Monday, 18 November 2013

The BBC: a chance to have your say

 Once again, the BBC is in the spotlight.

Last month the Conservative chairman, Grant Shapps, warned that the corporation could be forced to share part of the licence fee, or see it cut outright, if it fails to improve transparency.

The Director General, Tony Hall, responded with his view that the corporation was “unbelievable value for money” although he acknowledged that it needed to win back the public's confidence that it knew how to spend it.  He also warned that a cut in the licence fee would inevitably force it to cut services and leave the public with "less BBC".

What do you think?  Two opportunities for you to say have your say have just been announced:

The BBC Trust has just announced its ‘most ambitious’ review on all four of its TV channels for the first time.  This will include a three-month consultation during which audiences are invited to air their views.

As the BBC's governing body, the Trust's role is to ensure licence fee payers get the best value for money.  If you’d like to take the opportunity to have your say you can do so here; the consultation closes on 14th February.

BBC Trustee David Liddiment launched the consultation saying "the licence fee places a great obligation on the BBC to be bolder than other broadcasters in delivering ambitious and distinctive programmes for its audiences."   The review will also explore how each channel is responding to changes in audience expectations and the way they view programmes, in response to new technology.

With this in mind, when you respond you might like to mention:
  • The drip-drip increase in violent and sexual material in recent dramas which is potentially harmful and should not be considered ‘bold’.
  • The lack of proper age verification on post-watershed iplayer content.

The House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport is holding an inquiry into Future of the BBC, ahead of its current Royal Charter ending in December 2016.

The Committee will be examining the role, definition and scope of the BBC as well as its funding and whether the flat-rate licence system should be modified or replaced. The Committee is also interested in seeking views on the governance of the BBC and the links between accountability, performance, and funding.  You can have your say here; submissions should be received by 6th December.

Alan Yentob recently spoke of BBC management “processes and relationships of labyrinthine and often unnecessary complexity” and the Director General has said that managers “have to get used to spending licence fee payers' money as though it is our own”.

You might like to mention:
  • The unacceptability of the BBC’s complicated and opaque complaints procedure.
  • The need for increased transparency for, and accountability to, the license fee payer.
  • The importance of an entirely separate governing body, detached from day-to-day BBC management.
  • Proper representation for the interests of the license fee payer on the BBC Trust.

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