5th Report, 2013 (Session 4): Report on Broadcasting

SP Paper 317

EC/S4/13/R5

5th Report, 2013 (Session 4)

Report on Broadcasting

CONTENTS


Remit and membership

Report
Purpose
Chronology of Events
Future Programming Capacity for Major Events

Planning for the Coverage of Major Events
Delivering Quality First and job cuts at BBC Scotland
Staff morale
Benchmarking

Conclusions
Appendix - Chronology of Events

Annexe A: Extract from Minutes of the Education and Culture Committee

Annexe B: Oral Evidence and Associated Written Evidence

Annexe C: Other Written Evidence

Annexe D: Spice Briefing Paper, Future Programming Capacity at Major Events at BBC Scotland

Remit and membership

Remit:

The remit of the Committee is to consider and report on further and higher education, lifelong learning, schools, pre-school care, skills and other matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning and matters relating to culture and the arts falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs.

Membership:

George Adam
Clare Adamson
Colin Beattie
Neil Bibby
Neil Findlay (Deputy Convener)
Stewart Maxwell (Convener)
Joan McAlpine
Liam McArthur
Liz Smith

Committee Clerking Team:

Clerk to the Committee
David Cullum

Assistant Clerk
Neil Stewart

Committee Assistant
Judith Payen

Report on Broadcasting

The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows—

PURPOSE

1. Our remit includes matters relating to culture and the arts falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs. This includes broadcasting.

2. Since January 2012 we have been carrying out work looking at broadcasting, considering in particular the capacity of BBC Scotland to handle forthcoming major events. This report focusses on these issues in the context of staffing cuts at the corporation. Our overriding concern is to be satisfied that BBC Scotland has sufficient resources to deliver a quality product.

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS

3. The following paragraphs provide detail on the chronology of events for the inquiry. A table showing the chronology is appended to this report.

4. We carried out a round table evidence session on broadcasting on 24 January 2012. John Boothman (Head of News) represented BBC Scotland at that session. Following this we discussed some issues that arose in further detail with Mark Thompson, then Director-General of the BBC, and Ken MacQuarrie, Director, and Bruce Malcolm, Chief Operating Officer, BBC Scotland. This session took place on 29 May 2012.

5. Following announcements of cutbacks in editorial staff in Scotland under Delivering Quality First (DQF)1 we wrote to the BBC on 6 September to invite the then new Director-General, George Entwistle, and Ken MacQuarrie to update the Committee. The BBC declined this invitation.

6. We then received a letter from the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) outlining concerns it had about job reductions at BBC Scotland.

7. We therefore invited the NUJ and the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) to give oral evidence to us on this issue. BBC Scotland was given the opportunity to appear alongside the unions but decided instead to provide written evidence. The session with the unions took place on 30 October 2012.

8. During that session a number of comments were made about the readiness and capacity of BBC Scotland to prepare for and handle forthcoming major events, such as the Commonwealth Games and the independence referendum, and about staff morale at BBC Scotland. Following this session we wrote to George Entwistle to invite him and Ken MacQuarrie to attend the Committee to respond to these comments2. That invitation was also declined, but BBC Scotland provided a written response to the claims that were made by the unions in oral evidence.

9. On 29 November 2012 the Convener wrote to Lord Patten of Barnes, Chairman of the BBC Trust, expressing our concern at the BBC’s unwillingness to attend committee, an approach we considered to be disrespectful to the Scottish Parliament, and significantly inhibiting of rounded scrutiny of important issues.

10. The Convener advised Lord Patten that—

“The Committee is now preparing a report on the substantive issues of future programming capacity at major events at BBC Scotland. The evidence base to inform our report is incomplete in the absence of an opportunity to hear directly from the BBC in public session. It is a matter of considerable regret that we are being forced to report in this manner. I invite you to consider these comments very carefully and urge the BBC to reverse its decision not to attend Committee”3

11. Lord Patten responded on 6 December 2012 in the following terms—

“the BBC is not answerable to Parliament at UK or devolved level, it is nevertheless right that Executive staff should, where appropriate, be open to attend such fora to answer questions and hear views…The Committee, in its most recent communication, has now informed the BBC that it is preparing a “report on the substantive issues of future programming capacity at major events at BBC Scotland”…the BBC Executive tell me that they are very willing, in these new circumstances, to send representatives of senior management to the Committee on a mutually agreeable date in order to provide the Committee with an update on the areas which the Committee has indicated are now the focus of its interest”.4

12. On 22 January 2013 we took evidence from Mr MacQuarrie, Mr Boothman and Mr Malcolm (who had become Head of Commonwealth Games 2014) on the substantive issues of future programming capacity at BBC Scotland. During this session, Mr MacQuarrie stated—

“I would like to address the issue of the appearance of BBC Scotland before this committee. It was suggested in the autumn that we were being disrespectful to the committee. That was not our intention. As you know, we provided detailed evidence to the committee in January last year, and again in May. In October 2011, we gave evidence to the Scotland Bill Committee on the impact on BBC Scotland of the licence fee settlement”.5

13. After the meeting, the Convener wrote to Mr MacQuarrie seeking clarification on several matters. He responded on 22 February 2013. As well as covering future programming capacity for major events, this report touches on some of the other issues raised in the letter to Mr MacQuarrie, and his response6.

14. Whilst noting that it was not BBC Scotland’s intention to be disrespectful, we consider it to be regrettable that it declined invitations to appear before a parliamentary committee. Like Lord Patten, we expect BBC Executive staff should, where appropriate, be open to attend the Parliament to answer questions and hear views.

FUTURE PROGRAMMING CAPACITY FOR MAJOR EVENTS

15. Turning now to the substantive issue of future programming capacity for major events at BBC Scotland.

Planning for the coverage of major events

16. The independence referendum and the Commonwealth Games will take place in 20147.

17. These are extremely significant events and our principal concern throughout this inquiry has been to ensure that BBC Scotland maintains sufficient capacity to cover them, while not compromising the quality of other programmes.

Capacity to deliver coverage

18. In written evidence BBC Scotland provided details of its plans for covering the independence referendum—

“In the period up to and during the independence referendum we will offer comprehensive, authoritative coverage of the issues and provide a platform for debate and discussion, involving voices from across the political spectrum…Our approach will be as thorough as that adopted in covering the signing of the referendum agreement on 15 October 2012…As we move towards the referendum itself, we will offer more debates, more documentaries and new programming, across television, radio and online, where, particularly in the case of the latter, we are developing innovative ideas to engage and inform our audiences, specifically younger viewers and listeners.”8

19. However on 30 October 2012 we heard evidence from Paul McManus of BECTU that:

“The BBC simply cannot deliver the same level of output in Scotland as it has done in previous years. It does not have the staff to do that…The BBC cannot lose 17 staff from the news and current affairs department and deliver the same levels of programming”.9

20. Following this session, BBC Scotland responded in writing to the statements made by the unions. It rebutted Mr McManus’s claims that it cannot deliver the same level of output in Scotland as in previous years. BBC Scotland accepted that delivering the same levels of programming with 17 fewer staff is challenging but argued that it was achievable.10

21. Mr McManus had also stated:

“with the referendum and the Commonwealth games coming up, BBC Scotland should not be in the position of saying, “We’ll just need to nip down to London next year to ask for a sub so that we can cover those things.” BBC Scotland should be in a position to deliver in-depth coverage of such events regardless of the situation”11

“the BBC views [the referendum] as a one-off event, and from its point of view the ideal way to staff it—or resource it—is to get resources up from London for a couple of months or to hire fixed-term contract staff. In order to support the argument for that approach, the BBC needs to get rid of its permanent staff now”.12

22. In its response BBC Scotland challenged Mr McManus’s claim about permanent staff being released to make way for fixed term contract staff, arguing that this assertion was based on a quote taken out of context.13

23. In oral evidence on 22 January 2013 John Boothman stated that BBC Scotland would “go anywhere at anytime to any place to ensure that this referendum is covered properly”14 whilst Ken MacQuarrie stated—

“the referendum will be the most important constitutional event in these islands in 300 years. We note its absolute significance as a major story not only in Scotland but in the UK and globally. Our aspiration and determination is to cover the referendum with quality, range, depth and analysis, and to place in an independent and impartial manner the best possible information and journalism before each and every sector of the audiences that I mentioned. I am absolutely confident that we will do that. We have a complete and total determination to do so.”15

24. We note that BBC Scotland and the trade unions have differing views about the corporation’s ability to cover major events effectively with reduced staffing numbers. Having been given assurances by Mr MacQuarrie we expect the corporation to be able to deliver coverage effectively. It is not for us to determine the accuracy of the statements although we do expect the BBC to meet its public duties under its Royal Charter16. It will soon become clear whether that can be achieved but we are looking for clear evidence of preparatory work having been undertaken, and will return to these issues in the run up to the major events in 2014.

Network funding for the Referendum and Commonwealth Games

25. In January 2012, John Boothman confirmed that a “high-level, senior group17” had been established to develop the coverage for the independence referendum. He told the Committee that the group had embarked on a series of awareness-training sessions in Scotland and the UK, and opened a new webpage that would provide an online hub for BBC Scotland’s referendum stories.

26. In written evidence to the Committee in October 2012, BBC Scotland stated that it was continuing to prepare for coverage of the independence referendum and the Commonwealth Games, and that both would “benefit significantly from increased, fixed-term resourcing from network BBC”18. It did not at that point specify when funding would be made available. However, in written evidence in November 2012 BBC Scotland stated that “the money for both the referendum and the Commonwealth Games would not be available now to offset the post closures that are currently required”19.

27. In relation to network funding for the referendum, Mr Boothman advised in January 2013 that:

“any funding that we get in for a referendum project will come towards the latter half of this year”.20

28. At that session, Bruce Malcolm advised that BBC Scotland would be bidding “imminently” for extra money for the referendum21 and that some funding for the Commonwealth Games was already in place22. He stated that—

“The point about the funding that we will bid for [the Commonwealth Games] is that we will get it over the next month or two, but that does not mean that the funding kicks in and is all available from then.”23

29. When asked for further detail about the Commonwealth Games funding bid Ken MacQuarrie advised on 22 February 2013 that BBC Scotland is in discussion with BBC Finance and other parts of the organisation to confirm the funding package and different aspects of its delivery. He anticipated that confirmation of the details of these arrangements would be available in coming months but that commercial sensitivities would determine what would be considered for release into the public domain24.

30. Whilst it is clear from Mr Boothman’s evidence that network funding for the referendum will come to BBC Scotland in late 2013, there is slightly less clarity around funding for the Commonwealth Games.

31. We recognise that there may be commercial sensitivities around some of these issues. We would, however, expect confirmation from BBC Scotland that it is satisfied it has received adequate resources to ensure effective coverage of both the Commonwealth Games and the referendum.

Delivering Quality First and job cuts at BBC Scotland

32. It is not our intention or role to enter into industrial relations at BBC Scotland. However, it has been brought to our attention that there is considerable disagreement between the trade unions and BBC management over the precise level of job cuts at BBC Scotland resulting from DQF.

Delivering Quality First

33. In October 2011, DQF proposed £700 million of savings across the whole of the BBC to be found by 2016-17. These savings were aimed at fulfilling the settlement of 2010, which froze the licence fee at £145.50 until the end of the current Royal Charter in 2017. The settlement also stipulated that the licence fee would be used to pay for new responsibilities including the World Service, S4C, BBC Monitoring and local TV and broadband.

34. These savings were to be funded by achieving 16% efficiencies over the four years to 2016-17. In addition, the previous Director-General (Mr Thompson), set the BBC the challenge of finding extra savings of up to 4%, to be found disproportionately from reducing back-office costs, and to be reinvested in new high-quality output and digital innovation.

35. The bulk of the DQF savings across the whole of the BBC were proposed by making productivity efficiencies (£400 million) and content scope reductions (£205 million). Productivity savings include using new technology and new ways of working to deliver the same programmes for less resource input and fewer staff members. Savings in content scope include reducing the sports rights budget and the volume of commissioned hours of late-night television and radio.

36. The extent and scope of productivity savings to be applied varies across the BBC. Mark Thompson told the Committee in May 2012 that, whilst in most parts of the organisation a combination of productivity and scope savings would be applied, there were some areas, such as BBC Alba25 and local radio services in Orkney and Shetland, where it was not considered appropriate to make any cuts.

37. When asked about the current level of local news reporting in Scotland, Mr Thompson acknowledged that insufficient coverage of different regions of Scotland was a concern expressed to the BBC by the public in Scotland26.

38. In written evidence to the Committee in October 2012, BBC Scotland stated that it would be “required to reduce its local budget by £16.1 million, from £102 million to £86 million, over the period to the end of financial year 2016-17”27. Overall, this was said to equate to a cut of 100 to 120 posts28 (in addition to this target to cut 100-120 posts under DQF, BBC Scotland closed around 20 posts to achieve the savings required for the final year of a five-year Continuous Improvement Programme in 2012-1329).

39. In relation to concerns expressed about the amount of Scottish content on the iplayer, Mr MacQuarrie advised that BBC Scotland already had a large amount of content on the iplayer but that this would be increased to ensure that absolutely everything is available to view again30.

40. Concerns were also expressed about BBC Scotland’s merging of the roles of education and local government correspondent31. In response, Mr MacQuarrie stated that he had “every confidence” that the merged post-holder will provide a high quality service that will further add to BBC Scotland’s ability to meet and exceed its commitments in this area32.

41. We note Mr Thompson’s comments in response to insufficient coverage of different regions of Scotland. We would welcome an update from the BBC on the detail of its plans to ensure that coverage of different regions in Scotland is improved. We also note Mr MacQuarrie’s comments about the level of Scottish content on the iplayer and the merging of the posts of education and local government correspondent. We note concerns in some quarters that two of the largest devolved portfolios in Scotland have been merged. We remain to be convinced that the merging of the education and local government correspondent posts will not adversely affect quality and question whether the merger will help the BBC to meet and exceed its Royal Charter commitments.

Job cuts at BBC Scotland

42. BBC Scotland closed 39 posts in August 2012 and a further 35 posts by the end of March 2013. SPICe briefing paper, Future programming capacity at major events in Scotland, provides a breakdown of those posts33.

43. In oral evidence Pete Murray from NUJ Scotland stated:

“The BBC talks about “The current phase” of cuts to staff. It is important that the committee understands that the cuts are not uniform across the newsrooms. For example, the programme for which I used to work in radio news and current affairs has had a staff cut of 60 per cent—not 15 or 20 per cent, but 60 per cent or more—over the past couple of years”.34

44. In its written response, BBC Scotland rebutted this claim as “simply not true”35, adding that the union had not made this claim to management36.

45. On 22 January 2013, Mr Boothman stated that “no programme has had a staff cut of 60 per cent, or anything like it”37. Subsequently we requested a breakdown of the level of staffing cuts across news and current affairs and of the staffing levels of John Beattie’s show and “Newsdrive” compared with the “World at One” and “PM” on Radio 4.

46. In response Mr MacQuarrie re-iterated that “no news and current affairs programme has undergone a budget cut of 60%”38.

47. During the meeting, the Convener quoted figures showing that, between 2006 and 2012, Good Morning Scotland staffing reduced from one editor, two senior broadcast journalists, three broadcast journalists and one content assistant, to one senior broadcast journalist and two-and-a-half broadcast journalists39. According to those figures, over the same period there was a cut to daytime staffing of 69 per cent, a cut to weekend staffing of 25 per cent, a cut to news desk staffing of 43 per cent and a cut to weekend staffing of 60 per cent40.

48. Mr Boothman stated in oral evidence that those figures were incorrect41.

49. We subsequently received a written submission from NUJ Scotland arguing that the figures are correct42.

50. There is clear disagreement between BBC Scotland management and trade unions over the level of staffing cuts. While it is not our role to arbitrate on industrial relations at BBC Scotland, we do expect all figures provided to us to be accurate. We are concerned that there are discrepancies. We regret we still await the staffing levels requested from BBC Scotland during the meeting on 22 January 2013.

Staff morale

51. A related issue that inevitably arises in times of change within any organisation is that of staff morale. We received evidence of the link between staff morale and the consequential impact on delivery (such as through increased levels of sick leave).

52. For example, on 30 October 2012 Pete Murray stated:

“One of our concerns is that the BBC Scotland news and current affairs department wants to front-load the cuts because it says that that will save pain later. That has had a dramatic impact on staff morale and the atmosphere in the newsroom. I have not been there for a year but, over the past couple of days, I have been speaking to people who work there and I have visited former colleagues there. The staff’s morale is pretty much at rock bottom. People say that it is no longer a pleasant place to work. They are fearful for their jobs, naturally. They are fearful of speaking out publicly.”43

53. Paul McManus had stated earlier:

“Ever-greater numbers of people are going off sick and complaining that they are being expected to work longer and longer hours that are not recorded on the rotas because of the pressure that they are under to deliver programmes with insufficient numbers of staff.”44

54. In its written response to this evidence, BBC Scotland rejected the claim that increasing numbers of staff were taking sick leave, advising that, in 2011, BBC Scotland employees had fewer sick days on average than the UK-wide media industry45. In relation to concerns that morale was at rock bottom, BBC Scotland accepted that, at a time of change, staff would be worried about the future46.

55. On 22 January 2013 Ken MacQuarrie advised us that the BBC had recently conducted a UK-wide staff survey. Mr MacQuarrie agreed to respond in writing with information from the survey he thought it appropriate to provide.47

56. However, in his follow-up letter, Mr MacQuarrie advised that the information which staff provided for the survey was collected on a confidential and anonymous basis and that the results are not made available outwith the BBC48.

57. We note that there is disagreement between management and unions on the issue of staff morale and absence levels. We are disappointed that BBC Scotland has not provided information on the staff survey to the Parliament. As a publicly funded body we consider that it should make this available. In the absence of data from the staff survey we do not have the evidence to comment on the level of staff morale and whether this will impact on BBC Scotland’s ability to deliver coverage of major events. The evidence of this will emerge in due course and will be linked to BBC Scotland’s ability to maintain programme quality.

Benchmarking

58. The issue of benchmarking what is happening in news and current affairs in Scotland, London and the national UK network was raised by former BBC journalist, Iain MacWhirter, in oral evidence on 24 January 201249. He stated that he had been told:

“that Scotland has a tenth of the population so it gets only a tenth of the budget and programmes are made at a tenth of the cost. I tried to explain that that is not how we go about making programmes. There has to be a benchmark; a programme has to be of a certain quality before it is worth transmitting at all”.50

59. He added:

“That there has been historic underfunding is beyond doubt; there is no question about it at all. You would need to ask the BBC, if there is meant to be parity and if there is quality benchmarking, to compare the budgets of programmes such as “Good Morning Scotland” and the “Today” programme”.51

60. On 29 May 2012 Mark Thompson described the relative savings required of Radio 4 and BBC Scotland in the following terms:

“There has been a misunderstanding about the relative budgets of Radio 4 and BBC Scotland…Radio 4 has a relatively low scope savings target of 1.2 per cent, but it has a productivity savings target of around 10 per cent; in other words, we are looking for total savings of just over 11 per cent over the period. With BBC Radio Scotland, we have gone for very slightly larger scope reductions—3.1 per cent—although we both hope that there is some contingency in there for sports rights and that that number can be brought below 3.1 per cent. BBC Radio Scotland has an efficiency target of around 10 per cent. The maths therefore suggests 13.1 per cent for BBC Scotland, which is well below the benchmark for the whole BBC, so it is somewhat protected, whereas Radio 4, running at 11.2 per cent, is slightly more protected. Those figures are much closer to each other than the figures that have been suggested in some of the discourse that I have read”.52

61. According to the BBC’s own figures, there will have been a reduction of 21.4% in the Radio Scotland content budget from 2007-08 to 2016-17.53 54 55 We asked BBC Scotland senior management for its position on these figures.56 57

62. In his letter to the Convener of 22 February 2013, Mr MacQuarrie stated:

“the budget reduction between 2007 and 2012, as recorded within the BBC Trust Radio Review, is from £29 million to £23 million…This does not represent the programme funding situation across these years. The vast bulk of the reduction identified in this area results from a change in BBC accounting practices and is not an actual drop in funding. In 2007, the overall Radio Scotland budget included a share of BBC overheads (staffing, buildings, etc). That element has since been centralised and is no longer included in the service budget figures.

The actual reduction in programme budget on Radio Scotland, between 2007 and 2010 is £1.7m, in line with our efficiency programme.”58

63. We note that Mr MacQuarrie has not answered the question asked by us but instead has used figures taken from the BBC Trust Radio Review. That review shows a reduction in programme related expenditure and overheads totalling £4.0m over the same period. Taken together the overall reduction in content expenditure over the period 2007-08 and 2010-11 comes to £5.7m, a reduction of 19.3% which exceeds the requirements of DQF.

64. It is disappointing that the response from the BBC does not respond to the question asked and refers to a different report. However the figures from the BBC accounts are clear and show that there was a cut in BBC Radio Scotland’s budget of £5.7m between 2007-08 and 2010-11. Given it is not possible for the BBC to make programmes without using costs such as royalty payments, support staff and buildings we believe it is unhelpful to exclude these figures when explaining the changes in BBC Radio Scotland’s budget.

65. When asked about the issue of benchmarking on 29 May 2012, Bruce Malcolm stated:

“We do both qualitative and quantitative work. We know the costs per hour for all our programmes and how they rank against each other. We look at that information when we approve budgets and we investigate exceptions when costs are higher or lower. We do a lot of quantitative work on the cost per hour. On the qualitative side, in news and journalism, there is a suite of meetings about how we share best practice and learn from each other about how things can be done differently. John Boothman and his colleagues in news do a range of things to ensure that we benchmark and learn from best practice”.59

66. On 22 January 2013, Mr Malcolm described Mr MacWhirter’s statement about relative budgets as being “far from accurate”60, adding:

“Radio 4’s budget is about three times the size of Radio Scotland’s budget, although Radio 4’s audience is about 16 times the size of Radio Scotland’s.”61

67. Mr MacQuarrie added:

“If you are asking whether there is a difference between the staffing on, for example, the “Today” programme and the staffing on “Good Morning Scotland”, as the director general said, yes there is. The programmes’ remits are subtly different and we have been clear about that. I did not recognise the figure of one 10th of the budget that you said that Iain MacWhirter had.”62

68. In relation to other breakdowns, such as staffing of John Beattie’s show and “Newsdrive”, compared with staffing on “World at One” and “PM”, BBC Scotland agreed to “look to assist the committee as best we can, while not revealing information that it would be reasonable for us to withhold from commercial competitors”63. No such information has been provided to us.

69. We note that there are discrepancies between the views of Iain MacWhirter and the BBC about the budget of BBC Scotland relative to the rest of the corporation. We expect the BBC to ensure that BBC Scotland receives sufficient funding so it is properly prepared in advance to plan, develop and provide high quality broadcasting at major events in 2014 without an impact on the quality of programming. Again, we are disappointed that information offered to be provided to us by the BBC has not been forthcoming.

CONCLUSIONS

70. To summarise, 2014 will be a challenging year for BBC Scotland in respect of the coverage of major events. As the parliamentary committee charged with consideration of broadcasting in Scotland, we wish to ensure that it has the necessary capacity to do this effectively. Indeed, on 22 January 2013, Mr MacQuarrie stated: “We welcome the challenge and scrutiny from the committee”64. It is therefore a matter of considerable regret that BBC Scotland initially declined our invitations to give oral evidence.

71. It is unfortunate that contradictory evidence has been provided to us in terms of staffing numbers and the effect of DQF. There is nothing we can do to substantiate claims by either party other than to continue to monitor effects on programming output and quality. We would be extremely concerned if anyone has deliberately set out to mislead a parliamentary committee.

72. We note that, under its Charter, the BBC has a responsibility to sustain citizenship and civil society and to represent the UK, its nations, regions and communities. We also note Mr MacQuarrie’s assurances that BBC Scotland is ready to deliver a high quality service at these major events. We note, however, that these events will take place in the next 18 months and that staffing numbers are being reduced. It is therefore a matter of concern that staffing cuts may impede that ability to deliver.

73. It is our intention to continue to monitor BBC Scotland’s state of preparedness in the run up to these events by seeking regular updates on it from BBC Scotland senior management at six-monthly intervals. We expect to receive the first of these no later than 1 October 2013.

APPENDIX-CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS

Date

Event

24 January 2012

The Committee held a round table oral evidence session on broadcasting. John Boothman, Head of News, BBC Scotland, represented the BBC at this session.

29 May 2012

The Committee took oral evidence from:

  • Mark Thompson, Director-General, BBC;
  • Ken MacQuarrie, Director, BBC Scotland; and
  • Bruce Malcolm, Chief Operating Officer, BBC Scotland

6 September 2012

The Committee wrote to the BBC inviting George Entwhistle, new Director-General, and Ken MacQuarrie to provide an update. This invitation was declined.

1 October 2012

The Committee received a letter from the NUJ outlining concerns about job reductions at BBC Scotland.

23 October 2012

BBC Scotland submitted written evidence to the Committee.

30 October 2012

The Committee took oral evidence from:

  • Pete Murray, NUJ Scotland; and
  • Paul McManus, BECTU.

2 November 2012

The Convener wrote to George Entwhistle, inviting the BBC to attend committee to respond to the comments of the trade unions.

20 November 2012

BBC Scotland provided a written response to the comments of the trade unions but declined to give oral evidence.

29 November 2012

The Convener wrote to Lord Patten of Barnes, Chairman of the BBC Trust, expressing the Committee’s concern at the BBC’s unwillingness to attend and advising that it was preparing a report on future programming capacity at major events.

6 December 2012

Lord Patten responded to the Convener advising that BBC Scotland senior managers would be willing to attend committee at a mutually agreeable date.

22 January 2013

The Committee took oral evidence from:

  • Ken MacQuarrie;
  • John Boothman; and
  • Bruce Malcolm, Head of Commonwealth Games 2014, BBC Scotland.

7 February 2013

The Convener wrote to Ken MacQuarrie, following up on points raised during the meeting.

22 February 2013

Ken MacQuarrie responded to the Convener’s letter.

ANNEXE A: EXTRACT FROM MINUTES OF THE EDUCATION AND CULTURE COMMITTEE

3rd Meeting (Session 4), Tuesday 24 January 2012

Broadcasting: The Committee took evidence, in round table format, from—

John Boothman, Head of News and Current Affairs, BBC Scotland;
Stuart Cosgrove, Director of Creative Diversity, Channel 4;
Paul Holleran, Scottish Organiser, NUJ Scotland;
Gordon MacMillan, Head of News, Scotland, STV;
Iain MacWhirter, Journalist.

17th Meeting (Session 4), Tuesday 29 May 2012

Broadcasting: The Committee took evidence from—

Ken MacQuarrie, Director, and Bruce Malcolm, Chief Operating Officer, BBC Scotland;
Mark Thompson, Director-General, BBC.

27th Meeting (Session 4), Tuesday 30 October 2012

Broadcasting: The Committee took evidence from—

Paul McManus, Scottish Organiser, Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU);
Peter Murray, Scottish Representative on the Executive Council, National Union of Journalists.

2nd Meeting (Session 4), Tuesday 22 January 2013

Broadcasting: The Committee took evidence from—

Ken MacQuarrie, Director, John Boothman, Head of News and Current
Affairs, and Bruce Malcolm, Head of Commonwealth Games 2014, BBC Scotland.

Broadcasting (in private): The Committee reviewed the evidence heard.

10th Meeting (Session 4), Tuesday 26 March 2013

Broadcasting (in private): The Committee considered a letter from BBC Scotland and agreed to consider a draft report at a future meeting.


13th Meeting (Session 4), Tuesday 30 April 2013

Broadcasting (in private): The Committee considered a draft report. Various changes were agreed to, and the Committee agreed to consider a revised draft, in private, at its next meeting.

14th Meeting (Session 4), Tuesday 7 May 2013

Broadcasting (in private): The Committee considered a draft report. Various changes were agreed to, and the report was agreed for publication.


ANNEXE B: ORAL EVIDENCE AND ASSOCIATED WRITTEN EVIDENCE

3rd Meeting (Session 4), Tuesday 24 January 2012

Written Evidence

BBC Scotland
Herald and Times Group
Ofcom
STV Group plc

Oral Evidence

BBC Scotland
Channel 4
NUJ Scotland
STV
Iain MacWhirter, Journalist.

17th Meeting (Session 4), Tuesday 29 May 2012

Oral Evidence

BBC Scotland
BBC

27th Meeting (Session 4), Tuesday 30 October 2012

Written Evidence

BBC Scotland
NUJ Scotland

Oral Evidence

Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU)
National Union of Journalists

2nd Meeting (Session 4), Tuesday 22 January 2013

Oral Evidence

BBC Scotland

ANNEXE C: OTHER WRITTEN EVIDENCE

Letters to the Committee

ITV – Letter from Magnus Brooke (13 February 2012)
Ofcom – Letter from Alan Stewart (1 March 2012)
BBC Scotland response to evidence presented at Education and Culture Committee on 30 October 2012 (20 November 2012)
BBC Trust – Letter from Lord Patten of Barnes (6 December 2012)
BBC Scotland – Letter from Ken MacQuarrie (22 February 2013)
NUJ Scotland – Submission from NUJ Scotland (26 April 2013)

Letters from the Convener

BBC – Letter to George Entwistle (2 November 2012)
BBC Trust – Letter to Lord Patten of Barnes (29 November 2012)
BBC Scotland – Letter to Ken MacQuarrie (7 February 2013)


ANNEXE D: SPICe BRIEFING PAPER, FUTURE PROGRAMMING CAPACITY AT MAJOR EVENTS AT BBC SCOTLAND

The SPICe briefing paper on Future Programming capacity at major events at BBC Scotland is available on the following link (pp. 4-11):

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_EducationandCultureCommittee/Meeting%20Papers/Papers_22_1_13.pdf


Footnotes:

1 Delivering Quality First, BBC Trust (2011). Available here: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/reports/pdf/dqf_detailedproposals.pdf
Delivering Quality First in Scotland, BBC Scotland (2011): http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/howwework/reports/pdf/bbc_deliveringqualityfirst_strategy_scotland.pdf

2 Shortly after the invitation was issued, George Entwhistle resigned as Director-General. At that point the invitation was extended to Tim Davey, Acting Director-General.

3 Letter from Convener to Lord Patten of Barnes, 29 November 2012

4 Letter from Lord Patten of Barnes to Convener, 6 December 2012

5 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1807

6 Letter from Ken MacQuarrie to the Convener, 22 February 2013.

7 In addition, the Ryder Cup will be held at Gleneagles and 2014 is the year of homecoming.

8 BBC Scotland submission to the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee - Delivering Quality First – 23 October 2012

9 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 30 October 2012, Col 1599

10 BBC Scotland response to evidence presented at Education and Culture Committee on 30 October 2012

11 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 30 October 2012, Col 1605

12 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 30 October 2012, Col 1612

13 BBC Scotland response to evidence presented at Education and Culture Committee on 30 October 2012

14 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1825

15 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1825

16 http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/about/how_we_govern/charter.pdf - Section 3 of the Charter states: “(1) The BBC exists to serve the public interest. (2) The BBC’s main object is the promotion of its Public Purposes”. Section 4 of the Charter sets out the public purposes of the BBC. They are: “(a) sustaining citizenship and civil society; (b) promoting education and learning; (c) stimulating creativity and cultural excellence; (d) representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities; (e) bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK; (f) in promoting its other purposes, helping to deliver to the public the benefit of emerging communications technologies and services and, in addition, taking a leading role in the switchover to digital television.”

17 The Group was convened by Ken MacQuarrie, and included him, the Head of News in the UK and global news, the Head of Political Programmes, the BBC Political Adviser and the Head of Editorial Standards and Compliance in Glasgow.

18 BBC Scotland submission to the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee -
Delivering Quality First – 23 October 2012

19 BBC Scotland response to evidence presented at Education and Culture Committee on 30 October 2012

20 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1827

21 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1827

22 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1827

23 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1828

24 Letter from Ken MacQuarrie to the Convener, 22 February 2013

25 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 29 May 2012, Col 1129

26 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 29 May 2012, Col 1151

27 BBC Scotland submission to the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee - Delivering Quality First – 23 October 2012

28 BBC Scotland submission to the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee - Delivering Quality First – 23 October 2012

29 Continuous Improvement Programme: The BBC Trust set the BBC the target of achieving cash-releasing efficiencies of 3% of expenditure a year for the five-year period 2008-09 to 2012-13. The Continuous Improvement Programme was set up by the BBC to deliver these savings.

30 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 29 May 2012, Col 1819

31 http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/about/how_we_govern/charter.pdf

32 Letter from Ken MacQuarrie to the Convener, 22 February 2013

33 The briefing paper was published with the papers for the Education and Culture Committee meeting on 22 January 2013. Available here:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_EducationandCultureCommittee/Meeting%20Papers/Papers_22_1_13.pdf , p 6

34 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 30 October 2012, Col1598

35 BBC Scotland response to evidence presented at Education and Culture Committee on 30 October 2012

36BBC Scotland response to evidence presented at Education and Culture Committee on 30 October 2012

37 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2012, Col 1809

38 Letter from Ken MacQuarrie to the Convener, 22 February 2013

39 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1809

40 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1809

41 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1809

42 Submission from NUJ Scotland, 26 April 2013

43 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 30 October 2012, Col 1601-02

44 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 30 October 2012, Col 1601

45 BBC Scotland response to evidence presented at Education and Culture Committee on 30 October 2012

46 BBC Scotland response to evidence presented at Education and Culture Committee on 30 October 2012

47 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1813

48 Letter from Ken MacQuarrie to the Convener, 22 February 2013

49 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 24 January 2012, Col 655

50 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 24 January 2012, Col 653-4

51 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 24 January 2012, Col 655

52 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 29 May 2012, Col 1129

53 BBC Trust, Annual Report and Accounts, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12. Available here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/annualreport/download/; Delivering Quality First, BBC Trust (2011). Available here: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/reports/pdf/dqf_detailedproposals.pdf

54 Delivering Quality First, BBC Trust (2011). Available here: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/reports/pdf/dqf_detailedproposals.pdf

55 Service review: The BBC’s national radio stations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales (September 2011). Available here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/our_work/nations_radio/2011/nations_radio_review_full.pdf.

56 Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, col 1824;

57 Letter from Convener to Ken MacQuarrie, 7 February 2013.

58 Letter from Ken MacQuarrie to the Convener, 22 February 2013

59 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 29 May 2012, Cols 1157-58

60 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1821

61 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1821

62 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1822

63 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1822

64 Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, Official Report, 22 January 2013, Col 1834

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