Following the publication of the Green Paper "A strong BBC, independent of government" the House of Lords has established a Committee, under the chairmanship of Lord Fowler, to consider the review of the BBC Charter.

The Committee will consider the Government proposals for the future of the BBC and will report before the publication of the White Paper on the subject.

The Committee will start its inquiry by questioning the Chairman of the BBC, Michael Grade and the Director General, Mark Thompson. They will be examined on the BBC's initial reaction to the Government proposals at 3.30pm on Tuesday 15 March.

Lord Fowler, the Chairman of the Committee, said:

"The Committee will review the proposals in the Government's Green Paper. We will want to be satisfied that measures proposed by Ministers are adequate to protect the independence of the BBC from outside pressure. We will examine whether proposals to replace the BBC Governors with a BBC Trust and Executive Board are sensible. We will assess the development of regional broadcasting and the role of the BBC as a world broadcaster. The Committee will also consider the BBC's impact on competition and the commissioning of programmes. Time is short for our inquiry and we are aiming to report by the autumn."

The Call for Evidence is below.


The Committee will accept written submissions until Monday 2 May 2005.

The membership of the Committee is: Lord Armstrong of Ilminster, Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, Lord Fowler ( Chairman), Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen, Lord Holme of Cheltenham, Baroness Howe of Idlicote, Lord Kalms, Lord King of Bridgwater, Lord Bishop of Manchester, Lord Maxton, Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve, Lord Peston

Further information (including further copies of the call for evidence) from:

Chloe Mawson, Clerk to the Committee: Tel: 020 7219 5765  Email:                                                         



The House of Lords have appointed a Select Committee to consider and report on the review of the BBC Charter. On 2 March the Department for Culture Media and Sport published a Green Paper " Review of the BBC's Royal Charter: A strong BBC, independent of Government" setting out their proposals for the BBC's future. The Green Paper is available at:

We therefore invite evidence on the proposals for the renewal of the BBC Charter. In particular, we would welcome comments on:

The role of Public Service Broadcasters and the BBC -

- What should be the main duties of public service broadcasters? Are the core public purposes of BBC services, as defined in the Green Paper, appropriate?

- How do you see the BBC's role as a world, national and regional broadcaster?

- Should one of the conditions of the new licence fee settlement be that the BBC play a leading role in the process of switching Britain over from analogue to digital television?

The BBC's constitution -

- Is a Royal Charter the best way to establish the BBC? Is 10 years the most appropriate period for the next Royal Charter to run? Is there a case for establishing the BBC on a statutory footing?

Governance and Regulation of the BBC -

- Is the proposal in the Green Paper to replace the BBC Governors with a BBC Trust and Executive Board the best way to address the issues of governance and regulation of the BBC?

- Is the role of the proposed BBC Trust sufficiently clear? How should the Trust be constituted? How can it be made accountable to licence fee payers?

- How should the rights of licence fee payers be defined and protected? How should the BBC handle complaints?

- Are the measures proposed in the Green Paper sufficient to protect the independence of the BBC from outside pressure and to ensure that BBC broadcasts are accurate and impartial?

- Are the current arrangements for the scrutiny of the BBC's spending by the National Audit Office adequate?

The BBC's impact on competition -

- Are the Green Paper's proposals to regulate the BBC's impact on competition adequate? Should Ofcom be responsible for approving the BBC's internal rules governing their commercial businesses?

The Future of Public Service Broadcasting -

- Should there be a further review of alternatives to the licence fee and if so when?

- How can the plurality of Public Service Broadcasting be safeguarded in the digital age?

Commissioning of Programming -

- What is the best way to ensure the BBC gives independent and external television and radio producers a fair chance to get their ideas commissioned? Should there be mandatory quotas for external commissioning?


Submissions should be sent to :
Chloe Mawson
Select Committee on the BBC Review
House of Lords
London SW1A 0PW
Tel 020 7219 5765
Fax 020 7219 4931
and preferably also as an email attachment to:

The deadline for submitting written evidence is Monday 2 May 2005.

Please ensure that you include relevant contact details. Evidence should be attributed and dated, with a note of your name and position, and should state whether it is submitted on an individual or corporate basis.

Short submissions of 6 pages or fewer are preferred; longer submissions should include a summary. Evidence sent as hard copy should be clearly printed or typed on single sides of A4 paper, unstapled.  Paragraphs should be numbered.  If drawings or charts are included, we ask that these are black-and-white and of camera-ready quality.

Evidence becomes the property of the Committee, and may be printed or circulated by the Committee. You may publish your evidence yourself, but in doing so you should indicate that it was prepared for the Committee. The Committee will invite some of those who submit written evidence to give oral evidence, usually in public at Westminster. Public sessions will be held in spring and summer 2005; transcripts will be published.

You can follow the inquiry via the Committee web pages, accessed from

This is a public call for evidence. Please bring it to the attention of other groups and individuals who may not have received a copy direct.