Entertainment & Arts

BBC's director general Tony Hall 'accountable to no-one', say MPs

Tony Hall
Image caption MPs say Lord Hall "operates with too high a degree of independence"

The BBC's director general Tony Hall is "effectively accountable to no-one", a new report by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee has claimed.

The report is calling for a radical overhaul of the corporation's governance, and recommends the abolition of the BBC Trust.

It said Tony Hall "operates with too high a degree of independence".

The MPs have called for the BBC Board to be reformed with the addition of an independent Chair.

The BBC Trust, currently chaired by Rona Fairhead, came into effect following the 2006 Royal Charter Review, replacing the Board of Governors.

It is independent of BBC management, and its stated aim is to make decisions in the best interests of licence fee payers.

The Committee said the Chair of a reformed Board should be a "significant figure, ideally with acknowledged experience in managing large organisations".

The new Board would "support the director general in streamlining the organisation and cutting costs".

It would also "make it clearer where responsibilities lie, and cut down some of the confusion of purpose and bureaucracy that have undermined the existing governance arrangements for the BBC".

The report's other recommendations include a clearer boundary between the World Service and BBC World News, in particular relating to allocation of resources.

It was also suggested the BBC might help "sustain local news coverage" by "placing apprentices from the BBC's training schemes with local media outlets to help with their newsgathering".

In response to the report a spokesperson for the BBC Trust issued a statement:

"We welcome the committee's endorsement of the Trust's proposals in 2015 for substantial reform of the BBC's governance - including the creation of a unitary board and strong independent regulation, specific to the BBC."

The BBC itself also released a statement, which said it "supports the committee's assertion that the BBC's independence should be protected by taking it out of the political cycle, and agree with its proposal for an 11 or 12 year charter.

"Like the committee, we think the BBC should be externally regulated - we believe that a unitary board would be good for the BBC and strengthen accountability."

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