BBC backs PLC-style board and abolishing BBC Trust for external regulation

Lynsey Barber
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The BBC is backing an executive board (Source: Getty)

The BBC will back a radical overhaul of the way it is run that would see the BBC Trust abolished and ultimate accountability handed to an external regulator, leaving Auntie to be run by a traditional executive board.

The public broadcaster will publish its arguments for the shake-up today, in a detailed formal response to a government green paper published over the summer. Responses to the public consultation, which closes today, will inform the BBC's charter which is due to be renewed in 2016.

In a comprehensive submission, the BBC will argue that the corporation should be run by a single board on which there would sit a director general, non-executive chairman and a majority of non-executive directors alongside directors from within the BBC, in the style of a traditional PLC.

Read more: Meet the eight people deciding the BBC's future

It would be overseen by an external regulator, doing away with the BBC Trust which was installed five years ago to hold the public broadcaster to account. However, it will not suggest what form that new oversight should take.

Culture secretary John Whittingdale has hinted that the regulator of Britain's commercial broadcasters, Ofcom, should ultimately oversee it, but the government has also proposed an independent body, dubbed "Ofbeeb", as another option.

The BBC's stance on the management shake-up echoes the views of BBC Trust chairman Rona Fairhead.

Read more: Lord Hall reveals plans for BBC's "open platform" future

A BBC source told City A.M.: “While the future governance and regulation of the BBC must be strong with clear lines of accountability, it is also important that it retains its independence from government.

“We want to continue to work constructively with government to ensure the public has a BBC they can continue to be proud of," the source added.

The BBC will also call for the government to extend its public charter for 11 years, rather than 10 when it's renewed next year, so that it does not fall at the same time as a General Election.

The corporation will further argue that the public should be consulted on changes to the way the BBC is funded.

A new licence fee deal was brokered between the government and the BBC over the summer, leaving Auntie to take over the costs of free television licences for over-75s from the Department of Work and Pensions. In return, the government will allow the BBC to charge for iPlayer.

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