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Saturday, 4 July 2015

BBC Boss Outlines Plans for "Simpler and Leaner" Organisation

The BBC Director General, Tony Hall, has sent an email to workers outlining his plans for a "simpler and leaner" organisation.

Lord Hall, whose £450,000 annual salary is more than three times that of the Prime Minister, explained how redundancies would be needed as the BBC faced a very difficult situation due to falling TV licence revenues.

Curiously his email made no mention of:
  • £100m wasted on the abandoned Digital Media Initiative. 
  • £25m in fat cat pay-offs. 
  • £33m in redundancy payments to staff subsequently rehired by the BBC. 
  • £3m cost of Nick Pollard's review into Newsnight's dropped investigation on Jimmy Savile.
  • £7m (to date) on Dame Janet Smith's review into the BBC's culture of sexual abuse.
  • £34m spent on taxis since 2012.
It will undoubtedly be the £15,000 a year researchers who end up suffering. Those BBC managers with their noses planted so firmly in the trough, and tongues lapping so adoringly at Lord Hall's crevice, will undoubtedly continue to receive the perks they're so accustomed to.

The full text of Lord Hall's email appears below:
Dear all,

I care deeply about this organisation – and the people in it. That’s why I wanted to share with you, openly and honestly, some big changes we’re making to make the BBC simpler and leaner.

There are two things going on, which make today’s announcements very necessary.

The first goes back to something I said when I came back here. I said I wanted a simpler organisation. It’s what many of you have told me too – and it requires a different approach.

Secondly, we’re facing a very difficult financial situation. Many of you have worked hard to achieve the savings we’ve made already. I know it’s been hard. But there’s more to do. And, before we do anything else that affects our programmes and services, we have to make sure we’re running the BBC as efficiently as possible.

I’m announcing four things – aiming to do just that.

Merging divisions
We’re looking at the number of divisions we need. As a first step, I’ve asked Ralph Rivera, Matthew Postgate and David Gibbons to bring together our teams in Technology, Engineering and Digital. And, that’s not just in the public service, but across Worldwide too. It’s just a start – and, over the next few months, I’ll be working with our directors to see what more we can do.

Cutting out layers
We’ve taken a good look at the structures across the BBC. In some places there are 10 layers between the top and the bottom of the organisation. I think that’s too many – and, in future, we’ll work to a maximum of seven.

Reducing management roles
I’m a huge believer in strong management – management that’s enabling and supports creativity. But the reality is, a simpler organisation, with fewer divisions and layers, will inevitably require fewer senior decision-makers in all parts of the BBC. I know this is hard – but it’s the right thing to do.

Simplifying procedures
Finally, we’re looking at how we run our professional and support areas – by which I mean all the teams, doing things as varied as marketing, finance, legal, HR and communications. They do a vital job for us. We’ll be asking how each area should be structured, how we can simplify, and standardise, the ways we work – looking right across the public service and Worldwide.

These changes will save £50m a year. And, you know as well as I do, that many of those savings will be roles that we close. We estimate over 1,000 jobs will go.

I recognise this is a very tough message. And, I want to make it clear that even though we’ll inevitably be closing posts, it’s not a reflection of the commitment or hard work of the people doing those jobs.

This is about structural change. It’s about doing the right thing – to deliver maximum value to audiences, in a very challenging financial situation.

I want you to know we’ll handle this decently – and fairly. There’ll be more opportunities to discuss all this today and over the coming weeks. And we’ll keep staff informed throughout, before any final decisions are taken.

Best wishes,


Director General

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