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BBC Review

Government review suggests scrapping 'flawed' BBC Trust to rely upon Ofcom regulation

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By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

March 1, 2016 | 2 min read

A government review has suggested that regulatory oversight of the BBC should be passed to media watchdog Ofcom.

Ex-Bank of England deputy governor David Clementi’s independent report would end the broadcaster’s self-regulation with the closure of the BBC Trust, having been appointed by the culture minister, John Whittingdale, last September to measure up the broadcaster before the renewal of the BBC charter later this year.

As part of the review, Clementi, formerly chairman of Virgin Money and Prudential, called for the “fundamental reform of the system of governance and regulation” at the BBC.

He said: “The BBC Trust model is flawed. It conflates governance and regulatory functions within the trust. The BBC should have a unitary board charged with responsibility for meeting the obligations placed on it under the royal charter and agreement, and responsibility for the interests of licence fee payers.

“Regulatory oversight should pass wholly to Ofcom, which is already the public service regulator for the UK’s broadcasting industry and has the ability to look at the BBC in the context of the market as a whole. Ofcom would be a strong regulator to match a strong BBC.”

a BBC Trust spokesperson said: "Sir David Clementi proposes a strong BBC board and a strong external regulator – a change we have argued for. It will be important to get the details right, and we now want to work with the government to ensure roles are clear, the structure is effective and the BBC’s independence protected."

The review also found that the BBC Charter should place on the BBC see, and consult its public as both as consumers and as Licence Fee payers, in addition to it implementing a system where it handles complaints in the first instance with Ofcom handling appeals on editorial issues.

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