The BBC was established as the British Broadcasting Corporation by Royal Charter in December 1926 and it’s governance and funding arrangements have been set out in a Royal Charter ever since.
The most recent Charter was awarded from 1 January 2017 for a period of ten years following a wide-ranging review conducted by Government. As part of that Review new governance and regulatory arrangements were put in place which established a single BBC Board and gave sole regulatory responsibility for the BBC to Ofcom.
The new, unitary, BBC Board is led by a non-executive Chairman, Sir David Clementi, and consists of a majority of non-executive directors alongside executive directors including the BBC’s Director-General and Editor-in-Chief, Tony Hall.
The Board is responsible for ensuring the BBC fulfils its mission and public purposes as set out in the Charter. It does this by:
setting the strategic direction for the BBC
establishing the creative remit
setting the BBC’s Budget
determining the framework for assessing performance
The Board is accountable for all the BBC’s activities including the publicly funded services in the UK and around the world, as well as its commercial activities.
The full membership of the Board, its minutes, terms of reference and regulations can all be accessed on this site.
The Board has a number of committees predominantly made up of non-executive directors as required by the Charter. These include an Audit and Risk Committee; a Nominations Committee, and Remuneration Committee. It has also established committees responsible for Editorial Guidelines and Standards, Fair Trading and the Nations.
The full membership of all the sub-committees, their minutes and terms of reference can all be accessed on this site.
The Executive Committee
The Director-General, Tony Hall, chairs the Executive Committee, which is responsible for the day-to-day running of the BBC and consists of the senior directors managing large operational areas of the BBC. The Executive Committee is responsible for delivering the BBC’s services in accordance with the strategy and delegation framework agreed by the Board, and for all aspects of operational management.
The Office of Communications (Ofcom) is the UK’s broadcasting, telecommunications and postal regulatory body. Under the BBC’s Charter it has responsibility for regulating the BBC. It does this through an Operating Framework and by setting a licence for the BBC that contains the regulatory conditions the BBC is required to meet. Ofcom also assesses performance, ensures fair and effective competition and regulates how the BBC’s commercial activities interact with its public services. In addition, it regulates BBC content and output against its Broadcasting Code.
More information about Ofcom and how it regulates the BBC can be found on its website.
BBC World Service
As part of the October 2010 licence fee settlement, the BBC agreed that from 1 April 2014 the World Service would be funded from the licence fee. It was previously funded by grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The BBC must provide World Service and is responsible for setting its overall strategic direction, the budget and guarding its editorial independence. It must set and publish a Licence for the World Service, which defines its remit, scope, annual budget and main commitments, as well as "objectives, targets and priorities" which are agreed with the Foreign Secretary.
The BBC must report in reasonable detail on World Service in its annual report and elsewhere as appropriate. The Chair of the Board of the BBC and the Foreign Secretary (or their nominated representatives) will meet at least annually to review the performance of the World Service against the objectives, priorities and targets as defined in the Licence.
The World Service was awarded by HMG with a £291 million grant over four years for a programme of modernisation and new language service. The grant is administered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The BBC may also transmit World Service output in the UK.
The Comptroller and Auditor General, Sir Amyas Morse KCB, has been appointed as the BBC’s auditor. He is supported in this role by the National Audit Office. Sir Amyas and the NAO are independent of government. As part of the BBC’s governance arrangements, the Comptroller and Auditor General examines, certifies and reports on the BBC’s group accounts and is appointed as auditor of the BBC’s relevant subsidiaries, unless he and the BBC agree otherwise.
The National Audit Office has also, for a number of years, conducted value for money examinations on the use of the Licence Fee. The new Royal Charter extends this right to conduct value for money work in relation to the BBC’s commercial activities. A Memorandum of Understanding between the BBC and the National Audit Office has been published, setting out the way in which this process will be implemented. A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding is available for download.