Tully condemns Birt-inspired BBC management: Veteran India correspondent resigns

MARK TULLY, the veteran BBC correspondent, yesterday launched a further attack on management style at the corporation after announcing his resignation to the

Independent on Sunday.

He said that attitudes towards consulting the workforce through brochures, staff magazines and public relations-style seminars were wrong. There should be 'a restoration of the good old BBC tradition of friendly communication between staff and managers'.

The highly-regarded South Asia correspondent said there must be a breakdown of the 'them and us' feeling that existed. 'That is very difficult to achieve and only comes about when there is real trust between staff and management,' he told Radio 4's Mediumwave programme.

Mr Tully was highly critical of the White Paper published last week that ensured the BBC's role as a public service broadcaster funded by the licence fee is guaranteed for at least seven years.

The document, seen as an endorsement of Mr Birt's personal vision, also awarded the BBC a new Royal Charter for 10 years from 1 January 1997.

Mr Tully said: 'The White Paper is simply the Government saying: 'Yes, you have done what we asked you to do.' But the BBC has never been about doing what the Government wants it to do.

'I believe the right approach for the BBC, and I hope very much that next time the charter comes round we'll do this, is to go to the public and hopefully build up such a strong case that no politican would dare lay their hands on it.

'I don't think the situation is irretrievable, provided there is a realisation that management has made some mistakes and that there is a need to change the whole style so staff hostility is reduced and trust restored.'

Mr Tully, who claims widespread support from BBC staff for comments he made last year attacking the power given to middle management in the BBC, said his message to Mr Birt was simple: 'Listen, don't just talk.'

Mr Tully, 58, leaves the corporation after 30 years. He said last night that it was no longer possible for him to work there because he was not allowed to defend his stance in public.