There have been various stories in the press this week speculating about proposals emerging from 'Delivering Quality First', which is our wide-ranging consultation with all BBC staff on how the BBC should deliver the highest quality programmes and services under our new licence fee settlement.

I understand that some of these stories may sound drastic so I want to explain the process and where we've got to so far.

The Director General has challenged the senior managers overseeing this work to think radically about what the BBC should look like in six years time, what our priorities should be and what we should do less of. And they've done that. But at this stage, the outcomes of these discussions are still just ideas.

I can assure you no decisions have been made yet and none of the ideas currently being explored will definitely happen. Equally, I can't rule anything out and we are still welcoming further suggestions.

We won't be giving a running commentary on every speculative idea - but I want to be clear that our commitment to quality content as well as value for money is running right through this process.

On the subject of local radio, it's important to remember that representing the UK's regions and communities is one of the BBC's six public purposes. With the rest of the local news sector at increasing risk of market failure, the BBC's contribution to local journalism is more important now than ever. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be looking at the most effective way of delivering it.

As part of last year's strategy review, we looked hard at our local services, making our networks more distinctive, increasing the amount of news and speech programming and investing in local journalism. Reach for our local services has risen recently and the question now is, how can we take this further within a flat licence fee settlement?

And regarding sports rights, we need to remember that delivering great sporting moments to the audience unites the nation. This weekend, viewing of the Six Nation's Calcutta Cup game between England and Scotland peaked at 8 million viewers and the BBC Sport website received 3.9 million visitors on the day of the England v France game.

Looking ahead, the plan is to bring the proposals from all the staff consultations together and test them against out public purposes and priorities. These will then be shared with staff before the final proposals are submitted to the BBC Trust for its approval in July. The BBC Trust will consult the public before any final decisions are made.

I can't pretend there aren't difficult choices and some painful decisions to be made but I'm hopeful that by thinking radically and being transparent about the process the decisions we make will be in the best interests of the BBC and our audiences.

Caroline Thomson is the BBC's Chief Operating Officer

Comments

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  • Comment number 46. Posted by awittyusername

    on 23 Dec 2011 17:39

    @40 Dear Ms. Thomson,

    True to BBC exec form, no reply to @41 BBCnowBSB in over 2 months... though it took a while for #40 post to come along didn't it, maybe I'll check back in another 5 months...

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  • Comment number 45. Posted by F1-Steward

    on 6 Dec 2011 20:31

    No F1, No liciense fee!

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  • Comment number 44. Posted by cleanlang

    on 4 Nov 2011 10:40

    From pitpass, "...........the British Broadcaster, in its attempt to hang on to Wimbledon and the Six Nations, is understood to have bid an astonishing £300m for a deal lasting up to 2017..............."

    So we all know where our licence fee tax money is going now, though no thanks to the BBC who have tried to keep the sums hidden.

    Truly an appalling state of affairs that they themselves have created, and a failure of the trust invested in the BBC by the public. DQF presents as a sham and it is regrettable that Caroline Thompson and others are still seeking to defend it.

    With the BBC abandoning its primary role as a public service it is difficult to see any argument for the organisation's continued existence...............

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  • Comment number 43. Posted by mr-big

    on 3 Nov 2011 23:49

    "We believe the new deal represents the best possible value for all Licence Fee Payers in a very difficult financial climate."

    So in difficult financial times we are asked to pay £40 a month extra to watch all F1 races live when there were other free-to-air channels available and interested in the rights. Hardly sounds really like "the best possible value for all Licence Fee Payers"

    Some interesting information regarding projected viewing figures next year and why BBC were so keen on teaming up with Sky rather than another free-to-air channel. http://www.f1revs.com/2011/11/bbcsky-f1-deal-viewing-figures.html

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  • Comment number 42. Posted by Piet Boon

    on 3 Nov 2011 21:04

    Have you read this:

    Barney Francis, Managing Director of Sky Sports, revealed that the rights package agreed from next season for Formula One was a done deal within 48 hours of the first phone call.

    ‘It was presented to us in the summer. We had a very short time span to get involved and we showed great agility to move and secure those rights. It was all done in a couple of days,’ he told his audience.

    This is really shocking, and looks like a complete seel out of the BBC
    source

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  • Comment number 41. Posted by BBCnowBSB

    on 29 Oct 2011 11:15

    @40 Dear Ms. Thomson,

    I congratulate you on actually responding to blog comments, I have lost the wager with myself. I am afraid my congratulations cease there.

    Ben Gallop (does he still work for the BBC as he has been missing from public gaze since July?) did not "explain" the deal with Sky - he tried to justify it, provided a few half truths and missed out one essential item - that this deal was done to save money while cutting out any chance of free to air coverage from , for example, the other public service broadcaster, Channel 4. No explanation or additional information, despite many thousands of requests and ensuing complaints has been forthcoming from the BBC or its management. Many other questions remain unexplained and no management response from the BBC has been given from 29 July until your blog comment (which , like the Barbara Slater attempt, is, with respect, merely trying to justify the unjustifiable). Some might think this disgraceful and a massive show of contempt for licence fee payers.

    If you are truly contending that abandoning a contract to show F1 free to air with two years to run, doing a deal with Sky to remove half or more of F1 races from free
    to air television for, it seems, at least six years and preventing licence payers having any alternative for UK coverage beyond paying some £600 p.a. to Sky is merely a "day to day operational decision" then you are confirming the "muddle headed" nature of the BBC management - you will be familiar with this description from your recent interview.

    It seems now very clear the BBC Trust exercise is just a sham - any decisions can be taken having a fundamental effect on programming and millions of viewers and then described as day to day decisions.

    Is there any chance that the BBC will, at least, have the basic courtesy to:-

    (a) apologise for what it has done, including the dreadful attempted spin put on the disaster by Gallop and Slater (no doubt under instruction) when first confessing to the Sky deal, and

    (b) actually explain the details of an agreement reached some three months ago including whether or not it will show full delayed races as Mr. Ecclestone has publicly claimed it could or merely so-called "highlights"?

    I reiterate you are to be congratulated on at least providing a management response in a BBC Blog and thank you in advance for your further response.

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  • Comment number 40. Posted by Caroline_Thomson

    on 28 Oct 2011 16:30

    Hello, many thanks for your comments. I wanted to come back and respond to a few of the questions raised here, particularly around the consultation process and timings for the new Formula 1 deal.

    Ben Gallop has explained the new F1 deal in detail over at the BBC Sport blog. We believe the new deal represents the best possible value for all Licence Fee Payers in a very difficult financial climate. Further details of the BBC’s plans for next season will be released as soon as we can.

    Some of you have asked why the BBC Trust is running a consultation process for Delivering Quality First, but not for the F1 deal.

    Part of the BBC Trust’s consultation looks at whether the BBC’s proposal to reduce the overall amount spent on sports rights fits with the strategy it has set. However, this consultation does not include specific operational decisions taken by the BBC on a day to day basis for example the de-commissioning of a major drama series or the acquisition of format rights to a new Saturday night entertainment programme.

    The recent actions taken by the BBC around Formula 1 are another example of this kind of operational decision, and are therefore not part of the DQF consultation. This is also why the timings for the new rights deal (announced in July 2011) differ from the timings of the DQF consultation.

    Caroline Thompson, COO

  • Comment number 39. Posted by Mariel52

    on 28 Oct 2011 12:58

    Please could you look at some way of keeping the Doctor Who Confidential programme? This is one of the best reality TV programmes on the television.

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  • Comment number 38. Posted by BBCnowBSB

    on 25 Oct 2011 15:34

    It seems most unfortunate that the unequivocal guarantee of no action without consultation at the end of this blog written in March this year by Ms Thomson - presumably directed at licence fee payers - turns out not to be an operative statement (to put it as politely as possible) in relation to removing F1 live coverage.

    The interview with Ms Thomson on 6 October (look up Caroline Thomson on the BBC website) where the removal of half of F1 is put to her as typical "muddle headed" thinking is most instructive. I anticipate most sensible peoiple can draw their own conclusions about Ms Thomson once they have watched the interview.

    Accordingly, I make no further comments save for a small wager, to myself, that this blog will soon close for comments (and there will, of course, be no reply by Ms Thompson to the unanimously critical comments made) and the aforementioned interview clip will disappear without trace.

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  • Comment number 37. Posted by Piet Boon

    on 25 Oct 2011 14:53

    Update on BBC/Sky F1 deal: the telegraph reports that the Sky team will have Martin Brundle and Crofty as their main commentating team. RIP BBC F1

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