In a post-truth world, there is a hankering to hear from a trusted voiceby Tony Hall / December 7, 2016 / Leave a comment
This year the BBC’s audiences sent a clear signal about the kind of corporation they want. Nearly 200,000 made their voices heard in the public consultation on the renewal of our Royal Charter. The government described the response as “unprecedented,” second only to their consultation on gay marriage. The message was simple: the BBC’s public service mission—to inform, educate and entertain—is as pertinent today as it has ever been. Our audiences want us to do what we have always done best, but they want us to do it even better, and in new ways.
This is our challenge for the years ahead. And it comes at a moment when a strong, confident BBC has arguably never had a more important role to play for Britain—at home and around the world.
It is now approaching four years since I returned to the BBC as Director-General. Throughout the Charter renewal process, and with the essential support of our audiences and programme makers, we were able to make a strong case for the BBC. But first of all, we had to win the right to be heard.
We had to take a long look at our culture. The public’s faith in the corporation was profoundly shaken by the Savile enquiry. The BBC badly failed the survivors of abuse. Thanks to the challenging and important review by Janet Smith, we have the policies we need as safeguards for the future. And we continue to take every possible step to make the BBC more open and collaborative.
We had to make tough decisions on our efficiency. In response to failings over executive pay-offs, excessive bureaucracy and stifling management layers, we have delivered a programme of reform. We have reduced management, taken money away from support areas to direct it towards creativity, and brought down overheads to industry-leading levels: just 6 per cent of our total costs.
And all throughout, we had to keep delivering the world-class programmes, content and services that together the country chooses more than 150m times each day. From the very best impartial, independent news and analysis to the very biggest global sporting events. From World Service radio across the globe to BBC iPlayer.
And when it comes to programmes, instead of being the year the BBC was distracted…