Tim Davie, the BBC’s Director General has outlined the BBC blueprint for transformation over the next seven years
The new blueprint (which you can download and study) is a thirteen page document focused on tangible outcomes the BBC wishes to achieve. We’ve been covering the forces at play in the BBC, and some of its more recent initiatives, and this is a clearly a large piece of the overall puzzle. We do expect there to be more as the eventual fate of the BBC funding evolves.
Tim Davie announced his plans in a speech title Across the UK addressed to BBC staff, which you can read for yourself. In some ways it’s a little more accessible than the official announcement. There’s a fair amount to take in, and we present some of the details that immediately caught our attention.
The specific commitments are:
A transformation in the way we commission TV programmes – For the first time, a clear majority of our UK-wide TV will be made across the UK, not in London: at least 60% of network TV commissions by spend.
A transformation in the commissioning and production of network radio and online audio – 50% of network radio and music spend will be outside London by 2027/28.
Major parts of BBC News to shift across the UK – We will move significant parts of BBC News to centres across the UK, ensuring we cover the stories that matter most to audiences and more effectively representing different voices and perspectives. Half of our UK-focused story teams will be based around the country
A truly UK-wide BBC – We will make Salford the main base for our digital and technology teams – a global centre of excellence – supported by digital teams in Glasgow, Cardiff and London; we will expand BBC Studios bases in Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow; upgrade our Belfast HQ; in radio, Newsbeat and Asian Network will be based in Birmingham; while Radio 3 and 6 Music will be rooted in Salford.
A big investment in BBC local reporting – A network of digital community journalists will enhance our regional news provision; we’ll introduce a tailored BBC One across Yorkshire, North West and North East England; we’ll see up to six new peak-time BBC local radio services -including in Bradford, Sunderland and Wolverhampton; and new BBC local on-demand bulletins for over 50 areas on BBC Sounds.
Strengthening the creative economy right across the UK – We will renew creative partnerships with Northern Ireland Screen and Creative Scotland, create a new one with Creative Wales, and focus on partnerships in the North and Midlands in England.
A doubling of our commitment to apprentices – We’ll support 1,000 apprentices in any year across the UK and pilot an Apprentice Training Agency in the West Midlands.
From this you get the main themes: breaking the stranglehold of London even further, diversity including regions and a group of centres to drive the organisation forward. We even get the phrase centre of excellence! There are a lot of specific details around radio, and on a first look it’s all interesting and commendable. The financial outcomes are stated in terms of concomitant UK economic benefit and we feel this is the theme the BBC is looking to us as it defends the licence fee or state funding in some shape or other. We’ll keep you posted.