According to the BBC annual report and accounts, the number of staff employed by the BBC in each of the last three years is set out in the following table.
Number 2008-09 22,874 2007-08 23,101 2006-07 23,037
Detailed information on the nature of the roles undertaken by BBC staff is not held by my Department.
The Government undertook extensive research on public attitudes to the BBC and the licence fee as part of the Charter review process, which ran from 2003-06. This research was taken into account in determining the current six-year funding settlement, implemented from 1 April 2007.
Under the terms of the BBC's Charter and Agreement, the BBC cannot show commercial advertising on its licence fee-funded channels without the express approval of the Secretary of State. I have neither been asked for nor given such approval.
I regularly receive representations on various aspects of the BBC. Whenever the issue of advertising is raised, my response is that I have no intention of amending the current arrangements.
I last met the Chairman of the BBC Trust on 19 October 2009, when we discussed a range of current issues.
I last met the Director-General of the BBC on 8 March 2010 when he provided a brief summary of the BBC’s Strategy Review, which had been published on 2 March.
According to standard departmental procedure, all ministerial meetings are recorded.
The Government will take all relevant matters into consideration in setting the future level of the licence fee.
Under the terms of the BBC Charter and Agreement, it is the responsibility of the BBC Trust to ensure that the BBC delivers financial efficiency and hold the Executive to account for its performance in delivering value for money.