Delivering Quality First

Date: 02.12.2011     Last updated: 18.08.2014 at 15.36
Category: TV; Radio
Delivering Quality First is the BBC's plan for how it can best deliver the highest quality programmes and content to audiences until the end of the Charter in 2017.

In January 2011, Mark Thompson launched Delivering Quality First, a wide-ranging consultation with all BBC staff on how it can best deliver the highest quality programmes and content to audiences until the end of the Charter in 2017. The BBC also conducted an audience research consultation into public views on potential changes.

Delivery Quality First follows the licence fee settlement agreed with the Government in October 2010, which sees the licence fee frozen to 2017, and the BBC assuming new funding responsibilities, including for the World Service, S4C, BBC Monitoring and local TV and broadband. To fulfil this settlement, Mark Thompson set a savings target of 20%.

At A Glance

The Delivering Quality First proposals, launched in October 2011, outline 4 areas for new savings:

  • Productivity savings - Changes to the way the BBC works including the amount that is spent in making programmes and running the organisation
  • Content scope reductions - Changes to programmes and services that we provide for audiences
  • Added commercial income - Achieved by focusing on programmes highly valued by UK audiences and are high in commercial value (e.g. Doctor Who)
  • Working Capital Savings - Tighter management of working capital across the BBC Group

Below is a summary of the changes as outlined in the BBC Trust's press release.


Changes to the way we work

The BBC will build on its current efficiency programme - which has already seen savings of more than £1bn since 2008/9 - to release a further £400m of savings per year by 2016/17. This will be achieved by:

  • A more flexible workforce which reduces duplication of expertise;
  • Streamlining the corporation's use of technology in workplace and production processes;
  • Continuing to reduce senior management numbers under plans announced in July, and flattening the structure to ensure there are no more than five layers between the Director-General to the most junior member of staff;
  • Modernisation of terms and conditions for BBC staff; and
  • Increasing out-of-London production and reducing the BBC's property estate.

Changes to services

The public consultation by the BBC Trust will seek the public's views on those proposals which relate directly to channels and services. In summary, these include:

The general approach taken:

Prioritising and protecting the services and content that deliver the most value to audiences, looking at each individual service and its value within the portfolio, rather than cutting whole services or giving each service the same percentage savings target.

Changes to the BBC's TV channels:

  • Protecting BBC One and Two in peak time, albeit with small reductions in entertainment programming and acquisitions;
  • Making BBC One the channel for all new general daytime programmes;
  • Changing BBC Two's daytime schedule to feature international news and current affairs programmes at lunchtime. Other parts of the daytime schedule would be repeats of mainly factual programmes, including science, history, natural history and arts, as well as live sport;
  • Re-focusing BBC Three and BBC Four to play supporting roles to the two bigger channels; and
  • Replacing the HD channel with an HD version of BBC Two to broadcast alongside the existing BBC One HD channel.

Changes to the BBC's radio stations:

  • Protecting Radio 4 by keeping its underlying budget stable, excluding the impact of productivity savings;
  • Greater sharing of news bulletins between Radio 2 and 6 Music, Radio 1 and 1Xtra, and Radio 3 and 4;
  • Reducing the amount of original drama, live music and specially recorded concerts at lunchtime on Radio 3, and reviewing the BBC's orchestras and singers;
  • Reinvestment in the Proms to maintain quality;
  • Focusing Radio 5 Live on core output of news and sport;
  • A new more focused Asian Network with a 34 per cent reduction in its content spend; and
  • Making savings in radio distribution costs through long term changes to Medium Wave and Long Wave.

Changes to programming and services in the nations and regions:

  • For TV, protecting underlying investment in news programming; producing fewer non-news programmes and rebroadcasting more of them to UK audiences; and increasing investment in network programming produced across Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales;
  • For nations radio, reducing investment in non-news programming and focusing on peak-time; and
  • For English local radio, focusing spend on peak-time programmes, but with increased sharing across regions in off-peak slots.

Changes in approach to digital access and distribution

  • Continuing with previously announced plans to reduce BBC Online?s budget by 25 per cent, but with some reinvestment in future digital development; and
  • Reducing Red Button transmissions making the service consistent across all digital TV platforms.

Public and staff consultation

The BBC Trust will be consulting the public about proposed changes to services. You can voice your opinion about this area of Delivering Quality First on the BBC Trust's website until December 2011.

BBC staff will be consulted on proposals about changes to productivity and organisation over the next few weeks. This consultation will be carried out internally by the BBC and not by the BBC Trust.