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Volume 684: debated on Thursday 13 July 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the editorial independence of the BBC would be compromised if the National Audit Office were to be given access to its accounts; and, if so, in what way.[HL6700]

This Government, like their predecessors, take the view that to bring the BBC fully within the remit of the National Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee would risk undermining the corporation's editorial independence. While NAO and PAC scrutiny might formally be confined to financial and value-for-money issues, it would in practice be impossible to preserve a clear distinction between such matters and decisions involving editorial or artistic judgment.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How the BBC is to be made directly accountable to the licence fee payer.[HL6701]

The BBC Trust will set out its plans for direct public engagement in a new contract of accountability with licence fee payers. The trust will ensure that its programme of engagement includes a wide range of contact methods to enable it to represent the interests of the full scope of licence fee payers across the country. Examples of engagement techniques can be found in the Green Paper A Strong BBC, Independent of Government and the White Paper A public service for all: the BBC in the digital age.