BBC workforce has grown in two years despite financial cuts

THE BBC workforce is larger than two years ago, despite cuts imposed by the corporation since 2012, the annual report has revealed.

BBC annual report has been published. Picture: Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images
BBC annual report has been published. Picture: Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images

Although the latest figures show that headcount has been reduced by 54 since last year, bringing the total to 18,920, this is higher than the figure for 2013/2014, which stood at 18,647.

The BBC has closed 437 posts between April 1 2015 and March 31 2016, with 278 cut as part of the Delivering Quality First programme launched in 2012, which aimed to identify ongoing savings at the corporation.

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While 437 posts were cut, 110 more roles were created at myBBC and iPlayer, as well as 56 posts in information security and technical positions and 39 apprentice, trainee and graduate roles.

Some 175 roles were established or transferred and brought inhouse as opposed to being contracted out.

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The pay of top celebrities has been cut by £8.39 million to a total of £200 million, with seven stars earning more than £500,000, down from nine last year.

The senior manager pay bill has been cut by £5 million for a 40% reduction since 2009 to ensure a “lean and simple” BBC, the report said. The corporation reduced senior manager numbers to 356 from 401 last year and 640 in 2009.

The senior manager pay bill now stands at £47 million, with 45 fewer senior managers this year compared with 2014/2015.

Director-general Lord Hall singled out shows such as War And Peace, Sherlock, The Night Manager, Happy Valley and Doctor Foster as distinctive dramas that have “given us all many hours of unforgettable storytelling this year”.

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“A more open BBC means a leaner, more transparent organisation - with fewer divisions and simpler structures. This is not just to cut costs and live within the new licence fee settlement, but also to create a place where creativity can flourish,” he said in the report.

Lord Hall acknowledged that creating an open BBC would “not be easy” and would entail “unpicking structures and ways of working that have built up over generations”.

The report highlighted that the corporation still needs to save an additional £800 million by 2022, which it said is due to the impact of the licence fee funding settlement reached with the Government last year, as well as to fund super-inflation in areas such as sports and drama and cover costs of the new charter proposals.

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The current 10-year royal charter period is set to run until December 31 this year, when a new 11-year charter will be agreed. In May this year the Government laid out its suggestions for the new charter period in the White Paper.

The BBC’s new director of strategy and education, James Purnell, said in the annual report: “It is now of vital importance that we are able to ensure that the positive intentions of the White Paper are clearly transferred to the new Royal Charter and Agreement.”

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride is the top-selling title of the year for BBC Worldwide and was licensed to 216 territories. The most watched programme on BBC television was The Great British Bake Off final with 15 million viewers.

On radio, BBC 6 Music continued to expand, becoming the UK’s biggest digital-only station.