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BBC Charter Review inquiry launched

22 July 2015

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee announces an inquiry into the BBC Charter Review, following the publication of the Government's Green Paper which has started the formal process of public debate over the position of the BBC beyond 2016.

The previous Culture, Media and Sport Committee conducted an extensive inquiry into the future of the BBC, which produced a report of its findings in February of this year.  The report was clear that the process for agreeing the future shape, funding and constitution of the BBC must be as thorough, open and democratic as possible.

The present Green Paper has picked up on a number of the issues raised by the Committee, and is now consulting on matters including the BBC's scope and scale, its funding arrangements and public accountability.

The Committee is holding its own inquiry into the BBC Charter Review.  This intends to cover all major aspects.  Where possible, it builds upon and extends the work of the February report.  In particular, the Committee examines the Government's Green Paper, and when published the BBC Executive's and Trust's own position papers and the subsequent White Paper that follows.

Significant concerns

In this context, the Committee is interested to receive written submissions in response to the Green Paper highlighting any significant views or concerns.  In particular, the Committee invites views on the points and areas listed below:

  • The argument that the BBC should become smaller and more focussed on a narrower, core set of broadcasting and online services
  • The effectiveness of public consultation on BBC services and content choices to meet the needs of audiences, and how these consultation mechanisms might be strengthened
  • The possible scaling back of BBC production capabilities and any impact this would have on content overall, and on free-to-air content
  • The possible replacement of the licence fee with a universal household levy; and a longer-term possibility of a move to a degree of subscription for BBC services
  • The recently published Perry review into TV licence enforcement
  • The process for setting the level of funding for public service broadcasting and the availability of funds offered on a contestable basis to others for the production of PSB content
  • The substance and process of the financial settlement so far announced, including the withdrawal of the broadband top-slice and the transfer of responsibility for covering the cost of free TV licences for over 75s to the BBC from 2018
  • The position of BBC Worldwide, the BBC's commercial arm, and the suggestion that it might be reformed or sold
  • The governance of the BBC and mechanisms for holding the Corporation to account for the public money it receives and spends in line with the expectations of those who fund it
  • The BBC's own organisation and management
  • The balance of national and regional investment and spending by the BBC
  • The importance of the BBC's role in training and technical innovation and its support to the UK creative economy overall 
  • The wider relationship between the BBC, the general public and Parliament

Respondents may wish to comment on other aspects relevant to Charter review.

Chair's comments

Commenting on the inquiry, Committee Chair Jesse Norman said: 

"BBC Charter Review is a topic which directly or indirectly touches us all. That is why it is essential that the arguments made both by the BBC and by the Government be given full and rigorous scrutiny by Parliament, in the public interest."

Send a written submission

Written submissions should be sent via the BBC Charter Review inquiry page

The deadline for written submissions has been extended to Friday 16 October.

Further information

Image: PA