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How the Department for Culture, Media and Sport assessed the BBC’s efficiency as part of the licence fee settlement

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, today reported that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has adequate evidence to assess the BBC’s efficiency as part of the Department’s consideration of the next licence fee settlement.

As part of the process of setting the level of the television licence fee from April 2007, the Department has to make an assumption about the level of efficiency savings the BBC can deliver. The level of efficiency savings will influence the level of the new licence fee.

In July 2006, the Secretary of State sought the views of the National Audit Office on whether the Department had enough evidence to assess the level of efficiency the BBC could make. The NAO agreed to report on whether the Department had reasonable grounds on which to base its assessment, recognising that determining how efficient an organisation is and can be is not a precise science, and, ultimately, is a matter of judgement.

Licence fee payers are naturally anxious to know their money is being used as efficiently as possible. I am satisfied that the Department has enough information at its disposal to take a view on the BBC’s efficiency when determining the level of the next licence fee settlement.

Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO

Notes for Editors

  1. Press notices and reports are available from the date of publication on the NAO website, which is at www.nao.org.uk. Hard copies can be obtained from The Stationery Office on 0845 702 3474.
  2. The Comptroller and Auditor General, Sir John Bourn, is the head of the National Audit Office which employs some 850 staff. He and the NAO are totally independent of Government. He certifies the accounts of all Government departments and a wide range of other public sector bodies; and he has statutory authority to report to Parliament on the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which departments and other bodies have used their resources.

PN: 03/07