Press Office

Monday 01 Sep 2014

Press Release

Tim Davie announces five-point plan for BBC Radio independent productions commissioning process

Tim Davie, Director of BBC Audio and Music (A&M), today announced a five-point plan to improve the radio commissioning process for the independent radio production sector at the Radio Production in the North (RPIN) annual conference in Salford.

  1. Replacing genre specific preferred supplier list with the introduction of Open Indie Criteria – available to all independent production companies across all of BBC Radio
  2. Launch of a less complex budgeting process
  3. Confirmation of a simpler system of commissioning rounds
  4. Introduction of 10% Window of Creative Competition (WoCC) across BBC Audio and Music
  5. Appointment of Chris Burns, Audio & Music Group Manager and A&M Group Board member as "Indie Champion"

A pan-BBC A&M commissioning criteria will be introduced for all BBC Radio networks ensuring a simpler commissioning process. The criteria will be based on four areas of expertise – Editorial Capability, Technical, Editorial Standards, and Business. The requirements for meeting the criteria include: programme making experience; knowledge of BBC Guidelines and compliance procedure; talent management; budgetary expertise and compliance with network specific requirements.

The criteria will ensure consistency and transparency across the production and commissioning process for in-house and external BBC productions. All independent radio production companies will be sent information on the new commissioning process, those that meet the criteria will be eligible for all BBC Radio commissioning rounds.

These measures are in response to the BBC Trust's review of the independent supply of radio programming last year which recommended increased openness and greater clarity. The new system will be introduced by the beginning of 2012 and will mean the closure of the current preferred supplied list for BBC Radio 4 commissioning rounds.

A key aim of this measure is to ensure great ideas generated in the commissioning process are translated into great on-air content.

Tim Davie says: "These measures represent a real advance in building the partnership between BBC radio and the independent production sector. Overall, we intend to make BBC Radio a simpler and easier place to do business with so that the best ideas make it to air."

Other measures announced as part of the plan include a review of the commissioning timetable to allow independent production companies more time to prepare pitches and a new simpler budgeting system to speed up the time between commissioning and production.

BBC A&M will also be introducing a 10% Window of Creative Competition (WoCC) – the opportunity for independent production companies to compete with in-house to make BBC programmes – which will be fully operational by 2012/13, in addition to the existing 10 per cent independent production quota.

Chris Burns will be the A&M "Indie Champion" with direct responsibility for managing relations with the indies.

DL

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