The BBC is to be subject to greater oversight following a ‘succession of disaster’ to have hit the broadcaster in recent years which have led a cross-party group of MPs to conclude that existing regulatory structures are not fit for purpose.
A detailed report published by the culture, media and sport select committee later today is expected to call for the BBC Trust to be scrapped and replaced by a single board, together with a public service broadcasting commission to act as external watchdog.
The license fee could also be set for a shake-up by extending it to cover iPlayer ‘as soon as possible’. Channels may also be encrypted and iPlayer blocked to prevent license-fee dodgers from accessing content.
It follows a series of calamities to befall the public service institution including executive pay scandals, the Jimmy Savile affair and a botched investigation into the late Lord McAlpine.
Committee chair John Whittingdale said: “Over the last few years the BBC has suffered from a succession of disasters of its own making, yet it remains a widely admired and trusted institution, and fulfils many important functions both at home and abroad. However, when an organisation is in receipt of nearly £4bn of public money, very big questions have to be asked about how that money is provided and spent, and how that organisation is governed and made accountable.”
BBC executives broadly welcomed the report ahead of its charter renewal after the general election.