The BBC undergoes a review every 10 years in preparation for the renewal of the Royal Charter, which sets out the aims and purposes of the corporation and the governance arrangements including its relationship with government. As it faces a review due to be completed in 2016, The BBC has only recently emerged from cuts and reputation crisis, after damaging revelations such as the Jimmy Savile scandal and the concerns over level of pay and transparency in behaviour of senior executives and presenters.
An outline of BBC’s structure:
The Conservative Party is also currently concerned with their representation and coverage by the BBC. Links regarding these concerns can be found in the Background and Appndix (Press Samples) section. The Conservative Party website briefly outlines their outlooks for the BBC:
Mr. Rob Wilson, Conservative MP for Reading East, moved a debate in April, 2013 on the role of the BBC Trust in oversight of the BBC, claiming that BBC’s management was failing and needed revision. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Mr. Edward Vaizey, responded on behalf of the Government.
You can watch the debate here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=13004&st=16:26:40
The BBC Charter: The Royal Charter acts as a constitutional basis for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). It outlines the purposes of the BBC to the public, guarantees its independence, and the duties of the BBC Trust and the Executive Board. The Charter has been revised and amended every ten years since 1926. The current Charter was established in July 2006, took effect in January, 2007, and runs until 31 December 2016.
A new Charter Review will take effect in January, 2017. A copy of the current Charter can be found at:
One of the more notable changes in 2007 was the abolition of the Board of Governors, and the installment of the BBC Trust, a strategic body that works to govern the BBC and its staff, and hold its executives accountable for its performance. The Trust is made up of a chairman, vice-chairman and 10 other Trustees, four of whom have special responsibility for England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The Trustees are selected by the Queen, and advised by ministers. The current chairman is Lord Chris Patten, whose previous posts include the Conservative Party chairman and Governor of Hong Kong.
BBC Trust information can be found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/
BBC television remains funded by license fees that have been set by Government at £145.00.
Since April 2013 the foreign broadcasting monitoring service: BBC Monitoring (“BBCM”) has been funded from this license fee. The Governance arrangements that apply to BBCM are set out in this protocol:
The 2006 House of Lords select committee on The BBC charter review can be found at:
The 2013-2014 House of Commons Select Committee Inquiry on the future of the BBC can be found at:
Information on the members of the select committee can be found at:
The press notices from the select committee can be found here:
The Third and Final 2006 BBC Charter Report can be found here:
House of Lords Select Committee Report on BBC Governance (2012) is here:
2. Key documents
The Agreement: The Agreement with the Secretary of State provides the details on what is covered in the Charter and funding . It is also an important constitutional document, along with the Charter, for establishing the BBC’s independence from the Government. The current Agreement dates from July 2006
The current agreement can be found here:
The Amendments to the agreement can be found at the below locations:
Protocols: Protocols documents that set out how the BBC Trust works as a part of BBC governance. The Trust’s processes and the respective roles and responsibilities of the BBC Trust and Executive Board are described in these protocols. There are five categories of protocols: Public Purpose, Standards and Strategy, Accountability, Compliance and Oversight, Trust Operations. Following a public consultation, the Trust published “Our Promise to You” about how they will engage with audiences.
The 2013 public purposes can be found here:
The monitoring scheme can be found here:
The relevant consultation can be found here:
“The result of the consultation, “our promise to you” can be found here:
and in summary, here:
3. Key Participants
BBC Executive Board: The BBC is managed by an Executive Board, which has the duty of its operational management. The Board delegates some responsibilities to four subcommittees: Audit, Fair Trading, Nominations and Remuneration. The Executive Board is assessed by the BBC Trust, which publishes its assessment in the Annual Report that comes out in July each year.
The Board consists of: executive directors from within the BBC and four non-executive external directors.
The Director-General is chief executive and editor-in-chief of the BBC.
The BBC Trust appoints the Director General and approves the appointments of the non-executive board members. The other members of the board are appointed by the Nominations Committee and Executive Board.
The Executive Board Members can be found here:
Non-Executive Directors can be found here:
A. Press sample
The Guardian: BBC charter review should be conducted faster, says culture minister:
PressGazette: BBC could face licence fee cut in review of its Royal Charter:
The Guardian: Maria Miller issues final warning to BBC Trust after ‘annus horribilis’:
B. More detail on BBC controversies
The late BBC Presenter, Jimmy Savile was most known for his work on the show Jim’ll Fix It, and as the host of Top of the Pops. Savile was knighted in 1990 and was an iconic public figure. After Savile’s death in 2011, reports began to surface of alleged sex abuse committed by Savile. According to the BBC, there are now over 600 crimes of sexual abuse recorded against Savile in 28 police force areas across the UK, starting as early as 1955 and leading up to 2009.
As allegations continued to emerge, ITV aired a documentary on the history of Savile’s crimes and the emerging situation in 2012. As more victims were encouraged to come forward, the Giving a Victims a Voice report was used to publish the findings of Operation Yewtree, which was launched to investigate Savile’s abuse claims. The report outlined some of the details of Savile’s crimes, such as the youngest victim being an eight-year-old boy, and the oldest being a 47-year-old woman. Further, offenses occurred at 13 hospitals and 14 cases were related to schools (these numbers are continuously growing, with 32 hospitals now under investigation).
The select committee hearing & BBC response on Savile can be viewed here:
A link to a full BBC-published dossier of the history of the Jimmy Savile Scandal:
George Entwistle was appointed Director-General of the BBC on 17 September, 2012. Only one month later, He was questioned by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in Parliament as to why the BBC had failed to broadcast a documentary that investigated the Jimmy Savile scandal. The following month, in a documentary that was aired on BBC’s Newsnight, it was suggested that Lord McApine, advisor to Margaret Thatcher, was implicated in the North Wales sex abuse scandal. The BBC, stating that there had been a mistake in identifying Lord McAlpine, later revoked the claim. In the wake of controversy of BBC’s reporting, George Entwistle resigned after only 54 days on the job.
The false claim against Lord McAlpine ended with a payout over his libel claim of over 185,000 pounds. After negotiations between Entwistle and his lawyers and the BBC Trust, Entwisle was given a payoff of 450,000 pounds in severance plus legal fees, which allegedly added up to over 800,000 pounds. Lord Patten justified the payoff by stating that the Trust did not have the grounds for dismissal and Entwistle did not do anything in breach in his contract, meaning that the payoff was fair and just.
Despite the Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary denouncing the payoff and urging Entwistle to forfeit part of the severance, Entwistle chose to keep the payoff.