CHAPTER 3: Improvements which could be
made in the short term |
23. There are several issues of governance and
regulation which might be considered by the BBC Trust in the short
term in order significantly to assist the BBC:
(i) managing external complaints;
(ii) quota setting;
(iii) internal compliance;
(iv) providing clarity for viewers and listeners
about factual content;
(v) the role of Non-Executives;
(vi) the governance implications of the licence
fee settlement including the World Service, S4C and Broadband
(vii) The role of the NAO in ensuring transparency;
(viii) Decision making and the public value test.
MANAGING EXTERNAL COMPLAINTS
24. In this inquiry we have considered two separate
but connected issues concerning the handling of complaints about
BBC programmes and services.
25. The first is the complaints system within
the BBC. Lord Grade, a former Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors
described his experience of twice having complained to the BBC
since leaving the Corporation (once about a programme and once
on a commercial matter) as "a grizzly experience".
He described the current system as "hopeless, absolutely
hopeless. It does the great institution no service at all."
Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC, observed that Lord
Grade's experience must have been "particularly painful since
he presided over the system that he was then a victim of."
26. The second issue is the overlap between the
BBC's internal complaints system and those of other bodies. As
the broadcasting landscape has developed over the past 15 years
there have been four pieces of legislation with implications for
the handling of complaints about BBC programmes and services.
New regulatory bodies have been given different and sometimes
overlapping tasks. For example, complaints about the BBC normally
go to the BBC itself butother than for issues of impartiality
and accuracy and commercial referencesthey can also be
raised with Ofcom in parallel or following completion of investigation
by the BBC. This
is known by the BBC Trust and Ofcom as 'overlapping jurisdiction'.
The BBC Trust, under the provisions of the Charter and Agreement,
oversees the enforcement of the BBC's Editorial Guidelines.
Ofcom oversees the enforcement of its statutory codes which apply
to all broadcasters, including with certain limited exceptions
the BBC. The BBC's
Editorial Guidelines apply the principles of the Ofcom Broadcasting
Code to the particular context of the BBC. The timeline in Appendix
4 illustrates how the different regulatory structures have evolved.
27. The arrangements between the BBC Trust and
Ofcom are the subject of a detailed Memorandum of Understanding
(MoU). However it is not always clear to a viewer, listener or
user where to complain about a BBC service. Media commentator
Neil Midgley described it to us as "a bit of a dog's breakfast."
For example it is not immediately clear where a complainant should
lodge their initial complaint, although Ed Richards, the Chief
Executive of Ofcom told us that if a complaint was initially submitted
to the wrong body it would be passed on where appropriate.
28. To understand the combined impact of the
two connected issues, we decided to set out in one chart the possible
options for complaining about the BBC. We believe this may be
the first time the entire complaints system has been documented
for public use on a single page. The completed chart shown below
(Figure 1) is somewhat startling. It illustrates just how confusing
and complicated the complaints process is from a users' perspective.
A table showing where to complain about non-BBC services is included
in Appendix 6.
Where to go to complain about a BBC service
Source: BBC, Ofcom and ATVOD
29. We urge the BBC to consider publishing
a similar document on a single page on its website to explain
where complainants should go to complain about BBC broadcast content
or services. At present, the various processes appear in different
sections of the BBC website. We note with approval Ofcom's recent
publication of a helpful webpage with an improved explanation
of the complaints process from their perspective.
30. Given this confusing situation, as shown
in Figure 1, we examined how the current systems could be improved
in the short term without amending the current Charter or existing
legislation. We started by looking at the BBC's internal system
which is set out in Figure 2. We asked the BBC what processes
it follows to deal with complaints and were told that people can
make a complaint to the BBC by phone (24 hours a day), website
or letter within 30 working days of the broadcast of the event.
The BBC treats something as a complaint if the viewer or listeners
says that it is a complaint. Complaints made online or by phone
allow the complainant to decide whether they are making a comment
or a complaint, but letter writers are expected to make it clear
that they are making a complaint and expect a reply.
The BBC told us that: "if the complaint is addressed or emailed
straight to a BBC programme team then they would normally handle
and reply to it directly."
Phone calls and information sent via the BBC Complaints website
or by letter to the PO Box address are initially received by BBC
Audience Services. This contact centre logs, tracks and replies
to all written complaints and it answers telephone complaints.
The BBC Executive ensures that the BBC Trust is regularly informed
about the complaints which it receives. The BBC told us that most
complaints receive a response directly from BBC Audience Services
however "more detailed or complex complaints may be referred
to complaints advisors around the UK. They may in turn need to
escalate them to production staff for guidance or drafting of
31. This represents the first stage of the BBC
complaints process as shown in Figure 2. The vast majority of
complaints receive a response at stage 1 within 10 working days
although this depends on the nature of the complaint and the volume
and nature of other complaints which also need to be answered.
If a complainant is not satisfied with this response they can
bring the complaint to stage two which is also dealt with by the
BBC Executive. If on completion of this process they remain dissatisfied
they can bring their complaint to the BBC Trust. The Editorial
Standards Committee of the BBC Trust then examines the complaint
against the BBC Editorial Guidelines. A recent example of this
was the BBC Trust's finding on 16 June that a Panorama
programme, 'Primark: On the Rack', broadcast in June 2008 breached
the BBC Editorial Guidelines on accuracy and fairness.
The BBC Trust's decision marks the end of the BBC complaints process,
although the complaint can also be brought to Ofcom (at any stage
in the process) provided that the decision relates to subject
matter for which Ofcom has jurisdiction over the BBC and ultimately
it can be judicially reviewed.
The BBC standards complaints process for
television and radio programmes
32. In written evidence Safermedia, a charity
group which seeks to reduce the harmful effects of the media on
children, family and society, expressed a concern about the BBC
complaints process describing it as: "cumbersome and serves
mainly to put off those who actually put pen to paper or fingers
Safermedia believed that "it would be helpful if the BBC
Trust undertook a streamlining of the complaints process."
The Voice of the Listener and Viewer (VLV) wrote that the Trust
should handle complaints from licence fee payers: "The Trust
provides a formal way for the public to complain directly to an
organisation separate from the BBC."
Diane Coyle, Vice Chairman of the BBC Trust, told us that: "The
overwhelming majority of complaints are settled within the timeframe
that we have set out for them. We also do mystery shopping to
check the process ourselves."
Lord Patten said that: "I think that all of us at the Trust
think that the system can and should be improved; it needs to
be made simpler, quicker and more transparent."
He believed that "the process would be helped and I have
said this to the BBC Executive, if the BBC would, from time to
time, apologise faster when it got things wrong."
We agree with Lord Patten and look forward to the conclusions
of his review of BBC complaints processes.
33. It is important that any complaint raised
with the BBC Executive should be dealt with in a clear and transparent
manner. As a general rule it should not be possible for anyone
working for the BBC to quash a complaint before it has been appropriately
recorded and the complainant has received an adequate response
together with an opportunity to raise the matter with the BBC
Trust or Ofcom.
34. A former BBC Director-General, Lord Birt,
told us that when he joined the BBC in 1987 he was advised by
a complaints executive that "the BBC never admits to making
a mistake." However he believed that: "things changed
enormously and there was proper apparatus instituted for dealing
properly with viewer and listener complaints."
Gavyn Davies, a former BBC Chairman, told us he knew the BBC had
made big efforts to make the new system clear but that "people
really do not know quite who to complain to. They write to the
Chairman; they sometimes write to the editor of the programme
and then sometimes that is not collected by the complaints process,
so it can be a little unclear. I think there should be one place
with "Complaints" on the door that people know where
to write to, and it probably needs to be in the regulator."
The BBC told us that complaints are handled by BBC Audience services
if a complaint is raised online, by phone or in writing to the
PO Box address. However, complaints are also handled directly
by BBC programme teams if a complainant raises their complaint
directly with them.
35. We believe that there should be a "one-stop
shop" within the BBC where complaints are registered and
either dealt with directly orin the case of more complicated
or serious matterspassed on to the relevant department.
This would simplify the process for viewers, listeners and users
and ensure that the BBC is able to monitor appropriately all of
the complaints which it receives. Given the existing BBC structure
for managing complaints, we recommend that BBC Audience Services
takes on this role and that a process is established whereby all
complaints are forwarded on to this department even in cases where
the initial complaint is made directly to the programme team.
OVERLAPPING JURISDICTION WITH OFCOM
36. On the subject of the overlapping jurisdiction
between the BBC Trust and Ofcom, the Chief Executive of Ofcom
Ed Richards told us that: "I think everybody knows the areas
where there is a degree of uncertainty about where you should
be going. The starting point of that is because viewers say, 'Do
we complain to the BBC, the BBC Trust or Ofcom?' I think that
is inevitable when you have two bodies" [governing and regulating
the BBC]. The Secretary
of State agreed that something needed to be done in order to improve
the system within which complaints are handled: "People do
not necessarily know who they should go to in individual situations.
I know that the BBC Trust is looking at that issue, but I think
it would be an excellent thing to make progress on."
37. We asked the BBC and Ofcom how complaints
were dealt with when they were made simultaneously to both organisations
at the same time and we were told that any standards complaints
about BBC programmes that fall within Ofcom's standards remit
will be considered by the BBC complaints procedure irrespective
of whether Ofcom is also considering them. The Editorial Complaints
Unit (ECU), which forms the second stage of the BBC's procedure
for handling such complaints, is responsible for the BBC's submissions
to Ofcom and ensures that submissions requested by Ofcom are consistent
with the BBC's response to any other complaints about the same
38. In the case of complaints within Ofcom's
Fairness & Privacy remit (which must be from parties directly
affected), if a party complains simultaneously to Ofcom and
the BBC (or the BBC Trust) then complainants will be given the
option of continuing to pursue their complaint with the BBC or
choosing to have their complaint considered by Ofcom but not both
concurrently. The BBC will deal either directly with the
complainant or via Ofcom's processes but not both simultaneously.
If the complainant chooses to pursue their complaint with Ofcom
then the BBC will cease considering the complaint. If the complainant
chooses to pursue their complaint with the BBC (or BBC Trust)
then Ofcom will suspend its consideration of the complaint while
the BBC (or BBC Trust) investigates. Ofcom may allow the complaint
to be reinstated if the complainant is unhappy with the outcome
of the BBC investigation.
39. There may be some circumstances where complaints
raise multiple issues (for example, fairness and separately accuracy
or impartiality). In those circumstances both Ofcom and the BBC
(or BBC Trust) may take the respective issues forward concurrently.
However, normal practice is for the BBC or BBC Trust to suspend
their consideration until Ofcom concludes consideration of the
fairness aspects of the complaint.
40. We believe that greater transparency is
needed on how complaints are dealt with in cases where complaints
are raised simultaneously to the BBC and Ofcom. This is important
to provide greater clarity for viewers, listeners and users of
BBC services and we encourage the BBC Executive, the BBC Trust
and Ofcom to work together to ensure that people wishing to complain
about a BBC television or radio service understand the process
through which their complaint will be handled.
REFORMS TO THE BBC COMPLAINTS PROCESSWHO
SHOULD HANDLE COMPLAINTS?
41. During the course of our inquiry we heard
contrasting views on whether there is a problem with the different
review processes followed by the BBC and by Ofcom. Lord Grade
highlighted the broadcast by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross on
BBC Radio Two in October 2008.
He said the Trust dealt with it within a few days: "They
sent for the Director-General to come back from his holiday, and
they had passed judgment on it. Ofcom did the same thing but did
it many months laterI cannot remember how many months laterbecause
as a statutory body they had to go through their due processes
and so on and not risk being judicially reviewed, and so on. It
took forever. In the end, you had two judgments on the same incident
from two different regulators. I think that is a muddle."
On the other hand Ed Richards explained what he saw as the benefit
of the different roles of Ofcom and the BBC Trust in content regulation.
He described Ofcom's ability to delay ruling on these types of
issues as an advantage, saying that it was able to "just
let the fuss die down a bit, let the hype fall out of it and just
calmly look at the facts over a period of time". There is
no need to rush out an answer; try and find the right answer."
42. One possible way forward was raised both
in written and oral evidence. Professor Richard Collins of
the Open University pointed to what is sometimes known as a 'broadcaster
first' complaints system, writing that: "it is important
that complaints should first be directed to the BBC (which, in
recent times, has notably improved its complaints handling) and
only after a BBC response should dissatisfied complainants enjoy
a right of appeal to Ofcom."
Robert Beveridge of Edinburgh Napier University agreed: "If
I have a complaint about STV, I will go to STV first then to Ofcom.
In the case of the BBC, I go to the BBC including the Trust and
if necessary to Ofcom."
Lord Birt told us that: "I think first and foremost the people
who should handle these complaints are the decision-makers or
the programme-makers or the programme controllers. Most complaints
are dealt with at that level perfectly effectively. If that does
go wrong, you need some set system of appeal within the organisation.
I would only want to see another body such as Ofcom involved,
as in the legal process, as the equivalent of what was the House
of Lords, now the Supreme Court. It should be the ultimate court
of appeal for a small number of stubborn cases on which the BBC
cannot offer satisfaction to a complainant."
When a similar proposal was put to Lord Patten he told us "that
certainly sounds like something we could look at."
43. Section 325 of the Communications Act of
2003 appears to give Ofcom some discretion when deciding the procedures
for the handling and resolution of complaints made to it. It says
"it shall be the duty of Ofcom themselves to establish procedures
for the handling and resolution of complaints about the observance
of standards." Therefore, there remains some flexibility
in how the complaints process may be improved in the future to
the benefit of the viewer, user and listener.
44. We believe that the BBC and Ofcom should
consider drawing up a new Memorandum of Understanding on complaints
which requires that all complaints about BBC programmes and services
first be considered by the BBC using an improved version of the
existing internal process. If complainants are not content with
the outcome of that process they should have the right of appeal
to the BBC Trust. Only if the complainants are not satisfied with
the outcome of this appeal should a complaint about BBC broadcast
content be considered by Ofcom.
45. The BBC and Ofcom would have to resolve for
the new Memorandum how to explain to complainants that the Trust's
decisions would be taken against the background of its Editorial
Guidelines and other relevant questions whereas Ofcom's would
be taken in the context of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. A new
Memorandum of Understanding could also set out how the BBC would
keep Ofcom fully and properly informed of the nature and progress
of the complaints made so that Ofcom could meet its statutory
duties including those recording any breaches of the Ofcom code
by BBC broadcasts and, where appropriate, sanctioning the BBC
for such breaches.
46. In cases of 'TV-like video-on-demand' services
complaints about programmes accessed online via BBC iPlayer can
be raised with either the BBC or with Ofcom. However if the BBC
iPlayer programme is accessed on another platform, for example
through Virgin Media or BT Vision, then the complainant should
first raise their complaint directly with the BBC and only once
this process has been exhausted can they raise their complaint
directly with ATVOD, the Authority for Video On Demand. This is
because ATVOD operates under a 'broadcaster first' system of regulation.
Neither Ofcom nor ATVOD have any jurisdiction over BBC 'non-TV
like' online content, so any complaints made about the BBC website
must be made directly to the BBC. Likewise, complaints about BBC
radio programmes listened to online via RadioPlayer should be
made directly to the BBC and cannot be appealed to either Ofcom
or ATVOD. Further information about how to complain about different
types of media services is available in Appendix 7.
COMPLAINTS INVOLVING IMPARTIALITY
47. The principal remaining issue is the current
arrangement under which Ofcom does not consider whether BBC broadcast
content has breached the Ofcom code on 'due impartiality and due
accuracy'. This is
the sole remaining major area of BBC UK television and radio content
which is not subject to external regulation
and therefore in this one sphere the Trust is responsible for
both governance and regulation. Under the existing Memorandum
of Understanding between the BBC and Ofcom the BBC is required
to observe most of the programme standards set by Ofcom for all
broadcasters under Section 319 of the Communications Act 2003.
These include the specific protections for under-18s, and protection
for all viewers and listeners from 'harmful and offensive material'.
The main exception is that the accuracy and impartiality of programmes
of the BBC's public broadcasting services fall within the responsibility
of the Trust alone. This exception is not required by the 2006
Royal Charter which established the BBC Trust or the 2003 Communications
Act (which created Ofcom). It is set out in the current Agreement
between the Government and the BBC,
and in the Memorandum of Understanding between the Trust and Ofcom.
Any changes would have to be agreed by the Government, the BBC
and Ofcom. The effect of these current arrangements is that for
issues of impartiality and accuracy the BBC is 'judge and jury'
in its own case which, as a general rule, is not thought appropriate.
48. Witnesses with previous direct experience
of the BBC either supported or were accepting of an extension
to Ofcom's regulatory jurisdiction to include BBC impartiality
and accuracy in public service broadcasting content. Two previous
BBC Chairmen, Sir Christopher Bland and Gavyn Davies, were
in favour of this change. Sir Christopher told us that, "In
2016 what should be done is to give the regulatory responsibility
to Ofcom, I think now that is clear ..."
Mr Davies agreed, saying that he "... would now be happy
with that. I think it is no longer feasible to take the position
I took in 2003-04 which was that the governance system, as it
then was, was better than most of the alternatives."
Two former Director-Generals, Lord Birt and Greg Dyke were also
supportive. Mr Dyke said if the issue could be resolved quickly
between the Trust and Ofcom that would confirm the view of "most
people inside the BBC."
Lord Grade told us that: "I would not die in a ditch, to
be honest if it was decided that all the regulation of impartiality,
taste and decency should fall consistently to Ofcom."
However, the outgoing (and now former) Chairman, Sir Michael
Lyons, was against such a change. He said that the right conclusion
had been reached "in the debate in 2006 which put a premium
on protecting the independence of the BBC and ensuring that the
BBC did not find itself becoming in awe to a regulator on issues
of accuracy and impartiality."
The current Director-General Mark Thompson told us "to say
to the sovereign body 'you have no role in deciding whether or
not the BBC is discharging its duty to the public in the matter
of impartiality' would lead to a loss of public trust in the governing
body and in the BBC."
The Chairman of Ofcom, Colette Bowe, said, subject to the constraint
of resources: "we will do anything we can to help him [Lord
Patten] get to whatever better resolution he thinks that there
might be of these issues that have been raised about the Trust."
She was "certainly not here with any territorial ambitions."
49. The Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt MP,
told us that: "I am not saying that this is necessarily the
solution that Ofcom should do these roles, but it is important
that there is a system that works and there is simplicity about
the Ofcom route. If the BBC do not want that, they have until
2016 to prove that they have another system that commands everyone's
One of his predecessors, Tessa Jowell MP, said: "I would
be minded to hand that responsibility [for content regulation]
lock, stock and barrel to Ofcom and leave the Trust solely responsible
for the governance of the BBC."
Ms Jowell's 2005 Green Paper on the Royal Charter envisaged that
there would be some review of these arrangements and that the
timing of that review would be around 2011. It said: "We
want to give both Ofcom and the new BBC governance structure time
to bed in before considering again the distribution of responsibilities
for this sort of 'negative regulation' of standards and quotas.
We will review the position five years into the new Charter."
50. We have given considerable thought as to
how this issue could be resolved. We regard the BBC's commitment
to impartiality and accuracy as one of the Corporation's most
important contributions to British public life. The BBC's Trustees,
and before them the Governors, have always taken their responsibilities
on impartiality and accuracy very seriously. In fact, BBC Trust
Vice-Chairman Diane Coyle told us that: "I cannot imagine
ever not caring about impartiality as a Trustee; we would have
to continue caring about it."
The BBC Trust has commissioned some important research into impartiality
in the past, such as the 2007 report for the Trust by John Bridcut.
We wish to commend the Trust on this work and hope that it will
continue. Given its important public service role, we expect the
BBC to continue to provide a 'gold standard' for UK broadcasting
and to aim for the highest possible standard in all its output.
The BBC's Editorial Guidelines on impartiality already apply to
a wider range of programme genres than Section 5 of the Ofcom
code on 'due impartiality', which is restricted to news and certain
other programmes such as those on matters of political controversy.
The BBC guidelines require accuracy in all content and Ofcom's
requirement for accuracy extends only to news content.
51. The BBC Executive and Trust should continue
to decide if BBC content meets all BBC Editorial Guidelines including
those on impartiality and accuracy. There should be no question
of the BBC Trust being told that it does not have a role in this
process. However, we not believe that the Trust's continued commitment
would be undermined or diluted if the BBC was no longer its own
final judge and jury on impartiality and accuracy; a situation
which already exists on all other public service broadcasting
standards matters. In fact we believe that there would be benefits
to the BBC if the decades-long debate about whether the BBC's
sovereign body can be both 'cheerleader/champion' and a 'regulator'
could be brought to an end. During this inquiry we have noted
that in recent years the BBC Trust has seemed hesitant to call
itself a 'regulator'. In his final public speech as Chairman of
the BBC Trust Sir Michael Lyons said that the Trust was "not
a traditional regulator, in fact not really a regulator at all."
52. We believe that Lord Patten should discuss
with the Chairman of Ofcom, Dr Bowe, how to resolve this
sole remaining major area of content where the BBC remains both
judge and jury in its own case. In order to assist this process,
we have developed three options for resolution which we put before
Lord Patten and Dr Bowe.
(i) The Trust could appoint an Independent Adjudicator
The first option is that the Trust itself appoints
an expert Independent Adjudicator on matters of impartiality and
accuracy. The Adjudicator could sit on his own or he could be
advised by a panel of his own choosing. The position would be
funded by the BBC Trust. To try to ensure the independence of
this person from the BBC we propose that the selection should
be made by a joint BBC Trust-Ofcom panel in which Ofcom is given
a right of veto. We also consider it essential that the BBC agrees
in advance to be bound by the decision of the Adjudicator even
if they disagree with it, but we propose that the BBC Trust should
have the right to state publicly their disagreement if they do
not agree with the findings of the Adjudicator.
(ii) BBC impartiality and accuracy could be considered
The second option is that matters of impartiality
and accuracy on the BBC are considered by Ofcom in the same way
as all other BBC standards issues. We consider that many of Ofcom's
duties are what are sometimes called 'technical' matters, such
as managing the efficient use of spectrum. However, on content
regulation, we note that Parliament recognised the importance
of Ofcom's role by stipulating that there should be a Content
Board, separate from the main Ofcom Board, to consider non-technical
content issues. The
current membership of the Content Board, which oversees broadcast
content standards regulations, is similar in experience to the
Trust's Editorial Standards Committee.
(iii) An Independent Adjudicator could be set
up and sit within Ofcom
The third option is modelled on the three current
Adjudicators for Telecommunications,
for Broadcast Transmission Services,
and Contracts Rights Renewal disputes.
In each case the 'Office of the Adjudicator' sits within Ofcom
and is able to access its resources and expertise, but is independent
of it when deciding on complaints or disputes. The model is flexible
on the number of members of the Adjudication regime, the selection
process and the funding. This model has proved to be successful.
Under this system we suggest that the most appropriate method
of appointment might be for the BBC Trust to select the Adjudicator
subject to the approval of Ofcom. The BBC Trust should be able
publicly to disagree with the findings of the Adjudicator with
reasons, but the Adjudicator's decision would be final.
53. The preference of a clear majority of the
Committee was for the Ofcom route (option ii). However there was
also a minority of supporters within the Committee for the option
of the Trust appointing an independent adjudicator (option i)
or the option of the Trust and Ofcom appointing an independent
adjudicator to sit within Ofcom (option iii). The Committee puts
these options forward for discussion by the BBC Trust and by Ofcom.
54. We recommend that the BBC Trust and Ofcom
work together to resolve the regulation of impartiality and accuracy
so that the BBC is no longer its own judge and jury in these matters.
In order to aid these discussions we propose three options for
consideration by the Trust and Ofcom. The majority of our Committee
proposes that Ofcom are given final responsibility for regulating
impartiality and accuracy in BBC public service broadcasting content.
55. The additional clarity to licence fee payers
of a 'BBC first, Ofcom last' complaints process which covers all
and not just some programme standards is considerable. Figure
3 provides a clearer process as it calls for a complainant to
exhaust the internal BBC complaints process before raising a complaint
with the relevant regulatory authority or ombudsman.
How a revised complaints process might
Source: Stages 1-3 represent the existing BBC
complaints system. Stage 4 is an illustration of how a revised
complaints system might work in practice.
Handling complaints from commercial
56. In addition to handling complaints from viewers
and listeners, it is important that the BBC's commercial competitors
are in a position where their dealings with the BBC and any commercial
interactions are transparent and open for scrutiny. UTV told us
that: "the BBC's complaints processes are unwieldy, demanding
a significant amount of resource on the part of third parties,
and taking an excessive amount of time to resolve. This acts as
a disincentive to licence fee payers or third parties to raise
issues which merit scrutiny."
On the other hand, Radiocentre (the trade body for commercial
radio in the UK) wrote that it "has submitted a significant
number of complaints since the BBC Trust was created" and
that "Ultimately, the fact that these complaints were either
partly or wholly upheld suggests to us that the BBC and BBC Trust's
complaints process is operating effectively."
57. In considering amendments to the complaints
process for viewers, listeners and users, it is important that
the BBC also considers the processes through which its commercial
competitors can raise complaints. It is important that under any
system all complaints raised by BBC competitors are responded
to promptly and openly addressed.
58. The discussions between the Trust and Ofcom
on complaints processes might also provide the opportunity to
review some of the other matters envisaged by Tessa Jowell in
her 2005 Green Paper. For example, the ability of the BBC Trust
to lead through governance could be strengthened by enabling it
to set BBC quotas without prior agreement with Ofcom, as is currently
required. The Memorandum of Understanding between the Trust and
Ofcom states that: "The Trust sets all quotas for BBC TV
services that apply to news and current affairs and programming
for the nations and regionsafter consulting and having
regard to any comments by Ofcom" and that "Ofcom's agreement
is required before the Trust imposes any requirements which in
effect reduce the quota for news and current affairs or nations
and regions programming below the agreed quota levels for the
Under the terms of the MOU the Trust also requires Ofcom's agreement
"regarding the quotas for original productions and programme
making in the nations and regions." The BBC is also required
to comply with arrangements agreed to with Ofcom to (i) secure
a suitable range and proportion of networks programmes are made
in the UK outside of the M25 area; and (ii) to secure that the
time allocated to original programming meets an agreed proportion
of the total broadcasting time for that service. Finally, the
BBC is required in the MOU to ensure that not less than a specified
percentage of broadcasting time of BBC 1 and BBC2 qualifying programmes
is allocated annually to independent productions.
59. We believe that the setting of certain
BBC quotas is an activity more akin to the BBC Trust's governance
functions, such as the service licence process, than to Ofcom's
regulatory role. We invite the Trust and Ofcom to consider how
the process of quota setting could be improved within the requirements
of the Communications Act 2003.
BBC internal compliance processes
60. All content produced by the BBCwherever
and however it is receivedmust comply with the corporation's
Editorial Guidelines. These are a set of rules on issues such
as impartiality, accuracy, fairness and harm and offence which
ensure that BBC content complies with the relevant broadcasting
regulations as set out in Ofcom's Broadcasting Code and meets
the high standards expected of the BBC. In his farewell public
speech Sir Michael Lyons looked back on "memorable cock-ups."
He highlighted three examples of the BBC "shooting itself
in the foot." These were the BBC's role in the bogus competitions
affair, the trailer for a documentary about the Queen which wrongly
implied that Her Majesty walked out of a portrait photographic
session and the 'Ross-Brand' broadcast on Radio Two.
61. In his pre-appointment hearing before the
House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Lord
Patten said that "the attempt to ensure that it meets the
highest standards has led to the creation of a sort of compliance
culture in the BBC, which I think a lot of the best programme
makers and journalists have found an inhibition."
BBC Trustee David Liddiment attributed the tightening in the BBC's
compliance processes to the editorial breaches that had occurred
in the past, saying that: "Faced with the seriousness of
these breaches, the management tightened up their compliance procedures
significantly. That tightening up has triggered something of a
backlash from programme-makers who feel that these things are
now overdone. This is human nature, is it not? Things go wrong
and they are corrected. Sometimes they are over-corrected, and
then things start to become more reasonable again. It is understandable
how that has arisen."
62. Compliance is a governance issue because
it is the expression of governance at the 'coal face' of BBC broadcastingit
determines what is broadcast or written and what is not included.
To a great extent the sort of compliance culture which exists
determines the extent to which the BBC is able and willing to
take risks in its programming. Compliance is of particular importance
as its processes, if heavy-handed, can sometimes be said to stifle
creativity and slow the programme making process.
63. The International Broadcasting Trust (IBT)
told us that it had "recently become concerned about how
compliance works at the BBC."
It had therefore commissioned a survey of producers which concluded
that "many interviewees felt the structural complexity of
compliance, legal and editorial policy could make the production
of more controversial films particularly problematic at the BBC."
David Henshaw, an independent producer, told us that the BBC's
response to each compliance crisis which it faced had been "to
try to create institutions and mechanisms to stop these things
from ever happening again. I think that was probably a false response
and it has led to this enormous bureaucracy."
Tom Roberts, also an independent producer, said the BBC system
suffers from a combination of excess caution and procedural overload."
64. Compliance processes at the BBC are somewhat
different from the compliance procedures of other broadcasters.
Uniquely the BBC has an editorial policy team which can be included
in the process alongside producers, programme commissioners, lawyers
and compliance officers. David Henshaw told us that: "With
Channel 4, there are two parties involved. There is the lawyer
and the commissioning editor. Between them, they handle the compliance
issues, and that seems to work very well ... I do not understand
why you need a third party called editorial compliance when, between
them, a lawyer and an experienced executive producer or BBC editor
can surely interpret these guidelines effectively."
65. On the other hand George Entwistle, BBC Director
of Vision, did not agree that the BBC system was more complicated.
He told us that: "I think that the harder, more challenging
and sensitive the project the more attention it receives. Sometimes
that can be frustrating to people, but I think we are pretty good
at keeping it in proportion."
Mr Entwistle said that the BBC compliance process was based
around a discussion between a programme maker and a commissioning
editor before a programme was made, followed by a requirement
to complete a single compliance checklist form at the end of the
process. A copy
of this compliance checklist is available in Appendix 7. Sir Christopher
Bland also supported the compliance system at the BBC, telling
us that: "The compliance culture at the BBC is no doubt irritating,
but an organisation like that has to do things properly, and that
requires some form of the bureaucracy and compliance."
Our understanding of how the compliance process which programme
makers at the BBC must comply with is shown in Figure 4.
The BBC compliance process
66. If there is confusion in this process it
appears to lie at stage 2, where it is not always clear to producers
whether the production executives, compliance officers or the
editorial policy team are responsible for ensuring that the programme
meets the BBC's Editorial Guidelines. BBC Director of Vision George
Entwistlewhen asked to distinguish between compliance and
editorial policytold us: "I would define compliance
as a relatively technical process, which is to ensure that certain
key parts of the process of signing through and making sure the
appropriate rules and regulations for each piece of content have
been met. I would define editorial policy as the collected wisdom
of a group of specialists in doing difficult or challenging things.
That is the broad distinction between the two."
67. Sir David Attenborough, a natural history
broadcaster and former senior manager at the BBC, told us that
he had not had a problem with editorial compliance in making programmes:
"I have never had any problems with that at all. I know that
my colleagues, my producers, heave a sigh when they say, 'We have
to do all this sort of thing', but I would not have thought that
it was a huge problem as far as contributors were concerned."
It would appear to broadcasters like Sir David and Professor Brian
Cox that compliance, though a necessary evil, does not get in
the way of the BBC making excellent and challenging programming.
However Sir Michael Lyons told us that he was "certainly
aware that there is an active debate within the BBC
programme makers who feel that the current compliance arrangements
are a bit intensive and reduce the fleetness of foot of programme
68. The BBC's Director of Editorial Policy, David
Jordan, told us he would be looking for ways "in which we
can dial down the compliance requirements where that is possible
as long as we remain true to our values and standards
way of just lightening the burden slightly, making it as user-friendly
Lord Patten told us that "... we want to look at everything
we do that might make people in the BBC think we are being excessive
in our demands for checking. We want to look at what we are thought
to do in relation to compliance and give it a good spring clean,
and reduce it to what is really necessary."
69. Compliance can also have an impact on the
way in which the BBC commissions programmes and its willingness
to take risks. In evidence sessions we asked whether the BBC is
more risk-adverse than other broadcasters. Tom Roberts, an independent
programme-maker, told us that "generally, there is that widely
held and quite ingrained belief that controversial or editorially
risky ideas are very difficult to get off the ground at the BBC."
Sir David Attenborough told us that the commissioning process
had been complicated by the proper need for fairness between internal
production units and independents. Sir David said that he
would like to see a "... quicker and clearer commissioning
process." He said that: "What has complicated the commissioning
process now is the proper requirement that the BBC should be open-handed
and even-handed with its internal production units and independents.
Key to that is costing systems and to know whether the costs are
fair and equal, not necessarily favouring your own staff. That
is a very great problem. The BBC has attempted to solve it by
putting up all kinds of balances and checks and double people,
not concentrating the power of commissioning in one pair of hands.
That has its advantages, but it also has its disadvantages. For
example, it seems to me that BBC networks do not have the personality
that they once had."
70. Independent producer Fiona Stourton said
that "at Channel Four the attitude of the assigned lawyer
usually is 'there may well be a complaint about the programme
but are we in a strong position to defend it?' At the BBC the
attitude tends to be 'How can we avoid a complaint?'"
Professor Brian Cox told us that: "it is surely the
case that a broadcaster that never gets things wrong is not trying
hard enough to produce excellent programming."
He continued that his personal view was that: "I would like
to see the BBC more on the front foot, because the way it delivers
the best possible programming is not to be scared to make serious
mistakes and many mistakes, because that is the way that it becomes
a creative organisation. I would want to see it more confident."
71. Given Sir Michael Lyons' three examples
of the BBC "shooting itself in the foot" it is understandable
that the BBC has sought to tighten its compliance arrangements.
However in the short term, the BBC should consider clarifying
the role of the BBC Editorial Policy team and outline more clearly
how they work with programme makers and compliance managers. In
the longer term, the BBC might wish to consider simplifying its
compliance processes. We welcome the work the BBC is planning
to do to lighten the burden and make compliance more of a user-friendly
72. Any bureaucratic process within the BBC,
for example compliance, may endanger the creativity of its employees.
It is important to ensure that the internal compliance procedures
of the BBC do not in any way unnecessarily dampen creativity or
'dumb down' the output of the Corporation.
73. We urge the BBC Trust to consider whether
there are any ways of minimising the compliance culture within
the BBC to reduce bureaucracy in programme making in so far as
that is possible to ensure that the BBC's creativity is not compromised.
Providing clarity for viewers
and listeners about content reality
74. In addition to reviewing the complaints and
compliance procedures for issues such as impartiality and accuracy
we also considered the BBC's interpretation and implementation
of its guidelines on impartiality in relation to issues of truth
75. We were told that the BBC ensures that policy
on impartiality is met by monitoring the balance of viewpoints
achieved over a series of programmes, rather than on a single
Director of BBC Editorial Policy, David Jordan, explained that
he compiled a 'managed risk programme list' every month for meetings
with senior executives: "I will say that I am concerned that
we seem to have a number of programmes that approach a subject
matter from the same viewpoint and we need to be careful about
that, or I will point out other areas that I think are risks for
the BBC if we do not do something about them."
76. The Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt MP,
told the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee in
March that he had discussed the issue of impartiality and bias
with Lord Patten prior to his appointment as Chairman of the BBC
Trust. Mr Hunt said that: "... I believed that more
needed to be done to strengthen the confidence of Parliament in
the impartiality of the BBC. He [Lord Patten] acknowledged that
and said that would be one of the things that he would look into
were he to be appointed."
77. We asked Mr Hunt if he believes that
the BBC is impartial. He replied that he believed that it tries
to be impartial but he agreed that the BBC themselves "concede
that sometimes they do not."
We would welcome clarification on how the BBC monitors and
complies with the requirement for impartiality across its non-factual
output, particularly in drama or entertainment series which touch
on matters of current public concern.
78. On the interpretation of impartiality in
science reporting Professor Brian Cox said in a recent Royal
Television Society lecture that more weight should be given in
broadcasting to the scientifically peer-reviewed consensus positions
which would "leave the audience with a more 'truthful' view
of current thinking."
Professor Cox told us that on certain controversial issues,
such as the safety of the MMR vaccine, the BBC should say "this
is the scientific consensus: it should not say 'this is the scientist
opinion and then we'll give another opinion.'"
Having said that it is important that informed and responsible
views which are not necessarily held by the majority of scientists
are not overlooked. The BBC Trust is currently undertaking an
inquiry into science reporting on the BBC which is due to be published
soon. We look forward to its publication.
79. The BBC Editorial Guidelines on impartiality
and accuracy include a section on 'Avoiding Misleading Audiences'.
During our inquiry we have been made aware of a number of potential
pitfalls within this area. We wish to highlight these to the BBC
Trust so that it can consider whether producers always make it
adequately clear to viewers what is real in a factual programme
and what is not. These issues arise partly from the increased
use of digital technology to enhance the viewing experience and
partly from the growth of formats known as 'constructed reality'
or 'structured reality'.
80. On the use of technology, Sir David
Attenborough told us that working on a recent programme he could
not tell the difference between the computer-modelled image of
an animal and one of a real animal. He regarded it as his responsibility
to make clear to viewers which was which.
Tom Roberts, an independent programme-maker, gave us some examples
of "constructed reality" saying that: "You see
it in Secret Millionaire and in Wife Swap, which
is now off the air. Big Brother was a perfect example of
very carefully picking people who would go at each other and so
on. It was never a reflection of the UK; it was a reflection of
a producer's wildest dreams."
On reality programming which appears to be a hybrid of drama,
documentary and entertainment genres, BBC Trustee David Liddiment
told us that: "we are going through a phase of constructed
reality and formatted documentaries, many of which are very popular."
He thought there was a difference between factual entertainment
programmes which were essentially focused on entertainment, and
current affairs and documentaries: "the important thing is
that the audience is not misled."
Independent producer David Henshaw agreed, telling us that: "I
think the audience has a pretty good understanding of what is
fake and what is not. When they watch a programme like I'm
a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here or Big Brother or Celebrity
Big Brother, they kind of understand the vernacular now."
Tom Roberts talked about the pressure from broadcasters on producers
to create "unreality TV" and to "pack in jeopardy,
uncertainty, tension, risk and so on" in certain programmes."
The BBC's Director of Editorial Policy, David Jordan, told us
that "All television is a construct and some is more constructed
than others. Where things are not supposed to be a distortion
but a true representation we take enormous steps to make sure
people understand what they cannot distort."
81. We call on the BBC to be vigilant and
to continue to ensure that it provides the highest level of impartial
and accurate material. We recommend that the BBC, and other broadcasters,
consider how they can help viewers and listeners discern whether
apparently factual content is an accurate reflection of reality
or has been altered significantly or reconstructed in some way.
82. The governance structure of the BBC appears
to be loosely based on the German model.
German law requires all corporations to have two boardsa
supervisory board and a management board. In the case of the BBC
there is a supervisory board (the Trust) to govern and an executive
board to manage the BBC (the BBC Executive Board). The management
and governance structures of the BBC are set out in Appendix 5.
A full explanation of the structural options for the BBC was provided
in the House of Lords Committee's 2005 Charter Review report
and in the report conducted by Lord Burns
at the time of the last Charter renewal.
83. Although inspired by the structure of the
German two-tier board the BBC Charter includes an element of governance
which does not exist in the German systema requirement
for a number of Non-Executive Directors on the BBC Executive Board.
This is in addition to the Non-Executive Trustees who sit on the
84. The BBC Charter does not state how many Non-Executive
members should sit on the Executive Board but rather it enables
this decision to be made by the Board itself, subject to approval
by the BBC Trust. At present there are five Non-Executive members
who sit on the Board alongside seven Executive members.
85. Sir Michael Lyons chose to emphasise
the advisory role of the Non-Executives on business matters rather
than their corporate governance roles. Sir Michael told us
that: "the Non-Executive directors are all people of considerable
business experience. My view of the arrangements is that those
people essentially act as advisers to the Director-General."
Sir Michael said that: "The public look to the Trust
for an explanation of what the BBC is doing. They do not look
to the Non-Executive Directors nor should they."
Apart from any business advice they offer the Non-Executives on
the BBC Executive Board have roles in corporate governance and
these roles sometimes appear to overlap with those of the BBC's
Trustees. As shown in the organogram is Appendix 5, we were told
by current Trustees Diane Coyle and David Liddiment that the BBC
Executive Board's Audit Committee "has a relationship"
with the Trust's Finance and Compliance Committee and that the
Executive Board's Remuneration Committee "has a relationship"
with the Trust's Remuneration Committee.
86. Mark Thompson told us that he found the Non-Executives
on the Executive Board which he chairs to be very helpful business
advisers. He told us that: "We have very serious players
as Non-Executive directors, of which Marcus [the senior Non-Executive
Marcus Agius] is the leader, and I do use Marcus frequently for
advice or guidance. Often in the way of these things, just like
a Plc, it is five- or 10 minute phone conversations rather than
endless meetings. Also Marcus will phone me when he is concerned
In evidence Marcus Agius, who is also the Chairman of Barclays
Bank, told us: "Whether I call myself a business adviser
or a Non-Executive director is a moot point. A Non-Executive director
on any Board is there for his or her relevant background experience,
because it is felt that he or she can make some kind of contribution
to the discussion that takes place around that Board table."
87. Under the existing governance structure,
we are concerned that the relationship between the senior Non-Executive
Director and the Director-General might be a surrogate for the
relationship that would more traditionally exist between the Chairman
of the BBC Trust and the Director-General. We believe that it
would be worrying if the Director-General were to look to a Non-Executive
member of the Executive Board for help and advice more than to
the Chairman of the Trust and agree with Lord Patten that "...
a great deal depends on the relationship between the Chairman
of the Trust and the Director-General."
We were encouraged to hear Lord Patten say that he was keen to
ensure that he and the Director-General had the sort of relationship
which was akin to that of a FTSE Chairman with his Chief Executive.
88. We encourage the new Chairman of the BBC
Trust and the Director-General to work closely together in the
best interests of the BBC and licence fee payers.
89. In the past, the Secretary of State has said
that he would like to see one of the Non-Executives of the Executive
Board take on the role as chairman of the Executive Board.
He has since told us that he is now waiting to hear what Lord
Patten will say about this in his report.
Lord Patten told us that he was "dead against" having
a Non-Executive chairman of the executive board, saying that it
would "... hugely complicate the relationships between the
Trust, the Chairman of the Trust and the Executive."
We too are concerned that introducing a Non-Executive Chairman
of the Executive Board might add an additional layer of complexity
between the Chairman of the Trust and the Director-General, potentially
preventing the close working relationship which we would wish
to encourage between these two important figures.
90. Although the Charter allows for the BBC
Executive Board to be chaired by a Non-Executive Director, we
consider the current practice of making the Director-General of
the BBC the Chairman of the Executive Board is a sound one.
91. As the Trust is itself essentially a board
of Non-Executives it is worth asking whether there is a need for
Non-Executives at the Executive Board level at all. The BBC Charter
gives no explanation of the specific role of the Non-Executives
on the Executive Board, other than their membership of the Audit
and Remuneration Committees.
However as Non-Executives are established in the BBC Charter it
would not be possible to abolish these positions without changing
the Charter, which would require agreement by the BBC, the Department
for Culture, Media and Sport and the Privy Council.
In addition, as we have already noted, the present Director-General
has found the Non-Executives on the BBC Board to have been helpful
to him as business advisers.
92. The secondary question to be discussed is
the sort of background from which those Non-Executives should
be chosen. Although the present Non-Executives are undoubtedly
experts in their fields of business
we are not convinced that the BBC should be relying solely on
those with business backgrounds given the overriding public service
nature of its purposes. The former Director-General, Greg Dyke,
confirmed this when he told us "The BBC is not a business."
93. This issue is most visible in relation to
the setting of senior BBC Executive salaries. As outlined in the
Charter, the Trust
sets a strategy for executive pay and decides the salary of the
Director-General but the salaries of other Executive Directors
are decided by the Remuneration Committee of the BBC Executive
Board whose membership consists of Non-Executive members of the
Executive Board. Sir Michael Lyons told us that it took some
time for the Trust to consider executive pay because: "we
had to work with the Executive Board because that is where the
powers lay, and it took some time to get agreement to the scale
of the changes that we wanted, but that would be no different
in a unitary model. After all, essentially among the people you
are talking to here are the people who are going to have their
Sir Michael also said "we eventually had strong allies
in the Remuneration Committee of the Executive Board but to say
that there was a difference of opinion when we started travelling
down this road would be an understatement."
Marcus Agius told us that: "By and large, people do love
to work for the BBC. They have tremendous respect for it, and
therefore an affection for it too. It follows therefore that you
would expect that people would be prepared to suffer a discount
from what they could get in the competitive commercial world in
order to work at the BBC, because of what the BBC does for them,
as well as what they can do for the BBC. That is exactly how it
works. As best we can we should exercise what judgment we can
to get the going rate in the commercial world. Then we are to
haircut that figure by not less than 50% and by up to as much
as 80% in setting those terms of reward."
94. Mark Thompson confirmed that: "for what
it is worth, it is extremely hard now to fill senior jobs in the
BBC, and increasingly remuneration is a factor. Crucially, the
BBC is a broadcaster, and the labour markets in the context of
which we are looking for people and having to retain people are
broadcasting markets that are commercial. Our policy has been
to very substantially discount what the BBC pays relative to equivalent
jobs elsewherethat band of 50% to 80% less is what we have
done." Mr Thompson
continued that: "We have tried to take steps recognising
that public attitudes to pay have changed significantly. However,
the BBC is a broadcaster, and relative to other broadcasters,
what senior BBC people are paid is very substantially less than
the market conditions."
The fact that the current Non-Executives have senior business
and City roles may inflate the level of salaries awarded by them
to BBC staff and might well be perceived by the public as doing
95. We recommend that to achieve a proper
balance in the experience of the Non-Executives who are responsible
for certain governance measures, including setting the salaries
for senior BBC Executives, candidates from the public and third
sectors should be considered alongside senior business figures
when vacancies occur in the future. People with this type of background
would be able to provide valuable advice to the Executive Board,
including in its preparation of reports to the Trust and more
generally. However, we believe that the Non-Executives on the
BBC Executive Board should be regarded predominantly as advisers
on corporate and management responsibilities advising on business
or organisational issues and supporting the Corporation's public
service remit on issues such as IT, project management, market
conditions, facilities and human resources. Specifically we would
welcome improved clarity around the role of the Non-Executives
on the setting of executive salaries within a strategy decided
by the Trust.
Governance implications of the
licence fee settlement including the BBC World Service, S4C and
Broadband Delivery UK
96. Under the new settlement agreed between the
Secretary of State and the BBC Trust in October 2010 the licence
fee will be fixed at its current rate of £145.50 for a colour
television licence until the end of this Charter in 2016.
However as part of this settlement the BBC has a new responsibility
for funding some additional activities. These fall into three
different categories. The first is the broadcasting service, the
BBC World Service, for which the BBC is currently responsible
but which is funded at present by the Foreign Office. This will
be funded from the licence fee from 2014/15. The second is the
broadcasting service, the Welsh-language broadcaster S4C for which
the BBC is a major programme supplier but currently has no responsibilities
beyond that. At present S4C is mostly funded by DCMS but from
2013/14 it will mostly be funded from the licence fee. The third
category is a non-broadcasting activity, Broadband Delivery UK,
which is a team within DCMS which administers a fund to promote
broadband roll-out in the UK. Taken together these new commitments
will add approximately £340m a year to BBC costs which will
have to be found through making 16% cash releasing efficiencies
on the BBC's overall cost base over the four years to 2016/17.
The licence fee will also be used to fund initial capital investment
in local TV projects and the BBC Monitoring service, which provides
open source news and information to a range of clients including
Government and the media and which is currently directly paid
for by the Government.
97. This settlement represents the first time
that the licence fee has been used to fund such a range of activities
outside the BBC's core services. As well as imposing significant
financial constraints on the BBC, this raises significant governance
challenges for the BBC Trust. For example, how will it ensure
that the bodies managing these services are properly accountable?
In the previous settlement an estimated fund of £603 million
over the lifetime of the settlement (2007/8 to 2012/13) was ring-fenced
to fund a help scheme for digital switchover.
This is administered by a subsidiary wholly-owned by the BBC.
98. It is difficult to see how this model can
be replicated in the case of Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and
this raises particular issues. On the DCMS website BDUK is described
as "a team within DCMS which was set up to deliver the Government's
broadband strategy" and "a delivery vehicle for these
policies, reporting to Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, Communications
and Creative Industries."
As BDUK sits within a Government Department and is responsible
to a Government Minister it would appear that its funding will
pass through the BBC's bank account in so far as it is collected
by the TV Licensing body but will then be used by BDUK to fund
activities which fall outside of the BBC's current existing governance
Patten told us that the BBC Trust is "sorting through"
these issues, "including some very tricky ones, at the moment."
99. We believe that the BBC World Service plays
a pivotal role in the distribution of impartial news around the
world and is a major element in determining the UK's reputation.
We agree with the former Managing Director of the BBC World Service
(BBCWS) Sir John Tusa who wrote that the change in funding
of the BBC World Service whichfrom 2014/15 will be funded
from the licence fee rather than through Parliamentary Grant-in-Aid
administered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office"presents
a historic change for the BBCWS which cannot be overestimated."
We were therefore pleased to hear that although money will not
be specifically ring-fenced within the licence fee to fund the
BBC World Service in the future, both Lord Patten and Mark Thompson
have said that they attached a high priority to the proper funding
of the World Service.
100. However the BBC World Service poses a particular
difficultly for the Trust as the main users of this are unlikely
to be, at least in the majority, licence fee payers or UK taxpayers.
Sir Christopher Bland noted his concern about this, saying
that: "The responsibility for the World Service's funding
is not something that should be laid on the licence fee payer,
who on the whole does not listen to it."
BBC Trustee David Liddiment disagreed, saying that: "From
a perception point of view, that the BBC funds the World Service
from the licence fee should reinforce the independence of those
services overseas. I think that is a good outcome."
101. Sir John Tusa wrote that: "If
the BBCWS is to be adequately resourced and protected the composition,
competency and inclination of both the BBC Trust and the BBC Board
will need significant strengthening."
Lord Patten subsequently announced that the BBC Trust would be
appointing a BBC Trustee with a specific responsibility with regard
to the BBC's international public services including oversight
of the BBC World Service. We were pleased to receive this news
and to see that this post has now been advertised.
102. We understand that discussions are currently
underway between the BBC Trust and the relevant bodies affected
by the licence fee settlement to develop a governance framework
which will ensure that the services will be properly accountable
but in the case of S4C, remain editorially independent. Reports
by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on 'The Implications
of Cuts to the BBC World Service';
the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee on 'The
BBC Licence Fee Settlement'
and the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee on 'S4C'
have provided valuable contributions to this debate.
103. Under the recent settlement money from
the licence fee will be used to fund important activities such
as BBC World Service, S4C and Broadband Delivery UK, which sit
outside of the BBC's core activities. It is therefore necessary
that the BBC Trust works together with the relevant bodies in
order to identify a governance framework through which these bodies
overseeing these activities, particularly BDUK, will be accountable
for the way in which they use this funding. We welcome Lord Patten's
comments that the Trust is "sorting through" some of
these issues at present and we look forward to the outcome of
role of the NAO
104. The National Audit Office (NAO) is responsible
for scrutinising public spending on behalf of Parliament. The
Comptroller and Auditor General, Amyas Morse, is an Officer of
the House of Commons. Both he and his staff are totally independent
As a body which spends £3.5 billion of public money each
year, the BBC Trust has a specific duty outlined in the Charter
to exercise rigorous stewardship of public money.
105. Under the current arrangements agreed between
the BBC Trust, the NAO and the Government, the NAO conducts reviews
of BBC services as requested by the BBC Trust, although it is
not the BBC's auditor.
The BBC Trust is responsible for determining which areas the NAO
should investigate. The NAO reports its findings directly to the
BBC Trust, which adds its own (and the Executive's) comments to
the report before presenting it to the DCMS. The DCMS then lays
the reports before Parliament. This is a different process from
the NAO's dealings with most other publicly-funded organisations.
The rationale for the introduction of this process was to safeguard
the BBC's editorial independence but at the same time to ensure
Parliamentary scrutiny of the spending of public monies.
106. However there have been calls recently for
reforms to these arrangements. In response to a question from
John Whittingdale MP on 28 April 2011 the Secretary of State
Jeremy Hunt MP agreed "that the NAO should have unfettered
access to the BBC accounts."
Jeremy Hunt reiterated this view to us when he said that "when
it comes to the NAO, this is another very important way of ensuring
that we have accountability that does not undermine the BBC's
He continued: "licence fee payers have the comfort of knowing
that someone independent is looking at the way the BBC spends
their money and coming up with an independent report. To me, that
is infinitely preferable and is perhaps the most effective way
of ensuring accountability. NAO access is something that the BBC
should wholeheartedly welcome."
Tessa Jowell MP told us that: "If I was Secretary of
State now, I would support access by the NAO to the BBC."
107. We understand that there is now an agreement
in principle between the BBC Trust and the Government that this
should happen, however negotiations are ongoing as to the terms
of NAO access. The present Secretary of State told us that he
hopes that these discussions will be completed by November.
We understand that the NAO is content to participate in this exercise.
108. The principle of the editorial and journalistic
independence of the BBC from all outside influence, including
that of Parliament through the NAO, or indeed the Department for
Culture, Media and Sport is of utmost importance in all dealings
between the BBC and outside organisations. Mr Hunt pointed
out the importance of BBC independence when it comes to financial
accountability, saying that: "I have always agreed with the
BBC that there should be a red line on NAO access, so that it
should not in any way impinge on editorial independence or the
ability of BBC journalists to do their job in scrutinising the
Executive. I have always said that the terms of the NAO access
must protect the vital ability of BBC journalists to do that.
But beyond that, I think the BBC should be relaxed about letting
the NAO do the investigations that it wants to do and extending
them full co-operation. In the end, that is a much more effective
way of having real accountability."
The results of this would be "with full transparency that
their licence fee pounds will go a lot further, because inside
the organisation they will inevitably take much more care over
how they spend it."
109. Jon Zeff, Director of Media at DCMS told
us that: "I do not think it should be a threat to the BBC's
independence or creativity. One clear part of the settlement is
that the NAO will not get involved in considering or examining
the merits of editorial judgment and that it will steer clear
of areas that would impact on the editorial independence of the
BBC. Really, this is about value for money and scrutiny, and in
that sense I think it should be a helpful arrangement."
The RadioCentre welcomed the calls for the NAO to have greater
access to the BBC "... believing that it will result in greater
value for money and efficient use of the licence fee."
110. On the other hand, Sir Christopher
Bland expressed his concern that if the Public Accounts Committee
of the House of Commons were able to call the BBC to account through
the NAO then that might hamper BBC's impartiality. He said that:
"the House of Commons is deeply attracted to getting its
hands on the BBC and I think there are dangers if it uses the
NAO in an inappropriate way."
111. It must remain clear to all those involved that
matters concerning the journalism, creativity and editorial independence
of the BBC must remain entirely out-with the jurisdiction of the
NAO. However it appears to us that three issues have yet to be
resolved in the current negotiations. The first is the process
to decide which issues should be considered by the NAO. Lord Patten
told us that: "I think the only reservation I would have,
and I hope we will be able to sort this out reasonably quickly,
is that the arrangements for a programme of NAO studies should
be made in such a way that it does not become too reactionary
to whatever is in the public print."
He added "I think it needs to be a planned programme, but
one that can of course be operated flexibly and added to if necessary."
112. Amyas Morse, the Comptroller and Auditor
General, told us that: "In general, it would be normal good
practice to discuss that programme with management and the board,
if appropriate; listen to what they would like us to look at and,
as far as possible, to agree that that programme is reasonable.
That is our normal practice in any situation."
However he went on to say "So if a significant risk falls
in or there is a problem that was not foreseen where quite obviously
there is an expectation that you will make some examination of
it, then you may have to change that plan from time to time. That
is, again, perfectly normal, but you do that with a reasoned dialogue
with the people who are in charge of the organisation concerned."
113. Against this background we understand the
Comptroller and Auditor General's desire to be able to conduct
relevant reviews of how the BBC ensures that it delivers value
for money in all of its work but it must be recognised that the
NAO is not the BBC's auditor and nor can it have a say on journalism
and other content issues in which the BBC must remain independent.
We were grateful for the Comptroller and Auditor General's acceptance
of this and we note his acknowledgement when asked whether he
felt that the NAO had the same skill in the evaluation of the
quality of investigative journalism or the balance of impartiality
as the BBC Trust. He said that: "No, I do not think we do
and I would not pretend that for a minute. We do not regard ourselves
as in a position to second-guess the BBC's decisions on things
of that sort, no. I would not say that. But that is not what I
am there for, frankly. I would not regard that as part of my mission
His role is to evaluate value for money for how the BBC functions
and not in respect of its actual outputs.
114. We recommend a process whereby the NAO
will agree on a work plan in advance with the BBC Trust as is
the case with many other organisations which are audited by the
NAO. If an issue arises during the period of the work plan there
is no reason why it should not be included in future agreed work-plans
if it is still considered significant by the time the next work-plan
is discussed. This would address Lord Patten's concerns that the
NAO should not be too reactive in responding to short term media
attention while recognising the NAO's need for some flexibility.
The period for which those work plans apply and the extent to
which there are opportunities for work plan review is a matter
to be agreed between the BBC Trust, the Government and the NAO.
115. The second issue being discussed between
the Trust, the NAO and DCMS is the right of access to information.
In September 2010 Amyas Morse wrote to the Secretary of State
saying that he needed a right of access to information held by
the BBC. Mr Morse wrote that he did not presently have such a
right and that the BBC regularly argued that information was commercially
sensitive or related to areas of editorial judgement.
Mr Morse told us that there had been disagreements between the
BBC and the NAO about how the Data Protection Act should be interpreted
and that the BBC was often slow in providing information requested
by the NAO. He added that in two studies which they had wanted
to make the BBC delayed giving the information needed for eight
months and for ten weeks respectively.
116. It is important that the Comptroller
and Auditor General has the necessary information to conduct its
reviews into how licence fee money is spent by the BBC. There
should not be any unnecessary delays in the time it takes the
BBC to provide this information as long as there is no question
of threatening its editorial independence and journalistic integrity.
117. The third issue is the way the NAO reports
its findings to the BBC Trust and the way in which this information
is published. The Comptroller and Auditor General told us that,
under the current system, the BBC is afforded much more of an
opportunity to comment on the NAO's report before it is laid before
Parliament than any of the other organisations which it reviews.
Mr Morse told us that: "This is what a report looks
like ... It contains, first of all, a foreword with a commentary
on our report by the BBC Trust, generally about three pages; then
commentary from the BBC executive, generally about five pages.
So generally the word count is about 50% of the size of the report
itself, which comes third in the document after you have read
the comment of the trustees and the rebuttal of management or
the comment of management. So that is what normally happens. Once
they are prepared all these comments are appended and then it
is up to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to arrange
to lay them in Parliament. The delay between our finalising our
report and it being laid in Parliament can be quite extensive.
It has been up to four months. So if you are sitting at the PAC
interested to see this report, you may be waiting a fair time
before you see it."
118. We believe that the BBC Trust and Executive
should continue to be afforded the right to comment on NAO reports
prior to their publication. However, the BBC must ensure that
it is sensitive to the timings of publication and to the level
of input which it adds. We do not believe that it is acceptable
for the BBC unduly to delay the publication of an NAO report by
a couple of months either by withholding information or by delaying
report publication. We also urge the BBC to reconsider the length
of the Trust's and the Executive's commentaries which are included
as a preface to NAO reports when published.
119. When questioned about the process of the
negotiations between the BBC Trust and the Government about NAO
access to the BBC, Diane Coyle, Vice-Chairman of the BBC Trust,
told us that: "There is an issue of independence ... Our
responsibilities are set out in the Charter during the Charter
period. So, there is obviously a certain line at which we will
hold that, but I think that there is far too much over-excitement
about these debates and I am sure that we will reach a satisfactory
Given this, we are surprised that these issues remain unresolved.
120. The NAO should be able to enquire into
the manner in which the BBC conducts its own business insofar
as it does not comment on any broadcast content or journalistic
matters which must be entirely off limits. We recommend that the
BBC Trust, the Government and the National Audit Office continue
to work together to agree on terms of access for the NAO to the
BBC. We encourage these discussions to continue as a high priority
for all parties involved and we hope that a resolution can be
found well in advance of the deadline of November 2011, as set
out by the Secretary of State. We also seek assurances that the
Trust has full access to information from the BBC Executive.
Decision making and the public
121. Public Value Tests (PVTs) were introduced
in 2007 as a way for the Trust to evaluate BBC proposals for new
services or significant amendments to existing services. There
is no definition of what constitutes a service in either the BBC
Charter or the Communications Act 2003. The first stage of this
process is therefore for the BBC Trust to determine whether a
proposal put to it by the Executive constitutes a service and
if so, to initiate a PVT. Public Value Tests are then conducted
under the process outlined in Figure 5 below.
Summary of the BBC Public Value Test process
Source: BBC Trust PVT Guidance Notes
122. Media commentator Steve Hewlett told us
that "the public value test process has, for the first time,
brought real rigour and a degree of openness to the consideration
of the BBC's imperial tendencies, which have been thwarted not
least by their own efforts."
Neil Midgley, Assistant Editor (Media) at the Daily Telegraph
agreed that the system of Public Value Tests had "worked
Professor Richard Collins said that PVTs had "helped
increase transparency in the management and governance of the
commentator Ray Snoddy told us that "at least there is a
process, as opposed to everything just being nodded through. Whatever
the BBC wanted to do, it could do in the past."
Since 2007, the Trust has completed four PVTs. "In three
cases, it has approved the Executive proposal, subject to conditions
that are designed to ensure the optimum balance between the public
value and market impact. In one case (local video proposals) the
Trust rejected the Executive's proposal."
123. However, some of the BBC's commercial competitorsVirgin
Media and the RadioCentrewere critical of the BBC Trust
for failing to conduct a PVT for Project Canvas, now YouView.
Sir Michael Lyons explained that this was because Project
Canvas was not considered to be a service and therefore a full
PVT was not conducted.
He stressed that the proposal was subject to a "non-service
approval" test for which "the only difference is that
instead of asking Ofcom to do the market impact analysis, we commissioned
that market impact analysis ourselves at a lower cost."
Ed Richards, Chief Executive of Ofcom, told us that: "I suspect,
if you looked at it, it might have taken as long as a public value
test would have taken in the first place."
Mr Richards said that he did not know whether it was cheaper
for the BBC Trust to conduct a Market Impact Assessment than for
Ofcom to do so.
124. Neither the BBC Charter, the Agreement or
the Communications Act 2003 provide a definition of what constitutes
a new BBC service. The BBC Trust confirmed that the Agreement
does not provide a hard-edged definition of a service because
when the Agreement was being drafted it was recognised that the
concept of a service is multi-faceted, especially in
the audio-visual sector. Likewise, there is no general definition
of a service in the Communications Act 2003.
The Trust added that: "Arguably, this approach provides an
important flexibility to ensure that the Trust's supervision of
the Executive is based on principle but is not constrained by
unnecessary attention to semantics."
The BBC Trust did identify three characteristics of a service
as outlined in Clause 18 of the Agreement between the BBC and
the Government. These are:
- a presumption that an activity
involving selecting, commissioning, scheduling and distributing
content is a service;
- a recognition that an important function of the
service licence is to provide clarity for licence fee payers,
and reflect their likely perceptions and expectations;
- a recognition that another important function
of the service licence is to provide certainty to others in the
125. The Public Value Test process provides
a useful means through which the BBC Trust is able to assess recommendations
for new services and significant changes to existing services
put forward by the BBC. However there is lack of clarity as to
what constitutes a service and therefore what should be subject
to a full PVT prior to approval. At present, this remains at the
discretion of the BBC Trust. We recommend that the BBC Trust and
Ofcom work together to agree on a suitable definition for a BBC
service or some other solution which would provide much-needed
certainty about when a PVT, with a market impact assessment by
Ofcom, is triggered.
126. In summary we believe that taken together
our proposals on complaints procedures, quota setting, compliance,
corporate governance, financial transparency and the public value
test are a pragmatic package of practical and achievable recommendations.
Lord Patten's meetings with the BBC Executive and Ofcom offer
the first real opportunity since the creation of the Trust to
review the 'distribution of responsibilities' as envisaged by
the then Secretary of State in 2005. This could and should be
done without amendments to the current Royal Charter. We urge
the Trust and Ofcom, supported by DCMS, to be flexible and creative
in discussing reforms which would provide extra clarity to the
benefit of licence fee payers.
127. In particular, our proposal for establishing
a new 'BBC first, Ofcom last' complaints procedure for all programme
standards and our options for clarifying the regulatory role in
impartiality and accuracy would appear to have advantages to the
Trust. Focussing the Trust on governance rather than on regulation
would help clarify the relationship between the Trust and the
BBC Executive, enabling the two bodies to work together more closely
when necessary. This would also enable a sufficiently close relationship
between the Trust and Executive to encourage the close working
between the Chairman and Director-General which a number of witnesses
told us was crucial for enabling the BBC to operate at its best.
128. Figure 6 illustrates the direction which
informs our recommendations on how these issues of governance
and regulation might be reassigned between the BBC Executive,
the BBC Trust and Ofcom in order to provide clarity and to enable
appropriate scrutiny. Specifically, our recommendation for clarity
on the role of the Non-Executives of the Executive Board provides
an opportunity for realigning responsibility for corporate governance
towards the BBC Trust. If agreement was reached between the Trust
and Ofcom on impartiality and accuracy this could help redirect
the main remaining regulatory function from the Trust, allowing
it to focus on governance. Our recommendation for a review of
how BBC quotas are decided provides an opportunity to transfer
from Ofcom to the Trust this area of BBC governance.
Suggested changes to the governance and
regulation of the BBC
129. This modest redistribution of responsibilities
between the BBC Trust, the BBC Executive and Ofcom would clarify
the role of the BBC Trust and enable it to concentrate on its
governance function at these important times for the BBC thereby
strengthening the BBC as a whole and UK broadcasting in general.
The 'cheerleader/regulator' dichotomy should be consigned to history.
31 Q 188 Back
Q 188 Back
Q 347 Back
These are the Broadcasting Act 1996; the Communications Act 2003;
the revised BBC Charter in 2006 and the Audiovisual Media Services
Directive, 2010 Back
More details about where to complain about different media services
is provided in Appendix 6 Back
Addition to the Memorandum
of Understanding between Ofcom and the BBC Trust to deal with
regulatory jurisdiction, July 2008 Back
BBC Editorial Guidelines, last updated in May 2011:
Ofcom Broadcasting Code, last updated 28 February 2011:
Q 2 Back
BBCGR 25 Back
With the exception of except Welsh language complaints which are
handled in Bangor, North Wales Back
BBCGR 25 Back
Finding of the Editorial Standards Committee of the BBC Trust,
Panorama: Primark-On the Rack, BBC One, 23 June 2008, published
on 16 June 2011 Back
BBCGR 12 Back
BBCGR 13 Back
Q 235 Back
Q 561 Back
Q 561 Back
Q 382 Back
Q 41 Back
BBCGR 25 Back
Q 522 Back
Q 628 Back
BBC News, Timeline Russell Brand Prank Calls, 3 April 2009: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7694989.stm Back
Q 187 Back
Q 534 Back
BBCGR 2 Back
BBCGR 7 Back
Q 381 Back
Q 562 Back
Ofcom has fined the BBC four times for breaches of its Broadcasting
Code. The first was a fine of £50,000 in 2007 for breaches
in Blue Peter of rule 2.11 (fair competitions) and 1.26 (due care
over the physical and emotional welfare of under-eighteens). The
second was a fine of £400,000 in 2008 when eight BBC television
and radio programmes were found to have misled audiences by faking
phone-in competitions (rule 2.11). This was followed by a £95,000
fine later that year when two other radio programmes were found
to have breached rule 2.11 on fair competitions. In 2009, Ofcom
fined the BBC £150,000 for breaches of rules 2.1 and 2.3
on fair competitions and rule 8.1 on infringement of privacy in
programmes in relation to comments made on a Radio 2 programme
by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross Back
See definition of 'on-demand audiovisual media services', Article
1, Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the
Council of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain provisions
laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member
States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services
(Audiovisual Media Services Directive) Back
For more details about how to complain about BBC content shown
on different platforms see figure 1 Back
Section 5, Ofcom Broadcasting Code Back
The only other area is the scrutiny of commercial references in
BBC content Back
Section 2, Memorandum of Understanding between the Office of Communications
(Ofcom) and the BBC Trust, March 2007 Back
Section 44 of the Agreement between Her Majesty's Secretary of
State for Culture, Media and Sport and the British Broadcasting
Corporation, July 2006 Back
Section 2, MOU between Ofcom and the BBC Trust Back
Q 29 Back
Q 31 Back
Q 485 Back
Q 190 Back
Q 160 Back
Q 340 Back
Q 526 Back
Q 525 Back
Q 625 Back
Q 76 Back
Review of the BBC's Royal Charter, A strong BBC, independent
of government, DCMS, March 2005 Back
Q 223 Back
BBC Trust report, From SeeSaw to Wagon Wheel: Safeguarding impartiality
in the 21st century, June 2007 Back
The BBC Trust-Past Reflections, Continuing Challenges, Speech
by BBC Trust Chairman Sir Michael Lyons at the London School of
Economics, 9 March 2011 Back
Section 13, Communications Act 2003 Back
The Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator, OTA2: http://www.offta.org.uk/ Back
The Office of the Adjudicator for Broadcast Transmission Services,
OTA: BTS: http://adjudicator-bts.org.uk/ Back
The Office of the Adjudicator (CRR), CRRA: http://www.adjudicator-crr.org.uk/
BBCGR 15 Back
BBCGR 19 Back
Section 2, Memorandum of Understanding between the BBC Trust and
Annex 4, Part 3 of the MOU between the BBC Trust and Ofcom Back
The BBC Trust-Past Reflections, Continuing Challenges, Speech
by BBC Trust Chairman Sir Michael Lyons at the London School of
Economics, 9 March 2011 Back
House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Second Report
of Session 2010-11, Pre-appointment hearing with the Government's
preferred candidate for Chairman of the BBC Trust, HC 864 Back
Q 229 Back
BBCGR 9 Back
Q 263 Back
BBCGR 6 Back
Q 267 Back
Q 423 Back
Q 398 Back
Q 45 Back
Q 398 Back
Q 639 Back
QQ 638, 639 Back
Q 156 Back
Q 470 Back
Q 581 Back
Q 284 Back
Q 680 Back
BBCGR 4 Back
Q 679 Back
Q 679 Back
QQ 426-428 Back
Q 428 Back
House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee oral evidence
session with the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP on the responsibilities
of DCMS, 30 March 2011, Q 67 Back
Q 598 Back
'Science: A challenge to TV orthodoxy', RTS Huw Wheldon lecture
2010 by Prof Brian Cox, OBE Back
Q 663 Back
Section 3, BBC Editorial Guidelines Back
Q 651 Back
Q 276 Back
Q 231 Back
Q 231 Back
Q 281 Back
Q 276 Back
Q 458 Back
Review of the BBC's Royal Charter, A strong BBC, independent
of government, DCMS, March 2005 Back
The House of Lords Select Committee on the BBC Charter Review,
1st Report of Session 2005-06, The Review of the BBC's Royal
Charter, HL 50 Back
Lord Burns' letter to the Secretary of State and the Independent
Panel's Final Advice to the Secretary of State, 27 January 2005 Back
Section 31 of the BBC Charter Back
Q 136 Back
Q 136 Back
QQ 218, 219 Back
Q 323 Back
Q 314 Back
Q 560 Back
Lord Patten told the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport
Committee in his pre-appointment hearing that: "... I don't
see myself playing Romulus to anyone else's Remus, or Remus to
anyone else's Romulus. I would certainly hope to have a constructive
relationship with the director-general, whose organisation, the
BBC-we might disagree about this-is an outstanding one."
(Q 72) Back
House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee oral evidence
session with the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP on DCMS Accounts 2009-10
and responsibilities of the Secretary of State, 14 September 2010,
Q 76 Back
Q 614 Back
Q 560 Back
Section 35 of the BBC Charter Back
BBCGR 21 Back
Q 323 Back
See Appendix 6 for more information about the background of Non-Executive
members of the BBC Executive Board Back
Q 508 Back
Section 33 (7) of the BBC Charter Back
Q 139 Back
Q 139 Back
Q 325 Back
Q 326 Back
Q 326 Back
Letter from the Secretary of State of Culture, the Olympics, Media
and Sport to BBC Chairman Sir Michael Lyons, 21 October 2010 and
letter from Sir Michael Lyons to the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, 21
October 2010 Back
Letter from the Secretary of State of Culture, the Olympics, Media
and Sport to BBC Chairman Sir Michael Lyons, 21 October 2010 Back
Schedule 1, Revised Agreement on the Digital Switchover Help Scheme
between Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Culture, Media and
Sport and the British Broadcasting Corporation, December 2009 Back
Information about BDUK is available on the DCMS website at:
BDUK website: http://discuss.bis.gov.uk/bduk// Back
Q 565 Back
Letter from the Secretary of State of Culture, the Olympics, Media
and Sport to BBC Chairman Sir Michael Lyons, 21 October 2010 Back
BBCGR 1 Back
Q 567 and House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee
oral evidence session with Sir Michael Lyons, Chairman of the
BBC Trust and Mark Thompson, BBC Director General on the BBC Licence
Fee Settlement and Annual Report, 15 December 2010, Q 164 Back
Q 36 Back
Q 203 Back
BBCGR 1 Back
The role of BBC International Trustee is currently being advertised
by DCMS. Appointments to the BBC Trust are made by the Queen on
recommendation of DCMS Ministers through the Prime Minister Back
House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Sixth Report of Session
2010-11, Report on the Implications of Cuts to the BBC World
Service, HC 849 Back
House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Fourth Report
of Session 2010-12, Report on the BBC Licence Fee Settlement
and Annual Report, HC 454 Back
House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee, Fifth Report of Session
2010-12, S4C, HC 614 Back
Role of the NAO as outlined on the NAO website: http://www.nao.org.uk/about_us.aspx
Section 23 (d) of the BBC Charter Back
For the Annual Report 2010/11 KPMG Plc were the Statutory Auditors
for the BBC. Part 2, BBC Executive, Summary financial and independent
auditor's statements of the BBC Annual Report 2010 Back
Oral question on BBC Expenditure, 28 April 2011, col. 332 Back
Q 603 Back
Q 603 Back
Q 58 Back
Q 606 Back
Q 604 Back
Q 608 Back
Q 93 Back
BBCGR 19 Back
Q 36 Back
Q 704 Back
Q 704 Back
Q 689 Back
Q 689 Back
Q 729 Back
BBCGR 20 Back
Q 721 Back
Q 711 Back
Q 258 Back
Q 4 Back
Q 17 Back
BBCGR 2 Back
Q 17 Back
BBCGR 3 Back
Q 109 Back
Q 154 Back
Q 154 Back
Q 542 Back
Q 541 Back
BBCGR 8 Back
BBCGR 8 Back
Clause 18 of the Agreement between Her Majesty's Secretary of
State for Culture, Media and Sport and the British Broadcasting
Corporation, July 2006 Back
QQ 473, 560 Back