Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Magnificent Seven

Finally, they've been counted, in response to a Freedom of Information Inquiry - but BBC News is still not prepared to say how many of its Senior Managers are working on special projects, after an internal review. Too hard to find out what seven of them were up to, because it's NOT WRITTEN DOWN. Here are the relevant extracts.

How many Senior Managers did the News Division employ on 1 October 2015? 

As at 30 September 2015 the BBC employed 90 staff in senior manager roles within the News division. This represents a steady reduction since 2011.

How many of these individuals were in their substantive and continuing named posts on that date? 

Of the total number of senior managers, 83 were in their substantive roles. The proportion of Senior Manager's [sic - Ed] to graded staff in News Group has come down measurably. For the purposes of this request, the disclosed information relates to staff employed on permanent or fixed-term contracts currently in Senior Manager (SM) graded roles as at 30 September 2015. Please note that this figure will not align with the reported senior manager data as per our senior pay strategy.

By way of background, the term ‘special projects’ is interpreted differently across BBC’s divisions, and employees may be involved in ‘special projects’ alongside their day-to-day substantive role. As mentioned in the original response, the BBC does not record data of whether a BBC News employee is working on “special projects other than their continuing substantive job”. To respond to the third question, BBC News would need to create information by defining what constitutes a ‘special project’ for the purposes of this request, and contact each Human Resource Business Partners within the News Division to identify whether a Senior Manager was working on ‘special projects other than their continuing substantive job’. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 only covers recorded information that a public authority holds at the date of the request. A public authority does not have to create an answer or find out the information if the requested information is not already held in recorded form. Therefore, as the BBC would need to create information to respond to the request, I confirm that the BBC does not hold the requested information.

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