The Public Accounts Committee issued a report earlier today claiming that the BBC “does not fully understand” what effects its savings have had on the output of its services.
In the report, which was published on the Parliament website today, the committee said the broadcaster “has made good progress towards the efficiency target set by the BBC Trust in 2007” but criticised the BBC for not carrying out “a detailed analysis of the costs and benefits of what it produces to support its decisions about where to make savings.”
The BBC does not know with confidence whether the savings it has delivered have affected the quality of its services. In future the BBC will be going beyond efficiency savings by making cuts to services, and it must be clear about the distinction between the two.
The BBC should publish how it expects cuts to impact on services, the level of impact it is willing to tolerate, and how it will respond if these levels are breached.
According to the report, in trying to make savings the BBC analysed more than 50 audience measures covering its services, comparing them to similar analyses carried out in 2007-08.
As a result the BBC was said to have found that although some quality measures had fallen over the interval, these were not the same measures that had been under-performing in the earlier analysis.
The committee’s report also included criticism of the BBC’s accounting, claiming that it was “unambitious” in delivering cost savings.
The BBC had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.