A review on the BBC Charter by the British Government’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee praises the BBC as an “extraordinary national and global institution” but called for greater transparency and an abolishment of its current governance system.

The sixty-one page report comes ahead of the proposed White Paper regarding the nature of the BBC’s Charter renewal, which follows last year’s Green Paper on the future of the BBC.

The report is critical of the broadcaster’s management structures but steadfast in its support for maintaining the BBC’s independence, stating that any review of the BBC Charter should be separated from general elections so not to impose any undue pressure and that renewal take place every 11 or 12 years.

The key findings from the review can be seen below, as sourced from the committee’s press release:

  • The BBC Trust has lost confidence and credibility and should be abolished. However, the problem that the Trust was intended to solve remains
  • The BBC’s Board needs to be reformed as a unitary board and strengthened, with the addition of an independent Chair
  • It awaits the results of the Clementi review, but in its judgement wider accountability should be the task of a separate section of Ofcom
  • 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 redefined BBC Board should re-examine the business case for BBC Worldwide and, if it decides to retain the wholly-owned subsidiary model, it should be subjected to greater transparency and accountability and kept under kept under review by Ofcom 
  • There remain concerns about the BBC Studios proposals on four fronts: State Aid rules, transparency and accountability over pay, the relationship between BBC Studios and BBC Commissioners, and the BBC’s regional presence
  • The lack of transparency around salaries, and concerns over levels of pay for executives and talent alike, must be addressed
  • There needs to be a Reformed BBC Board for improved efficiency and public service
  • A new accountability body [needs to be set up] to scrutinise strategy and assess value for money

In response to the review, the BBC issued a statement which said it supports “the committee’s assertion that the BBC’s independence should be protected by taking it out of the political cycle, and agree with its proposal for an 11 or 12 year charter.”

“Like the committee, we think the BBC should be externally regulated – we believe that a unitary board would be good for the BBC and strengthen accountability.”

A full comment from the Public Media Alliance will be issued shortly