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Focus On Series

The Efficiency of Radio Production at the BBC

Audited Entities

  • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Audit Objective(s)

  • Assessed whether the BBC has effective procedures for delivering efficiency in radio production.

Audit Scope

The review focused on:

  • whether the BBC makes use of cost comparisons to identify the scope for efficiency gains;
  • the efficiency gains the BBC is planning to deliver; and
  • whether the BBC assesses the impact of efficiency initiatives on performance.

The report covered the ten Network stations and the six Nations stations. It did not evaluate matters relating to content and target audiences, which are matters of editorial judgement for the BBC.

Audit Criteria

  • Not available.

Main Audit Findings

  • The BBC has explored its data on the costs of radio production for some programme types but has not made full use of its data to identify the scope for potential efficiency savings across its Network and Nations stations.
  • Without evaluating the effect of proposed savings initiatives using its performance measurement framework the BBC will not be able to demonstrate it is delivering efficiency gains.
  • While each station has identified efficiency initiatives there is a need for a more systematic sharing of ideas and good practice.
  • The BBC does not have arrangements with commercial radio stations for assessing its radio production efficiency relative to them.

Audit Recommendations

The BBC should:

  • compare the costs of comparable programmes to highlight areas where there may be scope for further efficiency savings.
  • identify the reasons for cost variations between programmes, establish whether variations are due to differences in editorial ambition or efficiency and assess the scope for further efficiencies.
  • inform guide price ranges for programme genres by analysis of actual cost data.
  • assess and document the likely and actual overall impact of efficiency savings initiatives on each of its public value criteria (reach, quality, impact, and value for money).
  • complete the work it is now doing to establish indicators and baselines for measuring performance against each of the public value criteria.
  • use the existing Radio Network to identify and spread good practice in radio production efficiency.
  • explore with commercial radio stations how they might establish benchmarking arrangements to identify where and how savings can be made.