The BBC Trust has warned the BBC to improve its relationship with online indie suppliers to improve its transparency and has expressed doubts about the effectiveness of the current quota system.
The Trust has given BBC execs three months to carry out a review of the way in which it manages its relationships with external suppliers, following calls for clarity about its strategy from indies.
The Trust did find that the BBC is hitting its target of ordering at least 25% of eligible online services from indies but said substantial changes were needed to make it clear the way in which it commissions online orders to make it easier for indies to win work.
There are also doubts about the current quota system with a lack of clarity about how it should deliver value to licence fee payers. The BBC will be expected to explore how the current quota should evolve.
BBC Trustee Rotha Johnston, who led the review, said changes had been made by the BBC but further action was required.
“Audiences tell us that they highly value BBC Online. The independent sector clearly has a role to play here and we are pleased that the BBC has delivered the online quota each year,” said Johnston.
“However, when it comes to the way the BBC manages its relationships with external suppliers, quotas only tell half the story. While some improvements have been made in recent months, the Executive must urgently re-evaluate its processes to make sure the 25 % quota works in spirit as well as in the letter, particularly in light of the new strategy.”
Earlier this week the BBC’s Future Media and Technology head Erik Huggers announced he would leave the broadcaster in February, prompting his role to be split. Chief technology officer John Linwood will oversee a Technology division with Ralph Rivera promoted to director of Future Media.
The moves follow the cutting of 360 jobs, as BBC Online downsizes by 25%, with an ongoing multiplatform shake-up seeing a new management layer being put in place for Knowledge & Learning and TV & iPlayer.