BBC Trust

BBC Trust

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The BBC Trust is the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation. It is operationally independent of BBC management and external bodies, and aims to act in the best interests of licence fee payers.

The Trust was established by the Royal Charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

 for the BBC which came into effect on 1 January 2007. The Trust, and a formalised Executive Board, replaced the former Board of Governors
Board of Governors of the BBC
The Board of Governors of the BBC was the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation. It consisted of twelve people who together regulated the BBC and represented the interests of the public. It existed from 1927 until it was replaced by the BBC Trust on 1 January 2007.The governors...

.

In summary, the main roles of the Trust are in setting the overall strategic direction of the BBC, including its priorities, and in exercising a general oversight of the work of the Executive Board. The Trust will perform these roles in the public interest, particularly the interest of licence fee payers. — BBC Royal Charter (2006)

Trustees


The Royal Charter establishes that the Trust should have twelve trustees, including a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman and a member for each of the nations
Home Nations
Home Nations is a collective term with one of two meanings depending on the context. Politically, it means the nations of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom...

 of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Appointments to the BBC Trust are made by Queen in Council, on the recommendation of government ministers.

The Trust currently comprises:
  • Lord Patten of Barnes, Chairman
  • Dr Diane Coyle
    Diane Coyle
    Diane Coyle, OBE , is a freelance economist, and a former advisor to the UK Treasury. She is a member of the UK Competition Commission and Vice Chairman of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation....

     OBE
    , Vice Chairman and former Economics Editor of The Independent
    The Independent
    The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

    .
  • Richard Ayre
    Richard James Ayre
    Richard Ayre is a member of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation. He is a former member for England of the OFCOM Content Board and chair of its Broadcast Review Committee...

    , former Deputy Chief Executive of BBC News
    BBC News
    BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

    .
  • Anthony Fry, an investment banker.
  • Alison Hastings
    Alison Hastings
    Alison Hastings is the member for England on the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation, and a Vice President of the British Board of Film Classification....

    , the Trustee for England and a former regional newspaper editor.
  • Rotha Johnston
    Rotha Johnston
    Rotha Johnston, CBE is a British entrepreneur in commerce and property. She is the Northern Ireland member of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation....

     CBE
    , the Trustee for Northern Ireland and an independent businesswoman.
  • Elan Closs Stephens
    Elan Closs Stephens
    Elan Closs Stephens CBE is a Welsh educator and civil servant, the Wales representative on the BBC Trust.Born in Talysarn in the Nantlle Valley, Gwynedd, she was educated at Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle and Somerville College, Oxford....

     CBE
    , the Trustee for Wales and former chairman of Welsh-language broadcaster S4C
    S4C
    S4C , currently branded as S4/C, is a Welsh television channel broadcast from the capital, Cardiff. The first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience, it is the fifth oldest British television channel .The channel - initially broadcast on...

    .
  • David Liddiment
    David Liddiment
    David Liddiment is a non-executive director of the independent production company All3Media, the largest independent production house in the UK...

    , a former Director of Programmes at ITV
    ITV
    ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

    .
  • Bill Matthews, the Trustee for Scotland.
  • Mehmuda Mian, a solicitor and former member of the Independent Police Complaints Commission
    Independent Police Complaints Commission
    The Independent Police Complaints Commission is a non-departmental public body in England and Wales responsible for overseeing the system for handling complaints made against police forces in England and Wales.-Role:...

    .


Trustees serve for terms of up to five years (usually four), after which they may be re-appointed.

There are currently two vacancies on the Trust.

Former members


The original members of the Trust were announced in October 2006 by Tessa Jowell
Tessa Jowell
Tessa Jowell is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Dulwich and West Norwood since 1992. Formerly a member of both the Blair and Brown Cabinets, she is currently the Shadow Minister for the Olympics and Shadow Minister for London.-Early life:Tessa Jane...

, the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport is a United Kingdom cabinet position with responsibility for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The role was created in 1992 by John Major as Secretary of State for National Heritage...

.

Since then the following people have been members of the BBC Trust:
  • Michael Grade
    Michael Grade
    Michael Ian Grade, Baron Grade of Yarmouth CBE is a British broadcast executive and businessman. He was BBC chairman from 2004 to 2006 and executive chairman of ITV plc from 2007 to 2009.-Early life:...

     - former Chairman, left the BBC to become Executive Chairman of ITV plc
  • Dermot Gleeson
    Dermot Gleeson (BBC)
    Dermot Gleeson is non-executive chairman of MJ Gleeson Group plc. He is a former member of the Board of Governors of the BBC, where he served two terms, and subsequently one of the original members of the BBC Trust, the current governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation...

     - finished two terms, as a BBC Governor and a BBC Trustee
  • Richard Tait
    Richard Tait
    Professor Richard Tait CBE, is Director of the Centre for Journalism Studies at Cardiff University and a member of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation....

     - finished two terms, as a BBC Governor and a BBC Trustee
  • Chitra Bharucha
    Chitra Bharucha
    Chitra Bharucha MBE BS, FRCPath, FRSA, is a former consultant haematologist and former vice chairman of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation....

     - former Vice Chairman, and acting Chairman; retired after one term
  • Janet Lewis-Jones
    Janet Lewis-Jones
    Janet Lewis-Jones is a former member for Wales on the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation. She was also formerly a vice president of the British Board of Film Classification and a board member at S4C.-BBC:...

     - former National Trustee for Wales; retired after one term
  • Jeremy Peat
    Jeremy Peat
    Jeremy Peat is a member of the Competition Commission and the Director of the David Hume Institute. He is also chairman of the BBC Pension Trust. He is a former member of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation, where he was the Scottish Trustee.-Career:Peat...

     - former National Trustee for Scotland; finished two terms, as a BBC Governor and a BBC Trustee
  • Sir Michael Lyons
    Sir Michael Lyons
    Sir Michael Lyons , is the non-executive chairman of the English Cities Fund and Participle Ltd; he is a former Chairman of the BBC Trust....

     - former Chairman; retired after one term.
  • Dame Patricia Hodgson
    Patricia Hodgson
    Dame Patricia Anne Hodgson, DBE is the Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge.-Biography:Following an early stint at the Conservative Party research department , Hodgson worked as a producer and journalist and was a founder-member of the distance learning team at the Open University...

     - who resigned to take up a position on the board of media regulator Ofcom
    Ofcom
    Ofcom is the government-approved regulatory authority for the broadcasting and telecommunications industries in the United Kingdom. Ofcom was initially established by the Office of Communications Act 2002. It received its full authority from the Communications Act 2003...

    .

Chairman of the BBC Trust


The Trust was originally to be chaired by Michael Grade
Michael Grade
Michael Ian Grade, Baron Grade of Yarmouth CBE is a British broadcast executive and businessman. He was BBC chairman from 2004 to 2006 and executive chairman of ITV plc from 2007 to 2009.-Early life:...

, the then Chairman of the Board of Governors. However, in November 2006 before the Trust formally took over from the Governors as the governing body of the Corporation, Grade left the BBC to become Executive Chairman of ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

. Chitra Bharucha
Chitra Bharucha
Chitra Bharucha MBE BS, FRCPath, FRSA, is a former consultant haematologist and former vice chairman of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation....

, then Vice-Chairman, became the Acting Chairman.

Sir Michael Lyons was subsequently appointed the first permanent Chairman of the BBC Trust, taking up the position from 1 May 2007. In September 2010 Sir Michael wrote to the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, stating that he did not wish to be considered for a second term as Chairman.

Following a recruitment process Chris Patten, Baron Patten of Barnes was appointed to the role and began his term on 1 May 2011.

Remuneration of Trustees


The remuneration for BBC Trustees is determined by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is a department of the United Kingdom government, with responsibility for culture and sport in England, and some aspects of the media throughout the whole UK, such as broadcasting and internet....

 and paid for by the BBC. The table below shows the base fees for Trustees during 2009-10.
Position Base Fee
Chairman £110,000
Vice-Chairman £77,005
National Trustees £41,070
Trustee £35,935

The Chairman is expected to spend 3–4 days a week on Trust business, and the Vice-Chairman about 2.5 days. Other Trustees are expected to spend about 2 days a week. From the summer 2010 BBC Trust members - alongside members of the BBC's Executive Board - are all taking an 8.3% reduction in fees (equivalent to one month's pay).

In October 2010 the Government announced that the fee for the Chairman of the BBC Trust would be reduced from £143,000 to £110,000.

The Trust's work


In October 2007, the Trust approved the BBC's strategic direction for the next six years, demanding a high quality and more distinctive BBC.

The Trust has approved several new services, including the iPlayer
BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer, commonly shortened to iPlayer, is an internet television and radio service, developed by the BBC to extend its former RealPlayer-based and other streamed video clip content to include whole TV shows....

, HDTV
High-definition television in the United Kingdom
High-definition television in the United Kingdom is available via cable, IPTV, satellite and terrestrial television. The first high-definition broadcasts began in 2006 and the number of channels has grown to 65 ....

 and the Gaelic Digital Service
Gaelic Digital Service
BBC Alba is a joint-venture Scottish Gaelic language digital television channel which is broadcast by the BBC throughout the United Kingdom on satellite, online and Virgin Media on Demand. It is also available live on Virgin Media and Freeview in Scotland. The channel was launched at 21:00 on...

, BBC Alba. The Trust denied a proposal to launch a new local video service in late 2008 due to concerns about competition with commercial producers, especially newspapers moving online. The Trust has also recently demanded that the BBC makes more programmes outside of London.

In May 2008 the Trust published its review of the BBC's website (bbc.co.uk), criticising the service for financial mismanagement, including a £36 million overspend. The departure of Ashley Highfield, Director of the BBC's technology department has been linked to the findings of the review. In June 2008, the Trust was highly critical of the BBC's network news reporting of issues in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Trust was heavily criticised in the popular press for its review of the amount the BBC pays for "top talent" and failing to answer whether stars like Jonathan Ross
Jonathan Ross
Jonathan Ross may refer to:* Jonathan Ross , English television and radio personality* Jonathan Ross , United States Senator, Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court* Jonathon Ross , former Australian rules footballer...

 and Graham Norton
Graham Norton
Graham William Walker, known by his stage name Graham Norton , is an Irish actor, comedian, television presenter and columnist...

 were worth their large licence fee funded salaries. Ross is thought to earn £6 million each year.

2009 Editorial Standards Committee report


In April 2009, the Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) of the BBC Trust published a report into three complaints brought against two news items involving Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen
Jeremy Bowen
Jeremy Francis John Bowen is a Welsh journalist and television presenter. He was the BBC's Middle East correspondent based in Jerusalem between 1995 and 2000, and has been its Middle East Editor since 2005.-Background:...

. The report received widespread coverage in the UK and in Israel.

The complaints included 24 allegations of breaching BBC guidelines on accuracy or impartiality of which three were fully or partially upheld. The Independent's Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk
Robert Fisk
Robert Fisk is an English writer and journalist from Maidstone, Kent. As Middle East correspondent of The Independent, he has primarily been based in Beirut for more than 30 years. He has published a number of books and has reported on the United States's war in Afghanistan and the same country's...

 was particularly critical of the ESC report, saying that the BBC Trust is "now a mouthpiece for the Israeli lobby". An editorial in The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

said that the report demonstrated "a terrible absence of good judgement". Michael Lyons' response to the editorial, also published in The Independent, said that it is important to take complaints seriously and to be scrupulously careful about standards of accuracy and impartiality so that the BBC's reputation for fairness and impartiality is maintained.

Future of the Trust


The BBC Trust has already come under severe pressure by the coalition government. Both the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats have been highly critical of the Trust model, stating that it has "failed". Both parties favour some kind of external regulation of the BBC.

Despite some early rhetoric about abolishing the Trust, the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has made clear that he would only act within the current Royal Charter, so major changes are unlikely until after the Charter expires in 2016. He has instead expressed his support for changing the name of the Trust and installing a new non-executive chairman on the BBC's Executive Board.

The Trust Unit


The Trust is supported by a team of 70 staff, known as the Trust Unit. These staff are independent from the BBC Executive and include specialists in audience research, performance analysis, and finance. The Trust Unit is headed by its Director, Nicholas Kroll
Nicholas Kroll
Nicholas Kroll is the Director of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation. He is the principal adviser to the BBC Trust and head of the BBC Trust Unit, the BBC department that supports and advises the Trust.-BBC:...

.

In 2007/08 the BBC Trust cost £11.909 million to run, in 2008/09 £10.517 million, and in 2009/10 £10.502 million (excluding Ofcom fees)

Audience Councils


The BBC Trust has four Audience Councils, which provide advice to the Trust on the views of the audience in each Nation of the UK. The four Councils are:
  • Audience Council England
    Audience Council England
    Audience Council England was created upon establishment of the BBC Trust in January 2007. It replaced the Broadcasting Council of England which had many responsibilities the present council now has. ACE plays a key role helping the BBC Trust understand the needs, interests and concerns of audiences...

  • Audience Council Scotland
    Audience Council Scotland
    The Audience Council Scotland was created upon establishment of the BBC Trust in January 2007. It replaced the Broadcasting Council for Scotland which had many responsibilities the present Council now has....

  • Audience Council Wales
  • Audience Council Northern Ireland