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2 August 2014
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Policies, guidelines and reports
BBC Statements of Programme Policy 2007/2008
Director-General's statement

About the same time as we launched last year's Statements of Programme Policy (SoPPs), we also launched the Creative Future editorial vision as part of our contribution to the debates around a new Charter. This vision of a strong, broadly based BBC, serving all audiences through diverse services, was endorsed. Our new Charter confirms this role, but also underlines that the BBC should be accountable to its audiences. Service licences overseen by the BBC Trust join SoPPs as key ways of ensuring this.

Creative Future provides a broad vision, which now has to be revisited and translated into service strategies in light of the licence fee settlement. In the meantime, we still have ongoing ambitions for what we hope to achieve in each genre area and across our portfolio of services, and these are outlined in the SoPPs.

The College of Journalism website, a dialogue about values and journalistic approaches, is open to all staff, and will - like many simple ideas - punch above its weight and have real impact on our news, current affairs, politics and other factual output on television, radio and online. We are already seeing benefits: the BBC has been the only UK broadcaster to have a continuous presence in Baghdad since 2003, and, as well as maintaining its impartial reporting from the heart of the conflict for audiences, we recently held an Iraq week, including a special edition of Question Time and a poll conducted in Iraq, that refreshed coverage of this important news story.

But not every programme is about massive impact or enduring legacy. In drama, while EastEnders will continue to tackle life issues, it will primarily entertain, as will the five-part serial Cranford Chronicles and CBBC's Desperados, featuring the trials and triumphs of a wheelchair basketball team. In music, Electric Proms will return after a successful debut in 2006, while Bob Dylan will continue to share his musical tastes with his 6 Music listeners in Theme Time Radio. And more sports will be scheduled when viewers want them now that they are no longer restricted to Saturday's Grandstand slot.

We aim to create audience value through existing programmes and services, and by developing new ones. The BBC's new on-demand services have received provisional approval (subject to meeting certain conditions from the BBC Trust), and we will be seeking approval to launch other new services, such as a high definition TV service and a digital Gaelic language channel to meet real audience need in Scotland. Some of the money to invest in new services comes from savings made elsewhere - an estimated £100million will, in effect, be a new fund for content and services this year.

We will take new service strategies to the BBC Trust for approval in the autumn, when some of the commitments made in these SoPPs may be reviewed. [See Note below.]

Mark Thompson


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Note to 2007/2008 Statements of Programme Policy
Under the BBC Agreement, the statutory duties of the Executive Board charge it with, amongst other duties, the direction of the BBC's editorial and creative input, the operational management of the BBC and the conduct of the BBC's operational financial affairs in a manner best designed to ensure value for money. In view of the exceptional circumstances of the licence fee settlement and the current review of the BBC's service strategies, those obligations may require the review of the BBC Statements of Programme Policy 2007/2008 following the end of the current reprioritisation and service strategy process, which is expected in autumn 2007 in order to take account of the outcomes of that process.

Any review of the SoPPs will be prepared by the Executive Board and will be submitted to the Trust for approval in compliance with section 21 of the BBC Agreement in order to allow the Trust to exercise its responsibilities in light of its own duties. In parallel with this process, the Trust will consider any variations to service licences which arise as a result of the service strategy proposals and review these alongside the varied SoPPs. The Trust's process for making variations to service licences will be in compliance with relevant clauses in the BBC Agreement and with its Service Licence Operating Framework which can be found on the Trust's website at bbc.co.uk/bbctrust. If any amendments to the SoPPs are approved pursuant to the duties of the Trust, the relevant SoPP for the year will be deemed to comprise each policy as set out in the attached statements and, for the remainder of the year, any changes to that policy which are approved by the Trust.

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