BBC Scotland reprioritisation plans
BBC Scotland today (Thursday 18 October) announced its reprioritisation plans as part of the overall BBC proposals – with a number of investment opportunities outlined to help offset efficiencies.
Investment in news and current affairs, a significant expansion of web-based content plus the desire to co-launch a new Gaelic service will ensure that net post losses for Scotland-only output are kept to around 80 over a five-year period.
A lower than expected licence fee settlement has resulted in BBC Scotland looking for 3% annual savings over the next five-years in line with the rest of the BBC.
But those savings – which are likely to see around 210 posts closed over those five-years – will be offset by redeployment as an expected 130 new jobs are created when new Scotland-only programme initiatives are rolled out.
For those working in network output, around 20 posts will close, but many more new jobs are expected to offset these as new network output is commissioned. The overall number of redundancies is likely to be between 150 and 160 over the five-year period.
"Creating Europe's most advanced digital, end-to-end hub and pan-Scotland connectivity at Pacific Quay gives us unique potential as a broadcaster – but also carries a financial responsibility for us all," said Ken MacQuarrie, Controller, BBC Scotland.
"What that means is that new technology and new ways of working will enable us to deliver the content we currently make more cost-effectively.
"But delivering for the future is a balance of investment and efficiency – and there are some huge opportunities for us here in Scotland," he added.
Attracting new business to the largest studio in the UK outside London and the availability of High Definition programme-making, for example – allied to new initiatives which require Trust approval to create significantly more regional news, expand web content and launch a new Gaelic service – should create new jobs to help offset post closures elsewhere.
The new facilities at Pacific Quay in Glasgow should also help win more network output that will boost both staffing at BBC Scotland and the independent sector in Scotland.
"Mark Thompson publicly committed at the launch of Pacific Quay to increase network TV, radio and web production to a minimum of 9% of the network total. That commitment to boosting network production in Scotland is one of the greatest opportunities BBC Scotland has ever faced – maybe the greatest," said Mr MacQuarrie.
At the end of the five-year period, he concluded, BBC Scotland will be smaller, but more efficient – and offer better value to licence fee payers.
"This is a tough and challenging period – but we're better placed than ever to produce the distinctive, high-quality programming for audiences, wherever and whenever they want it."