BBC Trust holds first transition meeting
The BBC Trust - the body which will replace the BBC Governors as the BBC's
sovereign body from 1 January 2007 - held its first meeting today.
The new Charter sets out provisions for the BBC Trust's activities before the
Charter formally takes effect on 1 January 2007.
Michael Grade, Chairman of the BBC Trust, said: "For the first time, the public
will help set the strategic agenda for its BBC. Today we have begun to put in
place the necessary arrangements to make that happen.
"One of our first tasks as Trustees will be to consult the public about the
priorities we should set BBC management to meet the 'Six Public Purposes' laid
out in the new Charter.
"This will include the first of the Trust's regular
major audience research surveys, asking the public how the BBC is performing.
"There will also be an early meeting with the new Audience Councils - whose role
is to help the Trust find out what the public around the UK think about the
The Trust was briefed today on the very different system of governance
introduced by the new Charter.
Key areas included the proposed approach to
engaging with the public; the new regulatory framework of public value tests
and competitive impact codes; and the new Service Licences and Purpose Remits
the Trust will deploy to monitor performance of the BBC in delivering its
public service remit.
Michael Grade said: "The BBC Trust faces a busy and challenging first year.
must establish the new regime for overseeing the BBC's services and in the
months ahead consider the BBC's latest creative proposals.
"We must establish
relationships with our key partners - outside and inside the BBC.
"And, most of
all, the Trust must ensure the infrastructure is in place to allow us to work
on behalf of all licence fee payers.
"We are required to ensure that the BBC
provides high quality output and value for money.
"Accountability to licence
fee payers and understanding their needs and expectations is our key task.
future judgements will be informed by evidence gathered from licence fee
At today's meeting, the Trust agreed that one of its first priorities is to
meet the Charter requirement to issue Service Licences before 1 January 2007 to
each of the BBC's existing 27 services, reflecting the services as they are
Once issued, these Licences will be the baseline against
which the Trust will consider any future proposals from BBC management to
change services or applications for new services.
The first set of Service
Licences will be 'interim' until the Purpose Remits, which they will sit
alongside, are finalised during 2007.
Draft Purpose Remits will be published
in the New Year, and a period of public consultation will follow.
Also at its meeting today, the Trust agreed its own 'Standing Orders' and
confirmed Mark Thompson as Director-General and Chairman of the Executive
This appointment, together with that of Mark Byford as Deputy Director-General, marks the first step in establishing the Executive Board.
for appointment of non-executive directors to the Executive Board, also a
requirement of the Transitional Provisions of the Charter, is underway and
appointments will be announced by the BBC in due course.
The Trust confirmed the appointment of Nicholas Kroll as Director, Trust Unit
and delegated the necessary powers to him to establish the Trust Unit which
will replace the Governance Unit to provide the Trustees with independent
advice and support.
On behalf of all members of the BBC Trust, Vice-Chairman Chitra Bharucha said: "We are all very pleased to have started to put the Trust in place.
arrangements will take a little time to bed down but we are convinced they will
result in greater clarity, consistency, and transparency - both in how the BBC
itself operates and the way in which the Trust will hold BBC management to
"The purpose of this regime is to ensure the BBC provides quality
programmes and services efficiently for everyone throughout the UK.
forward to representing the interests of all licence fee payers to that end."
Notes to Editors
The BBC Trust will meet again during December and January before its first
formal monthly meetings on 24 January.
Further statements will be issued
during the transitional period as decisions are taken.
The Board of Governors remains the BBC's governing body with decision-making
authority until 31 December 2006.
The Transitional Provisions are set out in the new Charter (from page 23) - see right-hand side of this web page.
BBC Governance Unit