Thousands spent on BBC 'bonding' courses

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The Independent Online

Dozens of senior BBC managers are being sent on four-day workshops in luxury hotels in order to improve their "emotional intelligence" and turn them into nicer people in the office.

The licence-fee funded courses are estimated to cost the BBC many of thousands of pounds, and have annoyed more junior managers whose emotional intelligence has been sorely tested by recent cost-cutting bans on taxis.

The "self-assessment and emotional intelligence" courses allow the managers to share experiences of their troubled childhoods and to bond with each other in an intense and intimate environment.

BBC insiders say that the feedback from managers who have attended the course so far has been positive, and that a wave of emails has now been sent out across the BBC to recruit volunteers for two more courses to be run this autumn.

"It sounds better than working doesn't it?" commented a BBC producer who is working demanding late shifts, has not been invited on the course and yet is convinced that his emotional intelligence would benefit from professional help.

The BBC argues that the emotional intelligence courses are simply good management practice. Overall, the corporation spends around £2m a year on management training, and regularly sends top managers on business school courses in America costing in excess of £20,000 a time.