VLV on Roger Bolton’s Beeb Watch

Colin Browne, Chairman of VLV, is featured in Roger Bolton’s Beeb Watch podcast following a  recent VLV call to Ofcom and the BBC to improve the way they consult with citizens in light of BBC plans to cut services.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking here. 

You can read a transcript of the interview here. 

VLV is concerned that citizens are not making their voices heard when decisions about the BBC and public service broadcasting are made. There has been a huge reduction in the number of responses to consultations run by the BBC and Ofcom over the past 6 years. We believe this is due to the fact that since 2017 the BBC and Ofcom have not publicised consultations as widely as the BBC Trust used to, so the public are unaware that they could have a say in the future direction of BBC strategy. 

Before 2017 thousands of responses were sent in response to consultations  which were advertised on TV, radio and online. In 2015, for example, more than 40,000 responses were sent in to a BBC Trust consultation on Charter Review. Now BBC and Ofcom consultations attract far fewer responses – 25 were sent in response to the last BBC consultation which was about changes to the iPlayer. 

Also, before 2017 if the BBC wanted to close down a service, a consultation was held, allowing licence fee payers to make their views known. That rule no longer applies – the BBC can now close down a service without consulting anyone, which is worrying when there are plans in the pipeline to move content off broadcast channels onto platforms only available via the internet. 

You can read the full press release which sets out VLV’s concerns here. 

VLV is funded through voluntary donations and membership fees. We are very grateful for the support of our members without which we would not be able to continue representing the interests of citizens in broadcasting policy. If you are interested in becoming a VLV member or in supporting VLV in any other way, please visit our membership page to find out more.