The BBC Trust will undertake reviews of the BBC News channel, BBC Parliament, Radio 5 Live, Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, the Asian Network and BBC local radio in England within the coming year, it announced today. All BBC services are reviewed on a five-yearly basis by the Trust and this year will see the turn of the above stations.
The National Audit office is being brought in to review the value for money of the BBC’s efficiency savings and the cost of overheads.
The broadcaster is facing a tough year ahead after a freeze in the licence fee until 2017 and planning to take on additional responsibilities, including for funding the World Service, BBC Monitoring and the Welsh-language channel S4C.
The BBC plan pledges to focus on quality and to be more transparent about top-level pay and expenses.
Every BBC programme (or piece of online content) should have a distinctive BBC quality, displaying at least one of the following: high editorial standards; creative and editorial ambition; range and depth; and UK focused content and indigenous talent.
The BBC needs to do more to address concerns about making effective use of the licence fee, particularly in relation to talent costs and top management pay and expenses.
The BBC Trust today launched ‘the largest and most significant service review’ of television that is has ever undertaken, and seeks views on BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four. A 12 week public consultation is now underway.
“This forms part of the Trust’s regular series of reviews and will be the largest and most significant service review the Trust has undertaken. BBC One and BBC Two are the two most popular services that the BBC operates. It will be the first time that the Trust has looked at these services,” said Diane Coyle, BBC Trustee, who is leading the review.
The review will look at all content on the channels including news and nations and regions output, the Trust outlined. The BBC News Channel and BBC Parliament will be examined in the future.
The BBC Trust was yesterday criticised by MPs’ in a select committe report, over the body’s handling of the corporation’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide.
Last week the culture minister, Ben Bradshaw, speaking at last week’s Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge, said there could be a case for a ’smaller licence fee’ and also suggested that the BBC Trust model is not ‘sustainable’.
“How much are you paid for coming onto television… harassing Members of Parliament…? (…) How much are you being paid out of the licence fee? (…) Freedom of information: what is it?” Lord Foulkes asked the BBC’s Carrie Gracie during a heated discussion on the BBC News Channel.
“My salary is £92,000,” she quickly answered. Video below: