Memorandum submitted by Dr J M Wober
GOVERNANCE AND FUNDING OF BROADCASTING
I enclose a copy of a letter I sent to The Times.
I would be grateful if I could be correctly
informed on the matter of who "owns" the broadcasting
licence. It is my (strong) impression that it does not "belong"
to the BBC and if that is so, it must be wrong if it was the BBC
which moved the contract for collection from the Post Office,
to Capita. Indeed, if it is not the BBC's (owned) licence then
has the transfer of contract been legitimate? If it was the DCMS
which moved the contract, is anybody convinced of the soundness
of the change?
To establish that the BBC is doing the job it
should, we the public need to be shown two kinds of measure (at
a measure of diversity of the programming
that is provided;
a measure of appreciation of programmes
that have been seen.
The former measure does not exist, in a standard
and well understood form.
The second exists (and has done so for three
decades) but results should be published.
It is written into the Broadcasting Act (1990)
that the ITC should carry out research on the effects (if any)
on the public, of programmes broadcast. Not only has the ITC not
done this in the last few years, it has discontinued its support
of the Appreciation Measurement service run by BARB, which can
be used for such Effects Studies. As far as I know, nobody has
queried this drastic shortcoming in the ITC's research responsibilities.
I hope that we may see, in future, a regulator
which will not only act for but also provide sophisticated information
to the public, along the lines indicated above.