Tag Archives: savings

BBC ‘does not fully understand’ effects of savings on services, committee reports

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.

See the full report here.

The BBC had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

BBC to close down Religion and Ethics messageboards

The BBC is to close its Religion and Ethics messageboards to new comments or threads later this month, with a new blog to be brought in later in the year.

Announcing the changes in a blog post commissioning editor for religion Aaqil Ahmed explained the cost of maintaining the messageboard “has become impossible to justify for a relatively small group of users”. The changes follow confirmation of a 25 per cent budget cut facing BBC Online.

We’ve had to make some tough decisions but I want to assure you that the decision to close our BBC Religion and Ethics messageboards was not taken lightly, as I know users have enjoyed being part of the varied discussions on the messageboards about all kinds of religious and ethical topics. However, the cost of maintaining this messageboard has become impossible to justify for a relatively small group of users. What’s more, as we’ve seen with the meteoric growth of Twitter, Facebook and other social networks – there are now many ways to interact and share information online.

Instead the site will launch a new BBC Religion and Ethics Blog later this year, which will be hosted by an expert editor, based in Salford and part of the BBC’s Religion and Ethics team.

We’ll host contributions from leading figures in politics, religion, news, ethics and the media. The blog will be a new way to take a topic further and find out more, whilst also offering you the chance to participate in a wider religious and ethical discussion.

Guardian: Cuts will see World Service merged with BBC News, says Thompson

The BBC plans to cut its online spending by a quarter and merge the World Service with BBC News in 2014 as part of cost cutting measures, director general Mark Thompson said in an interview with the Media Guardian.

According to a report by the Guardian, Thompson said he aims to save half a billion pounds a year “to ensure the public broadcaster can function within the terms of its recently agreed licence fee settlement”.

In an interview with Media Guardian, Thompson said he expects to make efficiency savings of £330m a year by slashing overheads – including cutting the cost of licence fee collection and targeting evaders of the £145.50 household levy.

The BBC will also cut a quarter from its online spending – currently running at £200m a year – and make unspecified but significant savings by merging the World Service with BBC News in 2014 because “however well-resourced the BBC is, we cannot afford to run two global news operations”.