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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
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

Ashdown Group: Analyst Programmer (Filemaker Pro/ SQL) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days, pension, private medical : Ashdown Group: A highly...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm - London

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

Sauce Recruitment: Financial Accountant -Home Entertainment

£200 - £250 per day: Sauce Recruitment: 6 month contract (Initially)A global e...

Sauce Recruitment: Financial Accountant -Home Entertainment

£200 - £250 per day: Sauce Recruitment: 6 month contract (Initially)A global e...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project