Whatever you think about the on-going dispute between the Government and the BBC over its future funding and purpose, you may actually want to have your voice heard.
As the director-general Tony Hall said last week, the negotiations over future licence fee funding, as well as talk about the scope and purpose of the BBC, should be a conversation involving you, the viewers.
So first, some clarity on what is going on:
The Government is currently consulting about its Green Paper – published last week and outlining its current thinking on the future of the BBC and the areas that need to be examined.
The document was controversial because it floats the idea of possible subscription funding and questions the whole concept of the universality of the BBC. As culture secretary John Whittingdale said in Parliament: “One key task is to assess whether the idea of universality still holds water. With so much more choice, we must at least question whether the BBC should try to be all things to all people.”
The Government now want the views of the public, which is where you come in. Your ideas will then feed into a White Paper, which is expected to be published sometime next year.
This White Paper will set out the Government’s position on the BBC and form the basis for the Royal Charter, which sets the level of the licence fee and provides the constitutional basis of the BBC and has to be passed by Parliament. The Green Paper is the first stage of the process in setting a new Charter.
The current Charter is due to expire at the end of 2016 and a replacement needs to be in place before then.
To have your say you need to respond to the Green Paper consultation by October 8th.
You can read the Green Paper in full here.
Or you can read what the Government describes as a more “user-friendly” version on the Department of Culture, Media and Sport [DCMS] website here.
This consultation is broken down into four key areas:
- The BBC’s mission, purpose and values
- What the BBC does in terms of its scale and scope
- BBC funding
- BBC governance and regulation.
To tell the Government what you think you can send an email to: BBCCharterReviewConsultation@culture.gov.uk
Or you can write to:
BBC Charter Review Consultation
100 Parliament Street
Or you can click on this link and follow the instructions for an online submission.
The BBC Trust, the Corporation’s regulator which represents the views of licence fee payers, is also under scrutiny.
The Government has made it clear that it wants to reform the Trust and has proposed various models of regulation, including a unitary board and a new standalone oversight body or to move external regulation wholesale to communications regulator Ofcom.
The Government is seeking views on these models and the wider issues of how the BBC’s transparency and accountability can be improved.
But The Trust is conducting its own public consultation over the charter and is understood to be keen to hear from viewers and listeners. Details on how you can do this will come in due course.