BBC annual report and accounts 2006-07: fourth report of session 2007-08, report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence

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A Culture, Media and Sport Committee's oral evidence session on the BBC annual report and accounts 2006-07 was followed up with some written questions. The Committee has concerns about the structure and content of the BBC reply to those questions. In particular it is not clear why the BBC Trust takes different views on transparency of employee costs and on transparency of talent (presenters or actors etc) costs, and why grouping of payments in bands for one but not the other presents data protection or breach of confidence issues. The Committee also questions why viewing figures for BBC3 are given in three-minute reach figures rather than the standard 15-minute reach used throughout the annual report, and why the BBC3 figures excluding repeats of BB1 programmes were not provided. On Freesat, a joint venture to provide a national satellite-based free-to-view digital service, the failure to disclose the contribution of the licence-fee payer is held to be unreasonable. The Committee would like greater clarity about who speaks for the BBC: the Trust or Executive. Future responses should make clear where accountability lies for particular issues, and the BBC should take a more constructive approach to responding to Parliamentary scrutiny.

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