BBC licence fee settlement and annual report: fourth report of session 2010-12, report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence

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The Culture Media and Sport Committee says that the main outcomes of the BBC Trust's strategic review do not move the BBC on to the extent required by current circumstances, and that the incoming Chairman will have much to get grips with. The new licence fee agreement was reached "unexpectedly" in October 2010 between the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the BBC, but without any time for wider consultation with viewers or Parliament. The Committee believes the agreement reached is a reasonable one, but the process undermined confidence in both the Government's and the BBC's commitment to transparency and accountability. On the partnership between BBC and S4C, it is unclear how S4C can retain its independence under the new arrangements. It is extraordinary that the Government and the BBC should agree such wide-ranging changes without consultation or giving S4C any notice or say at all. The Committee is particularly concerned that National Audit Office still does not have the promised access to conduct independent assessments of the BBC's value for money. The Committee is also disappointed that banded information on talent salaries is still not in the public domain. The BBC opened itself to predictable ridicule with the decision to hire a "migration manager" who had to commute from the United States to manage the transition to the new Salford site. The report concludes that big questions remain over how radically the BBC needs to reconfigure both content and delivery in the years ahead.

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