The Trust sets out what it expects of each service in a service licence.
Our review had three broad aims:
first, to assess how well BBC Parliament and the BBC News Channel are performing against commitments set out in their service licences
second, to consider the channels’ future direction
third, to determine whether amendments to the licences are required.
We carried out a public consultation during the spring of 2011 and received around 4,000 responses from licence fee payers. In addition, we received a response from the Trust's Audience Councils as well as a number of stakeholder organisations. These responses, alongside our audience research, performance monitoring and financial analysis, have given us a clear understanding of these channels' strengths and weaknesses. The supporting evidence for this review can be found below.
The News Channel has record reach levels, with 19.9 per cent of UK adults viewing it during 2010/11, up from 11.5 per cent in 2006/7. Audiences rate this as the channel of choice for news on subjects such as the economy, politics, health and education.
Despite these successes the News Channel must continue to improve and innovate, to keep it distinctive in an increasingly crowded marketplace for news.
The Trust appreciates that the News Channel will need to play a part in delivering the savings needed by the new licence fee settlement, but urges management not to let any changes detract from the range and depth of stories covered.
BBC Parliament audiences value the channel's live, unmediated coverage and highlights. They see this as unique and appreciate the chance to see proceedings first hand and put their own interpretation on them.
BBC Parliament is attracting record and growing audiences, reaching more than one per cent of viewers for the first time last year. Reach tends to be highest during topical debates.
BBC Parliament should ensure on-screen contextual information better meets the needs of viewers, and the Trust endorses its plans to introduce easier links to other BBC services so people can find more details about a subject quickly.