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External Supply Review

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Richard Smith Richard Smith | 12:30 UK time, Friday, 18 January 2013


I'm Richard Smith and I look after feedback and public accountability for BBC Online (including managing the small team who produce this blog and plan and deliver our BBC Online Industry Briefings.)

Part of my role involves working with BBC commissioners and external suppliers to facilitate the working relationship between BBC Online and the UK's digital industry, whether these are big players or start-ups.

BBC Online is subject to a quota which ensures that we spend at least 25% of our eligible budget with external suppliers, with the aim of creating the highest quality service and the best possible value for money.

In 2011 the BBC Trust asked us to report back with answers to six key questions relating to what our quota aims to achieve and how we work with the digital industry.

Today we're publishing our response. These findings and our recommendations are based on research carried out on our behalf by independent analysts MTM London, and today we are also publishing their final report (with some redactions where required for commercial confidentiality).

I'm pleased to say that the Trust have accepted our findings and recommendations. As a result we will be retaining the existing supply arrangements for at least two more years.

They've also asked to us to look at ways we can make further improvements in how we commission and work with external suppliers and to regularly review and report performance against our stated objectives.

Later this year we'll be publishing our 2012/13 Out-turn report for BBC Online which will have further details about how we have fulfilled the quota this year. (Out-turn reports for previous years are available on our Commissioning web site)

If you are a digital business who work with BBC Online and have any questions about the reports I'm happy to try and answer any queries - so please do leave a comment.

Richard Smith is head of public accountability, BBC Online and Red Button.

Executive Response to the Trust Review of Online Supply 2012/13

MTM London Final Report


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    'look after feedback and public accountability for BBC Online '

    Maybe you then can explain why this URL has been closed for months without getting the mods to kill even the question being asked?:


  • Comment number 3.

    "Why are some blog entries closed to comments?

    "All blog entries are automatically closed after a period of time to help reduce spamming and off topic discussion. The default duration that entries are open to comments varies from blog to blog.

    "Some entries may also be closed early for example if the debate has changed, run its natural course, or is no longer topical.

    "In very rare cases an entry may never be opened to comments. For example if a story is so sensitive that commenting would put users or the BBC at risk.

    "The length of time entries are open to comments can likewise be extended, for example if the debate remains topical for an unusually long time."

    - https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/about.shtml

    You posted your question EIGHT MONTHS after the event. It was no longer timely, and it appears to be criticising a prior moderation decision.

    I do not work for the BBC, I am not a moderator. I am explaining the normal practice, used by many blogs, which is to close entries for new comments, to reduce the moderation workload and the chance of attracting spam comments.

    If you mean why was your question not removed, presumably no-one complained about it. Your question was presumably not answered because it is covered in the house rules: https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/moderation.shtml - only the commenter or their appointed representative can appeal against a moderation decision.

  • Comment number 4.

    '3. At 12:16 21st Jan 2013, kruador '
    "Why are some blog entries closed to comments?

    A very thorough reply, especially from one who does not work for the BBC, ever has or would, no way. Uh-uh...

    Cut & pasting vast tracts from the BBC's own rulebook can serve on the how, but less so on the why, though. Especially self-serving exceptions.

    I take it you are referring to my post (ignoring the irony of all around being modded out there... and here) as cited in the URL?

    I am happy to see it has been reinstated, after a few months of the entire page being rendered unreadable, from actual story to any comments about it. Coincidentally when the topic and main protagonist was involved in matters that such a page could have complemented poorly. Clearly that awkward moment is now passed.

    So what I was talking about was not my comment but the whole thing.

    Though in addition I was talking to the mods about this question being removed the other day from another (relevant) The Editors thread simply for asking.


    If you are going to leap to the defence of the BBC in such a way, maybe first get to grips with what is actually needing answering?

    I know what I mean. And I'd prefer the BBC to reply than those who don't.

  • Comment number 5.

    why bbc close some commeent and why they don't accept URL

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi asma khan and JunkkMale

    We remove comments which are off the topic of the blog post which in this case is the External Supply Review, so please keep your comments focused around that.

    If you would like more info about how we moderate comments on blogs you can read our house rules.

    Many thanks

    Eliza Kessler
    Content Producer
    BBC Internet blog

  • Comment number 9.

    From the post:

    I look after feedback and public accountability for BBC Online

    If you wish to hold 'discussions' narrowed to the level you appear to want, it may be better to do so directly rather than on a public forum.

    Also, as precedent, is the BBC prepared to shut down any attempt by interviewers who often end by saying... 'While I have got you here..' to put a public figure on the spot on a related area?

    If not, then add it to your many unique exceptions, too often protected by moddings, closures or FoI exclusions.

  • Comment number 10.

    Glad there's some transparency regarding the use of external suppliers with the BBC... just finished off an audit with a broadcaster abroad and there was an unbelievable amount of leakage.


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