BBC misses cost-cutting targets as headcount remains just below 19,000, National Audit Office report finds

William Turvill
Follow William
Crisis Talks Continue At The BBC Following The Resignation Of Director General George Entwistle Over The Newsnight Scandal
At the end of 2015/16, the BBC employed 18,920 full-time equivalent staff, the NAO found (Source: Getty)

The BBC has missed several cost-cutting targets in recent years, a report from the public spending watchdog today reveals.

In 2011, the corporation set out plans to reduce its headcount by 2,000, but the National Audit Office (NAO) found only 847 positions had been cut by 2015/16.

Some 3,400 redundancies in this time, costing £190m, were offset by new roles being created, notably in digital and technological positions.

Read more: Rival group of MPs hits back in BBC Brexit bias row: Counter letter in full

Between 2010/11 and 2015/16, the BBC reduced the cost of its payroll workforce by six per cent in real terms.

The number of full-time equivalent staff at the corporation fell by four per cent from 19,767 to 18,920. And the cost of wages and salaries for payroll staff fell in real terms by £59m to £862m.

A BBC spokesman said: “As the NAO confirms, we have reduced the cost and size of our workforce and cut back office support, whilst prioritising creating more content and digital services for our audiences.”

The NAO found the BBC also missed a target to cut the number of senior managers earning more than £150,000. However, the corporation has reduced the number of senior managers, and their total wagebill from £64.1m to £47m.

Read more: BBC drops news agency Associated Press, citing "financial pressures"

They added: “We’ve cut the senior manager paybill significantly, with fewer managers across the organisation – where some roles now have more responsibilities that is reflected in people’s pay, although salaries remain below market levels.”

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “The BBC's approach to managing its workforce shows definite progress. The BBC has improved its oversight of staff, and achieved better value for money than in the past.

“The scale of the BBC’s efficiency agenda in the coming years is considerable, and the BBC will need to monitor workforce changes carefully to build on the recent progress it has made.”

Related articles