Lord Inglewood, Chairman of the House of Lords Communications Committee, comments today on the address made by the new Chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, made at the Royal Television Society last night.
“We timed our report into the governance and regulation of the BBC in order to ensure that our inquiry could offer a valuable and solid contribution to the review that Lord Patten is undertaking, and I was encouraged last night to hear that he is considering the concerns expressed in our report very seriously. We welcome the attention that has been paid to our recommendations by Lord Patten and await his full review with anticipation.
“In particular, the actions Lord Patten suggests to provide greater clarity about the role of the Trust and the Executive Board, the relationship with the National Audit Office and to minimise the ‘compliance culture’, will go a great way to making the BBC more transparent, accountable and easier to understand for all its stakeholders, especially the licence fee payer. We welcome Lord Patten’s call – echoing our own recommendations – that the BBC needs a complaints system that is quicker and easier to understand. We look forward to hearing from Lord Patten on how he proposes that the BBC Trust should answer dissatisfied appellants in matters of accuracy and impartiality. We believe it is necessary that there is an external process for those dissatisfied with the internal BBC complaints procedures to command confidence in the system.
“It is important that these ideas are translated into practice; real action is needed to clarify what the BBC Trust and the Executive Board are there to do, and the complaints system needs serious attention. The new position of Chief Complaints Editor is a definite step in the right direction. Lord Patten’s record gives me every confidence that these changes will be implemented.
In the longer term, we hope that our recommendations will make a significant contribution to the debate about the future of broadcasting regulation ahead of the new Communications Act”.
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