BBC Trust Chairman Lord Patten has revealed that not only will executive pay be a priority issue but also that he will go as far as to see whether the BBC fundamentally unbalances British broadcasting.
In the first salvo against vested interest at the corporation, and grabbing most of the headlines and speaking on flagship weekend politics programme The Andrew Marr Show, Lord Patten admitted the BBC had to work to regain the UK public’s trust in paring back pay scales which he regarding as excessive at senior management level.
He condemned the current pay grades as seeming “to fly in the face of public service ethos" and described the issue as “one of the most toxic reasons for the public's lack of sympathy with the BBC as an institution.
Yet, receiving less publicity but which could be more important to the long term future of the BBC, according to reports in the Financial Times, Patten has also asked UK broadcasting and telecoms regulator Ofcom to take a lead role in deciding whether the corporation’s future plans could stifle commercial rivals or distort UK markets.
TE FT suggests that in his forthcoming first speech as chairman, Chris Patten will propose tightening limitations on the commercial activities of the BBC. These new plans will likely rule out privatisation of commercial division BBC Worldwide but will consider other market-impact assessments, into the effect of the BBC’s plans on broadcast rivals who perennially complain of the corporation's undue influence in the broadcasting industry.
One prime example of this has been the BBC’s involvement in the YouView premium VOD consortium and it is rumoured that the Trust Chairman would like to give the regular the power to veto such involvement.