BBC Trust statement in response to speech by First Minister Scotland

Date: 08.08.2007     Last updated: 23.09.2014 at 09.48
Category: Statements
In response to a speech by the First Minister Scotland, Alex Salmond, about broadcasting policy for Scotland, the BBC Trust has issued the following statement:

"The BBC Trust shares the First Minister's objective of delivering quality public service broadcasting for licence fee payers in Scotland. The BBC Trust represents the public interest by ensuring the BBC is an economic and creative force for good in the UK and for its constituent nations. We agree that BBC Scotland has a strong and vibrant contribution to make to the Scottish creative economy for the benefit of Scotland and the UK as a whole, and this includes a very firm commitment to Scottish-based programme production.

"The new Royal Charter makes clear that the BBC must provide something of value to everyone as well as serving the UK as a whole. The Charter sets out six public purposes and requires the Trust to ensure the BBC meets them. Earlier this year, and for the first time ever, the Trust carried out extensive research and consulted publicly on how the BBC should deliver its mission to inform, educate and entertain in meeting its public purposes. We wanted to understand the public's priorities for the BBC and understand their perceptions of BBC performance.

"This research marked innovative programming, education and news and current affairs as top priorities for audiences across the UK, with a clear focus on innovative programming as the area requiring improvement. The research also showed that, across the UK, including Scotland, audiences believed the BBC could do better in catering for their own communities, and in representing their area to other parts of the UK. It also showed that there was a clear interest amongst audiences in the nations for news provision which reflects the changing realities in the United Kingdom as devolution unfolds. The Audience Council for Scotland has separately raised these matters with us on behalf of licence fee payers in Scotland.

"The Trust is using all the research findings and the input from Audience Councils to inform its decisions in the autumn about the BBC's strategic priorities, the process which will determine how the licence fee is invested to best serve the public. Separately, the Trust has already announced that its next review of impartiality will cover network coverage of the devolved nations. This work will be completed by early next summer and published by the Trust.

"The Trust fully understands how important the creative sector is to our economy and that the BBC has a key role to play in stimulating that sector. Further, the Trust is committed to ensuring that the BBC makes the best use of all its available resources and technologies in Scotland to serve the interests of people locally, regionally, in that nation and across the UK."

The Deputy Director-General has written recently to the SNP's Spokesman for Culture to outline the BBC's current news provision in Scotland and how the BBC keeps under constant review opportunities to use new technologies to serve Scottish audiences.