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Cover of NAO rept: The BBC's management of strategic contracts

The BBC’s management of strategic contracts with the private sector

“The Trust welcomes this report from the NAO into the BBC’s strategic contracts. We are pleased that the NAO found that the BBC has exceeded its own savings targets for these contracts. However, we recognise that there is more to be done to ensure consistency in the way the BBC manages large contracts. The BBC Executive has now set out its response to the NAO’s recommendations. The Trust has required the Executive to provide an action plan and timetable for this response to be implemented.”

Tim Burr, Comptroller and Auditor General, said:

“The BBC has kept its spending on strategic contracts in line with its forecasts and exceeded its savings targets. It now needs to concentrate on securing the levels of service for which it has paid – as well as achieving greater innovation – to provide the BBC and licence fee payers with value for money.”

The NAO review looked at whether the BBC is securing the service and financial objectives the Corporation outlined when it entered into high value, individual strategic contracts and whether adequate steps have been taken to maximise the value for money of its portfolio of strategic contracts.

The report found that the BBC spent £715 million on strategic contracts in 2007-08, in line with forecasts, and exceeded its savings target of £135 million by £22 million. The BBC has secured the contractually agreed minimum levels of service for 91 per cent of the indicators specified when it entered its strategic contracts where those indicators are linked to payment and 82 per cent of performance indicators not linked to payment. However, the BBC has not secured as much innovation by the contractors as it expected on some contracts. The BBC has not, therefore, achieved the full range or level of performance specified in its strategic contracts.

Overall, across five contracts examined, the BBC’s approach to relationship management was above average compared to other organisations in the public and private sectors. Although the BBC has examples of good practice in contract management its contract and relationship management with its private sector suppliers is variable. The Corporation needs consistently to follow best practice.

The report has identified a series of recommendations to improve the management of strategic contracts at the BBC.

The Trust welcomes the work that the NAO has done on identifying ways in which the BBC Executive can improve its contact management. The Trust notes that the report acknowledges the formation of the BBC’s Strategic Relationships Board, which will share issues, best practice and become a focal point for reporting. The Trust also expects the BBC Executive to undertake a more robust annual review of contracts and introduce greater senior management involvement in underperforming contracts. The Trust has asked the Executive to prepare an action plan and timetable and report back progress.

The Trust supports the BBC Executive’s progress in developing the expertise of its contract managers and the development of a set of core competencies for contract management. The Trust also supports the BBC Executive’s plans to develop a structured approach to the professional development of contract managers.

The Trust notes that the BBC Executive has completed an audit with JCI and currently has audits with Siemens and Capita TVL in progress. Additionally the BBC Executive routinely interrogates data from contracts suppliers and has arrangements to see annual cost data. The Trust supports open book audits whenever appropriate.

The Trust welcomes the BBC Executive’s undertaking that the Strategic Relationships Board will undertake a review of all the performance measures across the BBC’s portfolio of contracts.

The Trust notes that, although the BBC Executive has methods of ensuring performance across the portfolio of contracts, performance is not systematically validated against all performance indicators as a matter of routine. The Trust welcomes the Executive’s undertaking to introduce a process of sample validation across the key contracts.

Media contacts:

Ben Wiseman
Communications Officer, BBC Trust
t: 020 7208 9558
m: 07730 194 019
f: 020 7208 9670

Phil Groves
Press Officer, National Audit Office
t: 020 7798 5339
m: 07770 678477

Published:
18 Mar 2009
Cover of NAO rept: The BBC's management of strategic contracts

The BBC’s management of strategic contracts with the private sector

“The Trust welcomes this report from the NAO into the BBC’s strategic contracts. We are pleased that the NAO found that the BBC has exceeded its own savings targets for these contracts. However, we recognise that there is more to be done to ensure consistency in the way the BBC manages large contracts. The BBC Executive has now set out its response to the NAO’s recommendations. The Trust has required the Executive to provide an action plan and timetable for this response to be implemented.”

Tim Burr, Comptroller and Auditor General, said:

“The BBC has kept its spending on strategic contracts in line with its forecasts and exceeded its savings targets. It now needs to concentrate on securing the levels of service for which it has paid – as well as achieving greater innovation – to provide the BBC and licence fee payers with value for money.”

The NAO review looked at whether the BBC is securing the service and financial objectives the Corporation outlined when it entered into high value, individual strategic contracts and whether adequate steps have been taken to maximise the value for money of its portfolio of strategic contracts.

The report found that the BBC spent £715 million on strategic contracts in 2007-08, in line with forecasts, and exceeded its savings target of £135 million by £22 million. The BBC has secured the contractually agreed minimum levels of service for 91 per cent of the indicators specified when it entered its strategic contracts where those indicators are linked to payment and 82 per cent of performance indicators not linked to payment. However, the BBC has not secured as much innovation by the contractors as it expected on some contracts. The BBC has not, therefore, achieved the full range or level of performance specified in its strategic contracts.

Overall, across five contracts examined, the BBC’s approach to relationship management was above average compared to other organisations in the public and private sectors. Although the BBC has examples of good practice in contract management its contract and relationship management with its private sector suppliers is variable. The Corporation needs consistently to follow best practice.

The report has identified a series of recommendations to improve the management of strategic contracts at the BBC.

The Trust welcomes the work that the NAO has done on identifying ways in which the BBC Executive can improve its contact management. The Trust notes that the report acknowledges the formation of the BBC’s Strategic Relationships Board, which will share issues, best practice and become a focal point for reporting. The Trust also expects the BBC Executive to undertake a more robust annual review of contracts and introduce greater senior management involvement in underperforming contracts. The Trust has asked the Executive to prepare an action plan and timetable and report back progress.

The Trust supports the BBC Executive’s progress in developing the expertise of its contract managers and the development of a set of core competencies for contract management. The Trust also supports the BBC Executive’s plans to develop a structured approach to the professional development of contract managers.

The Trust notes that the BBC Executive has completed an audit with JCI and currently has audits with Siemens and Capita TVL in progress. Additionally the BBC Executive routinely interrogates data from contracts suppliers and has arrangements to see annual cost data. The Trust supports open book audits whenever appropriate.

The Trust welcomes the BBC Executive’s undertaking that the Strategic Relationships Board will undertake a review of all the performance measures across the BBC’s portfolio of contracts.

The Trust notes that, although the BBC Executive has methods of ensuring performance across the portfolio of contracts, performance is not systematically validated against all performance indicators as a matter of routine. The Trust welcomes the Executive’s undertaking to introduce a process of sample validation across the key contracts.

Media contacts:

Ben Wiseman
Communications Officer, BBC Trust
t: 020 7208 9558
m: 07730 194 019
f: 020 7208 9670

Phil Groves
Press Officer, National Audit Office
t: 020 7798 5339
m: 07770 678477

Published:
18 Mar 2009

Financial relationships with third sector organisations: A Decision Support Tool

The Decision Support Tool for public bodies in England provides practical support to officials who are involved in making, or advising on, ‘real-life’ decisions about the design of appropriate funding relationships with third sector organisations.  It takes into account such issues as programme objectives, funding channels, duration of award, full cost recovery, EU state aid … Read more

Published:
8 Mar 2009
Building capacity in the third sector

Building the capacity of the Third Sector

“Frontline third sector organisations provide important services to the general public. ChangeUp has made good headway in improving support for these organisations while Futurebuilders loans have improved the potential of some to win public service contracts. But basic flaws in the administration of both programmes have reduced their beneficial impact to date. Value for money will depend on whether the steps now being taken successfully address these problems.”

Published:
6 Feb 2009