Vacancies: Non-Executive Members of the BBC Board

Applications for the nine vacancies for non-executive members of the BBC’s new Board close on January 20th.pic BBC

“From 3 April 2017, the BBC will be governed by its Board, which will replace the two-tier governance structure of the BBC Trust and the BBC’s Executive Board. The new Board will be responsible for the exercise of all BBC functions in accordance with the Corporation’s Royal Charter.

The Board will comprise fourteen members: a non-executive Chair, a designated non-executive member for each of the Nations of the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales); five other non-executive members and four executive members, including the BBC Director-General.

The Chair and four non-executive members for the Nations will be appointed by The Queen-in-Council. The other non-executive members will be appointed by the BBC Board through its nominations committee. The executive members will also be appointed by the Board through its nominations committee.”

Those interested can find further details here

 

BBC Charter Review: draft Charter and Agreement published

The UK government recently published draft versions of the new Royal Charter and the Framework Agreement ahead of their debate in Parliament.pic BBC

“The Royal Charter forms the constitutional basis of the BBC and its current Charter is due to expire at the end of 2016.

Following the publication of the Government’s proposals in a White Paper on 12 May the Government is publishing the draft Charter and draft Framework Agreement.”

The text of the draft version of the new Charter (which will be in effect until December 31st 2027) can be found here. The draft includes details of the proposed new BBC Board, the proposed mid-term review (section 57) and the enhanced role of OFCOM, including in the handling of complaints (section 56).

The draft Framework Agreement (available here) includes a section concerning the complaints procedure from page 35 onwards.

agreement-complaints-1

agreement-complaints-2

agreement-complaints-3

agreement-complaints-4

Additional relevant documents can be found here.

BBC Charter Renewal – White Paper

On May 12th the UK government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport published a White Paper relating to the upcoming renewal of the BBC Charter. The document – titled “A BBC for the future: a broadcaster of distinction” – can be found here.pic BBC

Many BBC Watch readers will find section 3 of the report to be of particular interest, including the recommendations (page 60) concerning the complaints system.

“The new Charter will introduce two changes:

 −a single complaints system with regards to the BBC in relation to editorial matters. In the first instance the BBC will handle the complaint. Where a complainant is unsatisfied with the response, or where the BBC fails to respond in a timely manner, the complainant will then be able to complain to Ofcom;

 −external regulatory oversight of editorial matters. Ofcom will be able to consider complaints about all BBC content, including accuracy and impartiality in BBC programmes. This means the BBC will continue to be held to the high editorial standards that the public expects. It will build on the expertise and experience that Ofcom already has in considering complaints about the BBC and the rest of the broadcasting sector.

This approach will require Ofcom to take on responsibility for the regulation of aspects of BBC content currently outside of the Broadcasting Code. The government will work with Ofcom and the BBC to make sure that the BBC is held to the high editorial standards that the public rightly expects.”

The Clementi Review referred to throughout the White Paper can be found here.

 

DCMS report on BBC charter review flags up complaints system

The UK government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport published a report on the BBC charter review on February 11th. Among the findings and recommendations included in the summary of the report is the following:pic BBC

“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 report itself expands on that subject in paragraph 34 of the section titled ‘Conclusions and recommendations”.

“One of the issues that most exercises the public is the BBC’s response to complaints—and, in relation to this, it has been a source of some confusion that certain appeals from the BBC have been referred on to the BBC Trust in its regulatory capacity. In the proposed new regime, all complaints should still be handled initially by the BBC. If unresolved, they should be escalated to Ofcom both for issues relating to competition and the wider industry, such as quotas and fair trading, and for content and breaches of editorial guidelines (such as impartiality, accuracy and taste).”

The full report can be found here.

Related Articles:

Is OFCOM up to the job of arbitration of complaints about BBC content?

Baroness Deech on the BBC complaints system and OFCOM

ITV submission to the DCMS BBC Charter Review consultation

The submission made by ITV plc to the DCMS public consultation on BBC Charter Review can be found here.DCMS consultation

Of particular interest is the section concerning governance and regulation from page 42 onwards.

“ITV believes that there is a compelling case for the BBC to be subject in future to strong, effective and independent regulator which would define in detail and then secure the public interest obligations that the BBC is set in the current Charter process.”

ITV holds the opinion that “many of the BBC Trust’s current regulatory and supervisory functions should be given to Ofcom”, including:

“Final determination of editorial complaints (including in relation to accuracy and impartiality) in all areas of the BBC’s output on the basis of a pan-industry code.”

It adds:

“We recognize that Ofcom would need to change to accommodate such a new regime. So, for instance, there is a strong case for the Ofcom Content Board to be re-invented as a PSB oversight entity with a directly appointed Chair with strong accountability obligations direct to Parliament and the public.”

The BBC found it necessary to respond to ITV’s submission and that response can be found here.

Reminder: DCMS consultation on BBC charter review deadline approaches

In July the Department for Culture Media and Sport launched a public consultation on the subject of the upcoming BBC charter review.DCMS consultation

“Reviewing the BBC’s Royal Charter is not just a case of publishing a consultation. We want to engage with the public and with industry to make sure that all views are given proper consideration. This is why we are engaging with people across the UK in a number of ways to make it easy for everyone to respond.”

The final date for submissions to that consultation is Thursday, October 8th. Anyone who wishes to take part but has not yet done so can find details here.

BBC Trust launches public consultation ahead of charter review

Following the launch last week of the DCMS public consultation on the subject of the BBC charter review, the BBC Trust has initiated a similar process of its own.BBC Trust

“At the BBC Trust, our role is to represent licence fee payers, and we want to ensure that your views are taken into account by the Government as it considers what the BBC of the future should look like.  This is an opportunity for you to join the debate and to help shape the BBC.”  

Readers can find details of the consultation here and can contribute until September 18th 2015.

DCMS launches consultation on BBC charter review

On July 16th the Department for Culture Media and Sport launched a public consultation on the subject of the BBC charter review which will last until October 8th 2015.DCMS consultation

The DCMS’ background document on the consultation can be found here.

“Reviewing the BBC’s Royal Charter is not just a case of publishing a consultation. We want to engage with the public and with industry to make sure that all views are given proper consideration. This is why we are engaging with people across the UK in a number of ways to make it easy for everyone to respond.”

Contact details for UK readers wishing to contribute to the public consultation appear on page eight and the nineteen questions which are the subject of the consultation can be found on page 11.

DCMS report on the future of the BBC

On February 26th the British Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee published the findings of its inquiry into the future of the BBC.BBC building

The BBC’s own reporting on the issue focused mainly on the topic of the licence fee although the report covered many additional subjects.

The committee’s conclusions are as follows:

  • In the short-term there is currently no better alternative to the licence fee but as a minimum the licence fee must be amended to cover catch-up television as soon as possible.
  • Criminal penalties and enforcement for non-payment of the licence is anachronistic and out of proportion with responses to non-payment for other services. However, decriminalisation needs to be accompanied by measures to prevent increased evasion.
  • A broadcasting levy on all households is the preferred alternative but a degree of subscription for BBC services could be a possibility in the future.
  • The BBC has tried for too long to provide “something for everyone”: it should reduce provision in areas where others are better placed to deliver excellence and better value for money, and make bigger, braver decisions on its strategy.
  • The BBC should seek to do more in partnership with others. It should also support local media through extending the indie quota to include local news.
  • The BBC must demonstrate transparency to eliminate suspicions of cross-subsidy of its commercial work if it is to produce content for others.
  • The BBC Trust should be abolished and new arrangements made for the governance, regulation and oversight of the BBC.  
    The BBC should have a unitary board with a non-executive Chair, who would be known as the BBC Chairman.
  • A new rigorous and independent Public Service Broadcasting Commission (PSBC) should be established with the role of scrutinising the BBC’s strategic plan, assessing the BBC’s overall performance, and determining the level of public funding allocated to the BBC and others. A small amount of public funding should made available for other public service content priorities.
  • The National Audit Office (NAO) must now be given unrestricted access to the BBC to provide assurance that the Corporation is spending money wisely. 

One proposal included in the report which will no doubt be of interest to many of our readers is that OFCOM should replace the BBC Trust as “the final arbiter of complaints about BBC content, including matters of impartiality and accuracy”. The report notes that:

“Our inquiry did not examine the way complaints about BBC’s output are handled in any depth but a significant amount of correspondence that we receive as a Committee relates to the BBC and its output and also the way complaints are handled by the BBC and the Trust. Given the importance of the BBC’s impartiality, it is nearly always the case that it is inappropriate for us to intervene in individual cases. Nevertheless, a common theme we have noted is that members of the public who believe they have reason to complain are often dissatisfied that their complaint or point of view has not been considered independently. For many the BBC Trust is essentially part of the BBC and as such the Corporation is seen as a self-regulating body and there is great dissatisfaction that there is no option for an impartial adjudication of a complaint about the BBC by an independent body. “

BBC Watch submitted evidence to the committee on the issue of the BBC complaints system based on the wealth of information provided by our readers over the years. 

The report states:

“We recommend that Ofcom become the final arbiter of complaints over BBC content including matters concerning impartiality and accuracy, but that complaints should be considered by the BBC in the first instance. Ofcom should be given additional resources for taking on this role which are commensurate with the responsibility and estimated workload. We believe this transfer of responsibility will, if anything, strengthen the independence of the BBC, and also make the complaints process simpler, and appear more transparent and fair.”

Readers can find the committee’s full report here and a pdf version of the same report here.