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Personal Service Companies: Chair writes to BBC Director General

27 April 2018

The Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Damian Collins MP, has written to the Director General of the BBC, Lord Hall, outlining concerns over staff pay, the use of Personal Service Companies (PSCs) and treatment of staff at the BBC. This letter follows an evidence session last month with broadcasters from the BBC and Jolyon Maugham QC.

Questions to the BBC

In the letter published today, Lord Hall is asked by Damian Collins to respond to the following points:

  • Was the policy decision to move presenters onto PSCs made at board level?
  • Please set out the chronology leading to the decision to require staff to be engaged through PSCs. Who took that decision? What factors led to it? 
  • Were the board aware that individuals were working without pay after refusing to set up a PSC?
  • We were told that some individuals have been presented with contracts indemnifying the BBC for any tax liability. How many individuals have been presented with contracts that contain clauses of this nature? 
  • What information does the BBC hold about the relationship between rates of pay for:
    • a. Presenters employed by the BBC?
    • b. Presenters engaged directly as freelancers by the BBC?
    • c. Presenters engaged through PSCs by the BBC?
  • Would a presenter employed by the BBC be paid the same as a presenter engaged on basis (b) or (c)?
  • Did HMRC require that the BBC use PSCs to contract with presenters? What advice did the BBC receive from HMRC on this matter?

The Committee has asked for this information before 16th May. 

The Committee is also publishing written evidence from the BBC that was provided in lieu of sending representatives to give oral evidence for the session on Personal Service Companies on the 20th of March.

Further information

Image: PA