New Charter needs to herald new era of openness, MPs tell BBC

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02 Aug 2016
In a new report published today on the BBC White Paper, that will form the basis of the BBC’s next eleven year Charter, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee welcomes the decision to abolish the BBC Trust and establish a unitary Board, to consolidate regulation of the BBC in Ofcom and to enhance the role of the National Audit Office in overseeing the BBC accounts.

The Committee, of which Newcastle MP Paul Farrelly is a senior member, also makes three further recommendations for reform at the BBC as part of its new charter

1. The BBC should publish details of all salaries over the £143,000 threshold for performers, presenters and producers, as well as executives. The Committee concludes that there is no good reason to hide BBC performer’s total pay under the guise of preventing poaching by other stations: salary levels are already common knowledge in the industry and should be accountable to the public as well.

2. The Committee retains serious concerns over the appointment of the new Board, including the way the Chair was reappointed without a recruitment process. The Chair of the BBC Trust heads up a board, supported by a secretariat, which is charged with the governance of the BBC, but has little operational responsibility. The Chair of the new unitary Board of the BBC, however, is the head of a global broadcasting company. The two roles are very different, and have very different responsibilities.  The process of appointing the Chair should have been via an open and orderly public competition, as is standard in the public sector and as the Government has proposed for other members of the board.

3. Following the trial of three different pilot formats, the BBC should proceed with a “Scottish Six”: a television news programme anchored in Scotland, with a running order of Scottish, UK and international stories based on news merit, drawing on all the BBC's facilities, and broadcast from Scotland

To read the report in full, click here.

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