Thursday, May 10, 2018

See through

Good old BBC - setting up not one but two transparency reviews, apparently wishing to remain at the forefront of appropriate disclosure. And yet. I get the feeling that they're rather hoping that the two reviews might say there some things are better kept under wraps.

Auntie has turned to Will Hutton of The Work Foundation for a 'landscape' review of best practice, and thoughts on BBC staff pay. Tony Hall was an output editor on Newsnight when Will joined as Economics Correspondent in 1983.

Meanwhile Christopher Saul (BA Law, St Catherine's Oxford), formerly of Slaughter and May will consider the BBC's approach to transparency in its commercial subsidiaries. Fearless DCMS Select Committee chair Damian Collins has already said the BBC should reveal the fees paid to presenters of shows provided by indies, so we can see what David Dimbleby, Lord Sugar and Gregg Wallace earn. Unless he succeeds, dosh provided by BBC Studios to talent (above £150k) will escape disclosure, cloaking once again, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman's fees in darkness. 

Current BBC transparency practice is not without issues. Disclosure logs under the Freedom of Information Act haven't been updated since 2014. Many top executives declarations of personal interests are from 2015. Senior Managers salaries used to be updated quarterly, now it's annually. Promised quarterly updates on programme performance are frozen at June 2015.

I presume both reports will be published in full; the press release doesn't say so.

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