04 July 2019
The BBC’s Internal Audit team has recommended a major review of checks and balances into how it commissions programmes from production companies either owned by or associated with BBC employees.
DUP Spokesman on International Development and Cabinet Office
East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell first raised concerns in 2016, which led him to have several high level meetings within the BBC before the National Audit Office carried out their investigation.
Welcoming the recommendations, Mr Campbell said,
“In 2016 I first raised my concerns about a lack of transparency in the commissioning of programmes by the BBC in Northern Ireland. In particular, I was concerned by how certain companies, associated with BBC employees, were securing commissions each year worth hundreds of thousands of pounds with little accountability.
These recommendations by the BBC Internal Auditors are significant but we have more work to do to help rebuild public trust in the BBC.
These recommendations were revealed through a review by the National Audit Office which I sought. However it is clear from conversations with both the BBC and the NAO, that there is significant space for more external scrutiny of how taxpayers’ money is spent by the BBC.
For example, when the NAO sought the cost of a series broadcast five years ago, it was told that it was somewhere between £5,000 and £200,000 per hour. This is a ridiculous range.
This major review has to be completed by the end of July. I will be seeking another meeting with BBC management in London and a copy of the review.
Where public money is being spent, there must be maximum openness and transparency.
Many people thought we wouldn't get presenter's salaries into the public domain. It took a long time but we did get there eventually. On these particular issues where there is a need for openness and transparency, we're not completely over the line but more progress has been made.”