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Ofcom could oversee complaints about BBC

A report from the House of Lords Communications Committee says the BBC Trust should consider letting Ofcom regulate the corporation when it comes to impartiality and accuracy.

The findings of the Lords’ inquiry have been welcomed by RadioCentre, the body which represents commercial radio, who say the move would play a key part in better holding the BBC to account.

The report found that the BBC’s complaints process was ‘convoluted and overly complicated’ and it was therefore difficult for viewers and listeners to know where to go to complain. It concluded that the BBC Trust and media regulator Ofcom should ‘work together to resolve the regulation of impartiality and accuracy so that the BBC is no longer its own judge and jury’.

Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive of RadioCentre,  told RadioToday.co.uk: ” It makes great sense for Ofcom to assume responsibility for impartiality and accuracy complaints relating to the BBC, as it does with all other broadcasters. The report’s emphasis on a transparent complaints process for the BBC’s commercial competitors is also welcome, as this is an essential means of holding the BBC to account.”

The committee report also identifed an ‘overly bureaucratic’ compliance culture within the BBC, and called for clarity on the role of the Non-Executives on the BBC Executive Board.

Conservative peer Lord Inglewood, who chairs the committee, said: “The BBC needs to be accountable to those who use and pay for it, at the same time as having the independence of its journalism, broadcasting and creativity protected from outside political interference. The new Chairman of the BBC, Lord Patten of Barnes, is set to review issues of BBC governance this summer and we urge him to consider our recommendations as part of his review.”

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