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BBC Charter and Agreement published

December 15, 2016

The UK Government has published the final BBC Charter and Agreement. The Royal Charter forms the constitutional basis of the BBC and its current Charter is due to expire at the end of 2016.

On behalf of the Trustees, Rona Fairhead, Chairman of the BBC Trust said: “The priority of the Trust has been to listen to the public, and ensure the next Charter provides the content and services they want and love. The Charter published today achieves that.”

“It provides a blueprint for a confident, innovative and creatively ambitious BBC, which continues to inform, educate and entertain, and remains free at the point of use.”

“The BBC’s scope and public purposes are broadly unchanged; it continues to offer something for everyone. And the BBC remains focused on the challenge of representing the whole of the UK and providing ever-improving value for money. Importantly, this new 11-year Charter helps protect the BBC’s independence by taking debates about its future outside of the electoral cycle; and it establishes a clear new structure for governance and regulation.”

“While the Government could have gone further in opening up future funding proposals for external scrutiny, we recognise the step forward in the inclusion, for the first time, of a process for setting the licence fee, and the certainty of funding until 2021, including additional money for the World Service.”

“On behalf of all Trustees, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to share their views – through our two public consultations, the seminars we held around the country and the research we commissioned.”

“You have given the BBC and its new Board a clear mandate that they must now put into action, and a clear responsibility to protect the BBC’s independence, and put you – our audience – at the heart of all decision-making,” she concluded.

The BBC welcomed the Queen’s granting of the Charter which the Corporstion said would allow a BBC which is more open, more creative and more distinctive than ever, suggesting that it endorsed the scale and scope of the BBC, and provides the stability and certainty for the BBC to continue informing, educating and entertaining the whole of the UK.

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, said: “The public has been clear in its support for a strong and independent BBC that informs, educates and entertains.

“This 11-year Charter endorses that and allows us to create a BBC which is more open, more creative and more distinctive than ever. A BBC focused squarely on making outstanding programmes and services and bringing impartial and trusted news to people across the whole of the UK and around the world.

“This Charter gives us the certainty and stability to ensure the BBC remains the cornerstone of the creative industries and shines even more brightly as a beacon for Britain around the globe.”

The new Charter and agreement means:

  • The licence fee is now secure as the method of funding the BBC for the next eleven years. There will be a funding review at the mid-term, as normal. A health check will also focus on the new governance and regulatory reforms but will not look at the BBC’s purposes, mission, or licence fee model.
  • The current scale and scope of the BBC has been endorsed. This will ensure that the BBC is able to make fantastic programmes and services to inform, educate and entertain the British public. This acknowledges the BBC’s significant progress on improving efficiency.
  • Debates about the BBC will be taken out of the election cycle as the Charter lasts for 11 years, one longer than normal.
  • The BBC’s reform programme is endorsed. We are currently awaiting the BBC Trust’s decision on our application to create BBC Studios as a commercial subsidiary which will allow the BBC, for the first time, to make programmes for others. Viewers will get the best choice of programmes, whether they’re made by the BBC or independent producers.
  • The majority of members of the new Board running the BBC will not be appointed by the Government.

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