Exclusive: ‘Secret tier’ of highly paid employees saves BBC executives from job cull

Increasing staff numbers just below management level has allowed the corporation to claim that it is slashing its managerial pay bill

Media Editor

The BBC has been accused of exaggerating the extent of its “bonfire” of senior executives by creating a secret tier of highly paid employees just below management level.

The “sleight of hand” has allowed the corporation to claim that it is slashing its managerial pay bill, while at the same time paying inflated wages to a growing group of staff just below the management threshold.

During the last four years the number of BBC staff classified at Band 11 – the the highest grade below management level – has steadily grown from 638 to 734, an increase of 15 per cent. 

Freedom of Information requests revealed that more than 60 per cent of staff in Band 11 are being paid an above-the-ceiling figure for that tier, with average salaries of £78,214.

The number of Band 11 staff paid above the ceiling for their grade is 456 out of 734. The pay scale for Band 11 should range from £44,327 to £70,167 (outside London) or £73,883 (inside London). The total amount paid to staff in Band 11 rose from £54.43m in the year to March 2010 to £65.48m in the year to March 2013, more than 20 per cent.

The growth in this senior tier has come despite the fact that the BBC has introduced cuts across the organisation in response to the freezing of the licence fee. Rank-and-file BBC staff are unhappy at what is seen as a bulging tier of highly-paid senior colleagues.

“There are often more people in the newsroom issuing instructions than there are people to carry them out,” said one BBC journalist.

Helen Goodman, the shadow media minister, said: “It’s really important that the BBC’s systems are transparent and what people want is more resources going into programme making and less into bureaucracy.”

Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said: “It is clear that at the same time as publicly congratulating themselves on their efforts to slim down the managerial rump at the BBC, behind the scenes they’ve simply displaced individuals into a non-management tier, allowing them to keep their generous salary. It’s managerial sleight of hand.”

The BBC has said it paid £50.8m in salary to 412 senior managers, which represented a 3.5 per cent reduction between August 2012 and August 2013.

A BBC spokesman said:  “The total reduction of BBC staff cannot be judged through the prism of a single, prominently specialist grade at the BBC when the reality is that between March 2010 and March 2013 BBC headcount was reduced by over 1,400 and the pay bill by close to £58m.”

He added: “There are audit measures in place to stop us moving individuals from Senior Manager (SM) grades to Grade 11 and counting this as SM reductions.” He made clear that  these audits prevent the corporation claiming any such changes as cuts to the senior management.

The spokesman continued: “The individuals in Grade 11 are predominantly senior specialists who possess a skillset that commands a higher market premium, or in some cases, senior contributors to BBC content. These individuals enable the BBC to deliver high quality content for audiences but they are not senior managers who lead within the BBC. “

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Professional Sales Trainee - B2B

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: First things first - for the av...

Recruitment Genius: Account Executive - Graduate / Entry Level

£22000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital advertising infras...

Guru Careers: PR Account Director / SAM

£50 - 60k (DOE) + Benefits & Bonus: Guru Careers: A PR Account Director / SAM ...

Guru Careers: Research Analyst / Business Insight Analyst

£32 - £37K + extensive benefits: Guru Careers: Research Analyst / Business Ins...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?