Letter: Labour's way to reform the BBC

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Sir: Your call for an independent consumer broadcasting council to provide for proper public consultation in the decision-making of the BBC ('BBC agrees on news and sport service for Radio 5', 12 October) is but one of the policy proposals put forward by the Labour Party earlier this year in our BBC Green Paper response.

A new Viewers' and Listeners' Council would provide a distinct voice for licence-fee payers, conduct research and, ideally, combine the roles of the Broadcasting Standards Council and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission. However, such a council would need to complemented by further measures if the BBC were to be made truly accountable to the


Principal among these would be: the replacement of the BBC's Royal Charter by an Act of Parliament; the adoption of a detailed covenant spelling out the BBC's obligations to the licence-fee payers; the replacement of the Board of Governors with a board of trustees, whose duty would be to regulate the BBC in accordance with the terms of the covenant and who would be appointed only after public examination by the National Heritage Select Committee.

This complete package of democratic reforms of the BBC would prevent the recurrence of the sort of disregard for proper public consultation that we have witnessed in the decision-making over the future of Radio 5.

Yours sincerely,


MP for Cynon Valley (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

12 October

The writer is Shadow Heritage Secretary.