Independent panel calls for reform of BBC governance

By Caitlin Pike

current system of governance at the BBC is unsustainable and reform is
needed, according to the independent panel appointed by Government to
examine the future of the broadcaster.

Following a series of
public seminars, the panel, led by Abbey National chairman Lord Burns,
has set out its conclusions about the regulation of the BBC.

In a
letter to culture minister Tessa Jowell, Lord Burns wrote: “In light of
the dramatic changes in broadcasting we have described, the BBC’s
current arrangements appear increasingly inappropriate.”

panel highlighted failings in the current system, including the fact
that it does not generate sufficient confidence amongst other
broadcasters that they will be treated fairly and that it lacks
transparency, accountability and openness.

Three options for an
improved system of governance were examined and the panel concluded
that an external regulator would be preferable. The proposed regulator
would allow for the possibility of allocating part of the licence fee
to PSBs other than the BBC if and when appropriate.

The panel
members included Sly Bailey, chief executive of Trinity Mirror, and Tim
Gardam, principal elect of St Anne’s College Oxford and previously
director of television and director of programmes at Channel 4 The
panel’s advice will feed into the green paper, due to be published in
the next few weeks, which will set out options for the future of the

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