criminalisation issue associated with non-payment of the television licence. However, as there would be significant costs attached with the widespread introduction of conditional access technology, the Government would need to decide over what timescale it should be introduced. (Paragraph 243)

45.  The independent panel and Charter Review should consider the desirability and feasibility of the BBC using conditional access to ensure its television services are available only to licence fee payers and authorised users in future. We recommend that Ofcom's advice is sought on current availability of conditional access technology and devices, market adoption trends and potential timescale for widespread adoption. Ofcom could also advise on the implications of requiring manufacturers to include conditional access technology in all receiving devices from a future date. (Paragraph 244)

46.  We recommend the BBC should look at the practicality of introducing controls for authorising access to the iPlayer as soon as is possible, as has been suggested by Lord Burns. (Paragraph 245)

Setting the level of funding

47.  We believe that the current means of setting the licence fee is unsatisfactory. The 2010 settlement demonstrated that the BBC's independence can be compromised by negotiations with the government of the day that lack transparency and public consultation. Irrespective of any Government pressure, the BBC Trust breached its Charter duties and often-stated commitments to reflect the interests of licence fee payers first and foremost, in agreeing the settlement in the manner it did. (Paragraph 255)

48.  No future licence fee negotiations must be conducted in the way of the 2010 settlement: the process must be open and transparent, licence fee payers must be consulted and Parliament should have an opportunity to debate the level of funding being set and any significant changes to funding responsibilities. We recommend that the independent panel and Charter Review process consider the appropriate length of licence fee settlements and the period in which they should be reviewed and changes made. (Paragraph 256)

Sharing the licence fee

49.  Although there is nothing that states the licence fee revenue is the sole preserve of the BBC, we find the case for the licence fee as a source of funding for rural broadband and BBC Monitoring unconvincing. (Paragraph 267)

50.  It was wholly wrong that 2010 licence fee settlement, which permitted the licence fee revenue to be used for new purposes, was not subject to any public or parliamentary consultation. We recommend that income from the licence fee (or the broadcasting levy) be used only for the purpose of broadcasting or the production of public service content on television, radio and online. As a result, we believe that the Government must be prepared to remedy any existing spending commitments agreed in 2010 so that those not deemed appropriate for funding through the licence fee are met by other means such as general taxation. (Paragraph 268)

51.  The BBC should be the principal recipient of the licence fee (or broadcasting levy) but a small proportion should be made available for other public service content priorities such as supporting local and regional journalism, and children's broadcasting. We recommend that the independent panel and Charter Review consider how such contestable funds might operate and what types of public service areas they might support. (Paragraph 269)

Governance, regulation and accountability

52.  We believe that the establishment in the 2007 Charter of an oversight and regulatory Trust within the BBC has led to it being too close to the BBC Executive and it being seen on many occasions as being far too protective of the BBC as an institution, rather than acting as an effective and objective regulator and advocate of the licence fee payer and wider public interest. Incidents like its handling of the Savile affair, oversight of the Digital Media Initiative, and its representation of licence fee payers in the 2010 settlement have demonstrated that the BBC Trust has not lived up to its name and we believe it was a mistake not to accept Lord Burns' independent panel's recommendation at the time of the last Charter renewal for fully independent external oversight of the BBC. We believe that the BBC Trust should be abolished and new arrangements made for both the regulation of the BBC and for the BBC to be held accountable to licence fee payers. (Paragraph 293)

53.  We recommend that the BBC should have a unitary board with a non-executive Chair, on which the Director General and executive and non-executive directors sit, where the Board has complete responsibility for the BBC's corporate governance and operations. The Board should comprise a majority of non-executive members. (Paragraph 318)

54.  We recommend that the non-executive Chair of the BBC Board be known as the BBC Chairman. The Board should have the power to hire and fire the Director General in line with the advice of a nomination committee of the BBC Board. (Paragraph 319)

55.  We believe that a Public Service Broadcasting Commission should take on the role of scrutinising the BBC's strategic plan, assessing its overall performance, making recommendations to the BBC in line with its assessments, and advising Government and Parliament on the BBC's and other PSB funding requirements. (Paragraph 320)

56.  We recommend that the non-executive Chairman of the Board be appointed under the same process that currently operates for the Chairman of the BBC Trust. That is to say a process led by Government, overseen by the Commissioner for Public Appointments and subject to a pre-appointment hearing of our Committee. A similar process should be run for the Chair of the Public Service Broadcasting Commission. (Paragraph 321)

57.  The Public Service Broadcasting Commission will need to engender a much more direct and meaningful engagement with licence fee/broadcasting levy payers than its predecessor on BBC services and PSB more generally including through web technologies and social media. Beyond 2016, we would expect the PSBC to commission research on viewers' and listeners' attitudes, willingness to pay, and for greater independent and critical assessment of the BBC's services than has happened before. (Paragraph 322)

58.  We recommend that as an ultimate sanction, the PSBC should have at its disposal a backstop power where it could recommend withholding some funding from the BBC in cases where there was a persistent disregard for the views of licence fee (broadcasting levy) payers as represented through PSBC recommendations on BBC services and activities. We consider the PSBC would have influence over the BBC by virtue of its role in advising on the level of the BBC's future funding requirement as well as through managing a contestable fund for certain PSB content and genres. The independent panel should consider the design and scale of an appropriate sanction mechanism. (Paragraph 323)

59.  We recognise that very careful consideration must be given in the Charter Review process as to where some of the functions of the unitary BBC Board and the external regulator/public interest oversight body best sit. We recommend that the independent panel consider which elements of BBC oversight and governance should be exclusively in the unitary board and which ones must be transferred to the external, oversight body in its role of providing independent scrutiny of the BBC. (Paragraph 324)

Ensuring value for money

60.  We recommend that the BBC Charter and Framework Agreement are amended to allow the NAO to have statutory access to the BBC accounts. Clearly, if the BBC Trust is no longer in existence the process for publishing the NAO reports on the BBC will need to be revised. We see no strong reason why the NAO should not adopt the same publishing regime for the BBC as it has in place for its reports on Government departments and agencies. (Paragraph 330)

Regulation of content

61.  We recommend that Ofcom become the final arbiter of complaints over BBC content including matters concerning impartiality and accuracy, but that complaints should be considered by the BBC in the first instance. Ofcom should be given additional resources for taking on this role which are commensurate with the responsibility and estimated workload. We believe this transfer of responsibility will, if anything, strengthen the independence of the BBC, and also make the complaints process simpler, and appear more transparent and fair. (Paragraph 337)

S4C

62.  We recommend that the Trust's current oversight of S4C's licence fee funding passes to the Public Service Broadcasting Commission in 2017 should the majority of S4C's income continue to come through the licence fee (or a new broadcasting levy). It will be important that S4C remains independent operationally and managerially over its affairs and editorially over its content. (Paragraph 340)

Constitution and reviews

63.  Parliament must have an increased role in scrutinising the BBC's Agreement with the Secretary of State, and any amendments to it, and in scrutinising the draft Charter itself. This should conclude with a debate on the draft Charter and Agreement on the Floor of the House. (Paragraph 345)

64.  We believe that the BBC Royal Charter has stood the test of time and that it remains the best constitutional arrangement for establishing the BBC. We conclude that a ten-year Charter would provide the BBC with the security it requires, and certainty for the wider broadcasting, media and communications and technology sectors. If full consultation and consideration can be given before the expiry of the current Charter, we recommend that the BBC be granted a further ten-year Charter, with a mid-term review of the Framework Agreement with Government or, alternatively, at any time, when substantial amendments are made to this document. (Paragraph 347)

65.  Should there be insufficient time to complete a comprehensive review of the BBC before the present Charter's expiry, or to implement the Committee's recommendations on governance, we recommend that the BBC is granted a short supplementary Charter of no more than a two-year period enabling the full review to take place and to implement detailed plans to replace the Trust. (Paragraph 348)

66.  We recommend that the Public Service Broadcasting Commission is established as a statutory body rather than having a parallel charter to that of the BBC. (Paragraph 349)


 
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© Parliamentary copyright 2015
Prepared 25 February 2015