Their functions which include: approving clear objectives and monitoring compliance with those objectives; ensuring that the Corporation meets the highest standards of probity, propriety and value for money; and setting the overall strategy for the various services (Home, World and Commercial). For the Home Services, this strategy should "ensure that the Corporation’s services, programmes and other activities reflect the needs and interests of the public." The Governors are also responsible for ensuring appropriate consultation with the various Councils and due regard for the views of listeners; monitoring fulfillment of legal and contractual obligations; and appointing a Director General and other senior members of management. Neither the Charter nor the Agreement sets out the appropriate relationship between the Governors and BBC officers and staff, although their respective roles have become clearer in recent years. Although it is clear that Governors have a legal right to assume control over programme matters, in practice they do so only in exceptional circumstances.
Another regulatory board which shapes up BBC objectives is OFCOM. OFCOM, as the independent regulator with responsibility for the UK broadcasting sector, should ensure that all public service broadcasters are effectively and transparently regulated with clearly defined public service remits.
Regulation of the BBC - including the approval of new services, enforcement of the fair trading guidelines and determining whether it is achieving its public service objectives - should fall within the remit of OFCOM. It is anomalous, particularly in matters relating to competition, product placement, undue prominence and programme standards that the BBC should fall outside the remit of OFCOM.
OFCOM should have the ability to monitor on an annual basis the commercial and market impact of the BBC's activities to ensure that excessive market distortion does not occur. Furthermore the role of the Governors of the BBC should be refocused to deal with internal management and value for money rather than on regulatory functions.
Some people might think that BBC and other public organisations are very different from the commercial world. But I think in fact, that probably isn't that true, although commercial companies do have a clear profit objective in most cases. In fact, to make that profit objective make any sense, you have to think about all the different component parts of the business which are going to help deliver the desired profitability. With the BBC, they haven't got profit as a motive, but they do have the sense that they need to deliver real value to all of their license payers, and underneath that overall objective there are a lot of different objectives, or sub-layers of objectives, which help them deliver that overall aim. So, they are interested in audiences, not just national audiences, they are interested in performance in the regions, in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. They are interested in minorities as part of their remit, as well as the mass audiences. They have a particular responsibility to deliver a range of programming across their services, really distinctive programming which you wouldn't necessarily find in the commercial world, and above all to make sure that they deliver value for money. They have got a limited budget and have to make sure they spend it as effectively as possible.
The rationale for Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) is that broadcasting, because of its reach and assumed influence, should have public service as a central goal. This has underpinned the BBC and commercial television.
PSB puts the interests of viewers and listeners at the heart of the system, though there has always been debate over how those interests should be represented.
But certain elements are widely accepted. They are:
• Access for all to a range of high-quality programmes across a range of broadcasters;
• Impartial news you can trust;
• Broadcasting free from political and commercial pressures;
• Catering for all sections of the community;
• Owned by the public, accountable to the public;
• A BBC that is properly-funded, through the license fee
EG Across the BBC there is a huge amount of interest in very detailed performance indicators collected quite often on a daily basis. For instance, they have something called the overnight ratings which are sent around electronically every morning which tell them how well the previous evening's television schedule has done, how they've done in audience share terms compared with our main competitors, and increasingly they are looking at particular target audience groups as well as the total audience. They also have some continuing financial performance indicators and some operational indicators which managers need just to run the business.
The BBC has also become more commercialized as they are trying to get a higher share of viewers. They have come under great external scrutiny as well as increasing commercial competitive pressures, and they know a modern business has to understand the drivers of its performance in order to prepare itself for this very tough competitive environment.
The arrival of digital broadcasting technology has fundamentally changed the broadcasting landscape, and the way in which consumers use their television sets. The plurality and diversity of channels and services available to consumers across three digital platforms reflects the levels of dynamism, creativity and competition which now exist in the media market. The BBC is under the most co-ordinated and sustained attack it has faced for many years.
It is being undermined by those who hate the values behind the BBC and the independence of the BBC. Broadcasting policy is driven by commercial values, with public service broadcasting derided as the poor relation unable to deliver the real choice a free market could offer.
Successive reports, green papers, laws and the latest communications legislation have promised to set free the broadcasters from the constraints imposed by excessive regulation. Deregulation would offer the public a greater choice of programmes, more sensitively tailored to their wants by the competitive pressures of the market.
The reality of deregulation is that unprofitable programmes like high quality children's’, regional, minority, educational and current affairs programming are starved of resources, marginalised or axed. In the commercial sector current affairs programming represents just 2.6% of peak time programming.
Surveys show that far from offering greater choice the deregulated market has simply delivered more of the same. And far from restricting choice, the BBC’s public service requirements and public funding through the license fee have served to enhance creativity, technological innovation and quality.
The case for statutory regulation of press standards is built on the premise that properly devised measures designed to promote press freedom and high standards in the press do not constitute pre-publication censorship. Allowing the public to have redressed after publication allows the publisher to decide in advance whether the material should be published, therefore it does not constitute censorship. Nonetheless the proprietors and some editors will doubtless produce this red herring yet again during this process, and the Committee would be well advised to press home a strong set of criticisms on this issue.
The BBC is one part of public service broadcasting in the UK. For the BBC to thrive it must operate on a level playing field. By creating one sector that is increasingly under-regulated (satellite, digital, commercial radio), one that is weakly regulated (ITV) and another with tighter public service requirements (BBC, S4C and C4), and the government has created huge problems. The logic of the current situation is to ultimately diminish the relative weight of public service obligations across the whole sector. This is not a technically driven situation. There is no technical reason why the direction of recent policy has been to foster more commercial services at the expense of public service provision. Given that, the solution resides in looking at the overall policy framework within which UK broadcasting operates. This would mean rolling out public service obligations across the sector, in exchange, perhaps for tax or regulatory concessions. Unless this is done, and unless the BBC is set on a level playing field with its competitors, it will, like public service broadcasting in the USA, wither on the vine. Not immediate death, but death by a thousand minor policy instruments. The Campaign for Press Broadcasting Freedom therefore considers that the current framework governing broadcasting in the UK should be changed to place strong public service obligations on all major providers, so as to ensure the future of high quality, independent broadcasting and related services
There should be positive regulation of the media and communications. The UK's Communications Bill appears to serve sectional commercial interests. The Communications Bill states that OFCOM is meant primarily to promote economic competition in the media. It is designed to allow as much self- regulation by the media as possible. Why? Because positive regulation costs the industry money! OFCOM is to be run by a tiny Board, which has been appointed rather than nominated by public bodies. It therefore represents no one except the interests of those people who have been appointed to it. . There is less representation for Wales and Scotland on OFCOM than there was on the former regulators.
Placing press regulation under OFCOM would be to move responsibility from one unrepresentative body to another. It will also simply be a move from one proprietor-oriented body to a one whose express purpose, is promoting economic competition in the media.
Public service broadcasting will be threatened by the framework created in the new regulator Ofcom, and commercial interests will be allowed to dominate future developments at the expense of media freedom and diversity.
The following implications are likely to result;
ON MEDIA OWNERSHIP: The proposed policies will lead to increased
- concentrations of ownership across all media sectors and increased cross ownership. Evidence shows that this will lead to a reduction in diversity and range of content, as companies seek the maximum returns from their investments. This will not benefit the public. Limits should be enforced on cross ownership and concentration should be properly enforced.
ON PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING: The Bill seeks
- to promote competition and to lift regulations where possible, which will put the success of UK broadcasting in jeopardy. The weakening of positive regulation over ITV has already resulted in cuts in its production of news and current affairs, a reduction in regional programming hours and the failure of its digital platform. There should be a duty on Ofcom to "secure the spread of positive public service requirements" rather than to reduce regulation.
ON THE BBC:
The BBC's globally acknowledged success is built on its∙ relative freedom from the dictates of the market. This must remain the case. Ofcom should not have any role in its direction beyond dialogue on matters of mutual concern.
The BBC has quite a number of different so-called stake holders, from the license payers through to various interest groups, government regulators and so on. Each of these has slightly different interests, and they are interested in different aspects of their performance. They are not always interested in achieving the same objectives either which makes life even more difficult.
The main objectives of license payers would be to receive value for money. Public service broadcasting needs to provide all of the license fee payers, all of the time, with access to the full range of cultural products that the BBC can provide. The argument, in fact should be reversed. The government should alter current legislation to require OFCOM to roll out strong public service obligation across the commercial sector in the UK, especially for ITV, S4C, Channel 5 and Sky. Nevertheless, included in the objectives are also high quality programmes and reliable services.
The main objectives of employees would be:
- High wages.
- Good working conditions
- training, bonus and promotion,
- Good management.
- A working environment was workers find it worthwhile and beneficial to stay behind and contribute. Good values and culture within organization. Compensation and reward systems to reward desired behaviour.
Board of governors
The objectives of governors would be:
- To ensure they serve and are valued by currently under-served audiences, particularly the young and minority ethnic audiences
- Demonstrate improved services to the whole of the UK as part of the BBC’s ongoing response to devolution and regional diversity
- Achieve a step change in the impact on audiences of the BBC’s new media services, including interactive television
- Deliver greater value for money for license payers year on year through increased efficiency and more effective commercial activities
- Drive a change in BBC culture to generate greater collaboration
To what extent are the objectives achieved?
Aside from that operational aspect, there is also a much more formal and systematic process which takes place periodically during the year culminating. To back that up, at quarterly intervals the BBC have a series of quarterly performance updates which are run at divisional level to identify the main concerns, the main issues, the successes, the failures - to allow them to identify things which are happening early enough to do something about them, to help at the end of the year to set and establish their annual objectives and then taking it forward to monitor their progress against those objectives. The success of that whole process depends on getting honest and accurate data from all of the different areas of the BBC.
Secondly, and importantly, they want performance measurement to help them drive the BBC's longer term strategy. It's a key input into the strategy process. Each year, they have an annual update of a rolling five year strategy in the BBC, and performance measurement and data analysis allows them to identify the strengths and weaknesses in their performance, to look externally at competitive threats and market developments and, to make sure that they set and then monitor progress against some clear strategic objectives. So once the objectives have been set, they become an integral part of the next year's performance review.
Accountability, in the public sector is rightly extremely important. For BBC, they have almost an extra dimension in the sense that they have a direct link with their license payers. They pay directly for their service and BBC have a real obligation to demonstrate to each of those license payers that they are delivering value across the year to each and every license paying household. There are a number of public manifestations of accountability. They publish quite a bit of data in their annual report. They also now, which is a relatively new process, have a list of agreed programme promises with the Secretary of State which they report against each year. They have several statutory obligations, again which they have to report against, for instance, they have to source 25% of their programme output from the independent production sector. That aspect of performance measurement is important, and it allows them to demonstrate, both to the board of governors and eventually to Parliament, that the BBC is doing what it has been asked to do, and eventually of course, hope, to all of our license payers. And there are really increasing pressures in this area
Another example is if BBC wanted to look at how effective they are at developing the types of programmes which in future will deliver the audiences, they look very carefully at their development spend on programmes. They try and detect patterns coming ahead in audience consumption by focusing very carefully on consumption of their services in cable and satellite households - households which actually have access to a lot more services than average, so generally try to get a measurement approach which helps them run the business more effectively
For instance, if they had decided for one of our radio stations for example, to focus on a particular target audience group, which for Radio 1 would be the 15 - 24 year olds, it is that group they are interested in focusing on as far as performance is concerned. They are much less interested in the overall share and reach across everybody. They have identified a real strategic target, that's what they now want to measure, through to measures that looked at creativity, the number of new ideas that are coming out each year in terms of programmes or services, through to measures of the commissioning process and how quickly we manage to commission programmes, how cost effectively we are commissioning programmes under business effectiveness.
The BBC has various responsibilities towards its stakeholders. One way of recognizing its responsibilities is by focusing on issues which everyone feels they should be part of in any organisation in discussing and agreeing. These, for example, are what came out of quite a long and detailed process which involved lots of people in the organisation.
What do we want to do? - make life better for everybody through broadcasting and all we do to support it;
How will we do it? - invest funds efficiently in distinctive services to create output which informs, educates, entertains and competes effectively for the attention of audiences, and
What are our guiding principles? - Originality, experimentation, competitiveness, fairness, accessibility and inspiration
Deliver services which meet and develop the full range of audience needs.
They then took the process down to the next stage which was about, having decided what they were there to do, what were their strategic aims or strategic challenges, and delivering services which meet audience needs; reflect, develop and enrich life and culture in the UK; do everything we do to the highest standards; and provide best value for money which is always a difficult thing for an organisation like the BBC.
BBC also needs to ensure that they provide reliable services and act in the public interest. An example is the Hatton enquiry. The public had the right to know about the concerns revealed by David Kelly. The BBC was right to report them. Any news organisation would have done the same.
The BBC was wholly justified in defending the essence of its story, and in defending its independence against unprecedented Government attack.
Andrew Gilligan admitted he was incorrect, on the basis of what he had been told by David Kelly, to say that the Government “probably knew” the 45 minute claim was wrong. But this was only said in one early-morning broadcast (at 6.07am), was not repeated in Gilligan’s other 19 broadcasts and did not feature in any of the press coverage or public debates at the time.
The BBC’s mistakes are a wholly insufficient reason for the Government to exact revenge on public service broadcasting, which would be deeply against the public interest.
The Hutton Inquiry and its aftermath revealed fundamental weaknesses in the Corporation’s governance. Most vitally it showed the extent to which the system of appointing governors does not provide the best way of creating a robust body, willing and able to resist direct government pressures. It also highlighted the extent to which the BBC Board of Governors remains too dependent on BBC managers for its understanding of issues relating to the governance of the Corporation.