Monday, 15 February 2016

# 388 - war - Damning Culture Media and Sport select committee report.

11 February 2016
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee's report on the BBC Charter review says the BBC is an "extraordinary national and global institution" with a "vast amount to contribute as an international standard of excellence in public service broadcasting", but that in a fast-moving world it needs a radical overhaul of its governance arrangements. 

Its Director General is "effectively accountable to no one" but also lacks the support for difficult editorial decisions or to drive change through the organisation.

BBC's accountability and transparency

Improving the BBC’s accountability and transparency will help it to continue to innovate and create superb programming, while addressing a culture that is still perceived by many as arrogant and introspective.
This was most recently illustrated by the "lobbying letter" episode: the Committee says it was completely unacceptable for the BBC to be secretly using stars to campaign "independently" on its behalf, and particularly disappointing that BBC executives refused either to investigate or disavow the episode and instead defended the BBC's actions.

Committee findings and recommendations

  • The BBC Trust has lost confidence and credibility and should be abolished. However, the problem that the Trust was intended to solve remains
  • The BBC’s Board needs to be reformed as a unitary board and strengthened, with the addition of an independent Chair
  • It awaits the results of the Clementi review, but in its judgement wider accountability should be the task of a separate section of Ofcom
  • A new complaints procedure would see all complaints handled initially by the BBC itself, with both industry and editorial issues subsequently escalated to Ofcom
  • The redefined BBC Board should re-examine the business case for BBC Worldwide and, if it decides to retain the wholly-owned subsidiary model, it should be subjected to greater transparency and accountability and kept under kept under review by Ofcom
  • There remain concerns about the BBC Studios proposals on four fronts: State Aid rules, transparency and accountability over pay, the relationship between BBC Studios and BBC Commissioners, and the BBC’s regional presence
  • The lack of transparency around salaries, and concerns over levels of pay for executives and talent alike, must be addressed

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