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BBC to support “levelling up” across the UK

April 26, 2022

The BBC has set out a plan that it says will ensure “its social, cultural and economic benefits are felt in every community across the UK”.

The broadcaster has been working with The Purpose Coalition chaired by Justine Greening and, in a new report, the BBC sets out how it will reach all corners of the UK’s regions and nations to support levelling up and increase equality of opportunity.

Tim Davie, BBC Director-General, commented: “We have the privilege of a public funding model, which means we must deliver great value for all and we must reflect the views and perspectives of everyone, whoever and wherever they are. We also have a duty and responsibility to ensure that the social, cultural, and economic benefits of the BBC are felt in every community, in every corner of our nations and regions.”

The plans focus on three core areas, investment in places and communities; investment in people and opportunities; and investment in content production outside London.

The BBC used the Coalition’s Levelling Up Goals to help guide its approach – with plans to support strong early years development; education; opportunities for over-16s; recruitment and career progression; supporting the creative industries; and diversity and inclusion.

Included in the report:

  • Tiny Happy People will now provide a full-time early years education service for 0-4 year olds, strengthening the BBC’s contribution to the life chances of young learners.
  • BBC Bitesize will improve its offer for Primary and Key Stage 3 learners –including a new Bitesize Reception offer for 4 year olds. There will be a focus on careers, with more films commissioned and partnerships with big BBC productions to discuss careers. Plus new Homework Hacks for parents to support their kids learning.
  • BBC apprentices will double to 1,000 by 2025/26.
  • A 25 per cent target on lower socio-economic diversity alongside 50/20/12 targets.
  • The BBC’s mentor network will double to 800 over the next five years.
  • The number of outreach organisations we work with will double to 10,000 including schools, youth organisations, FE colleges, screen and cultural organisations, with the outreach programme reaching up to 1 million children (in person and virtual) by 2027/28.

Rt Hon Justine Greening, Chair of the Purpose Coalition, commented: “I hugely welcome this Levelling Up Action Plan from the BBC. It’s an organisation that is such an part of the fabric of day-to-day life for millions of us. But as this plan shows, the BBC is more than just a source of news or entertainment, it has a wider value that adds to our society and communities. Levelling Up and the BBC sets out how the BBC plans to play its own, unique role in levelling up Britain. It revisits the BBC’s original mission of ‘inform, educate and entertain’ to challenge itself on what the BBC can do with its own opportunities and beyond in communities to drive levelling up across our country.

“The report sets out specific steps on the BBC’s wider approach to levelling up, involving not just the Corporation and its programme content, but also the communities it is part of. It also recognises the BBC’s leadership in a wider media sector and its ability to drive change and level up through its supply chain of production companies. It is an important step and essential leadership for the wider country,” he added.

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