Thursday, 26 February 2015

BBC Trust to be scrapped?

 BBC Trust to be scrapped?

The days of the BBC many be numbered, if the proposals in a Report by the Select committee  of the Government's DCMS  come to fruition.  The 166 page report suggests that the Licence Fee would be dropped in favour of a household tax  which gets spent on public service programming from a variety of sources. 

“We recommend that a new Public Service Broadcasting Commission (PSBC) 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 to others,” say MPs in the Report. 

Further debate and investigations will continue in a wide reaching consultation of how the BBC might best be organised. 

As predicted the commercial radio industry have welcome the report:  “The RadioCentre welcomes the findings of the new Culture, Media and Sport Committee report that the BBC does not need to provide ‘something for everyone’, particularly in areas that are already well-served," said Siobhan Kenny, the CEO of the RadioCentre. 

The report envisages opening up the BBC to more  independent production companies and putting an end to the 'in house' guarantees that keep much of broadcasting a closed shop to BBC staff employees.  

The Radio Independents Group  welcomed the move -  “The committee has taken a balanced and informed view in many areas. We welcome such aspects as: general support for competition in programme making; support for a continuation of the Licence Fee, including its possible use for wider industry training; and greater transparency including in-house production costs."

“We also welcome the committee’s statement that the BBC ‘must develop a more equitable commissioning and business strategy that fosters cultural variety and spreads its activity, as far as possible, across the country’. To achieve this the BBC needs to introduce much more competition for ideas in radio so that audio indies, large and small, around the UK have a greater chance to compete to make radio programmes”.

Any changes are envisaged at the next charter renewal, in 2016.  

The Report of the Select committee can be read here:

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