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Monday, 10 July, 2000, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Job losses in BBC shake-up
BBC Director-General Greg Dyke
Some 900 jobs are being axed in the latest stage of BBC Director-General Greg Dyke's programme to change the way the corporation is run.

Under the One BBC review, Mr Dyke has pledged to cut out layers of bureaucracy from the corporation and spend the maximum on making high-quality programmes.

Change can be disconcerting, but it is essential

Greg Dyke

Announcing the results of the One BBC internal review, Mr Dyke said he was confident that the BBC could hit its target of increasing the proportion of its income spent directly on programmes and services.

He expected this would grow from 76% in 1999 to 85% by 2004 or earlier.

But while he told staff he appreciated the "uncertainty" and "upheaval the changes would bring, he said efficiency measures would mean up to 900 job losses over the next three years.

Changes to the structure of the BBC will also help it meet its government-set target of making savings and increasing revenue to a total of 1.1bn over the next six years.

Mr Dyke said his aim was to create a "a flatter, more coherent and more co-operative BBC".

"Overall we are now confident that these new changes...will give us a great deal more money to spend on our programmes and services over the next five or six years, something like 750m over the period."

Critics attacked Mr Dyke's predecessor Sir John Birt for spending millions on external consultants, and accused him of strangling creativity with a top-heavy management style.

Union concern

BBC Broadcast and BBC Production both disappear under the shake-up, which will create four new programming divisions: drama; entertainment and children; factual and learning; sport and news.

Internal competition is being reduced in a bid to improve efficiency and avoid duplication.

News of the structural changes comes a week after the BBC announced changes to BBC Resources Ltd, which are likely to lead to around 200 job losses and increased commercial revenue to the corporation.

Broadcasting and entertainment union Bectu said it welcomed more money being spent on programme-making, but said it was essential the BBC dealt with redundancies in a fair and consistent manner.

Bectu assistant general secretary Gerry Morrissey said: "We want to make sure that those people [made redundant] are treated as fairly as - and no more favourably - than those who have lost their jobs over the last ten years.

"By that we mean early retirements for people over 50, the same redundancy settlements as before and a six-month window for people to be retrained and possibly redeployed."

Mr Dyke aims for One BBC to be fully implemented by October.

He said: "As I have said before I recognise that change can be disconcerting, but it is essential, otherwise we will simply end up managing our own decline.

He told staff: "Please bear with us because the ambition is sound; to make us more cost-effective and agile, more responsive and relevant to our audiences and to allow us to focus our energies on creating outstanding programmes and services."

Mr Dyke also gave an assurance that those losing their jobs would be treated "fairly and properly".

Major changes

Up to 70% of the predicted savings will be made through restructuring of the BBC's six professional services divisions: finance; property and business affairs; strategy; public policy; marketing and communications; and human resources and internal communications.

Other major aspects of the changes unveiled are:

  • Speeding up commissioning and improving ideas development in entertainment, drama, factual and the arts.

  • New departments within the BBC's factual and learning division: Documentaries and investigations; leisure and factual entertainment; and specialist factual programmes.

  • Creation of a new head of religion and ethics to work across the BBC.

  • A new department created from a combination of the existing factual and learning and BBC News divisions to make dedicated business programmes.

  • A new, streamlined base for drama and entertainment, with a new innovation unit to be known as Fictionlab.

  • Radio division to be renamed to incorporate overall responsibility for musical output, which will be represented on the BBC's executive board for the first time.

  • TV classical music and live events team will join the traditional Proms team to create a new department.

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    See also:

    05 Apr 00 | UK
    Greg gets to grips with BBC
    28 Jan 00 | UK
    Dyke's daunting challenge
    30 Jan 00 | UK
    Dyke pledges BBC shake-up
    03 Apr 00 | UK
    BBC jobs go in shake-up
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