BBC Trust

BBC Trust

The BBC Trust is a body that oversees the BBC, being independent of BBC management and external bodies. Along with an Executive Board, the Trust took over the role of the old Board of Governors on 1 January 2007.

The Trust was established by the Royal Charter for the BBC which came into effect on 1 January 2007:

In summary, the main roles of the Trust are in setting the overall strategic direction of the BBC, including its priorities, and in exercising a general oversight of the work of the Executive Board. The Trust will perform these roles in the public interest, particularly the interest of licence fee payers. — BBC Royal Charter (2006)cite web
url =
title = BBC Royal Charter
author = Department for Culture, Media and Sport (on behalf of Elizabeth II)
date = 2006-09-19
format = PDF
accessdate = 2007-03-03


The Royal Charter established that the Trust should have twelve trustees, including a Chair, a Vice-Chair and a member for each of the nations of the United Kingdom. The Trust currently comprises:

*Sir Michael Lyons, Chair, who has held a number of executive and non-executive media and local government positions
*Dr Chitra Bharucha, Vice-Chair, a former consultant haematologist who now chairs General Medical Council panels that decide on the fitness of doctors to practise medicine.
*Dermot Gleeson, former governor, reappointed 1 November 2004 for a second term
*Richard Tait CBE, former governor, first appointed 1 August 2004
*Jeremy Peat, the Trustee for Scotland and former governor, first appointed 1 January 2005
*Diane Coyle, an economist, member of the Competition Commission and former Economics Editor of "The Independent"
*Alison Hastings, the Trustee for England and a former regional newspaper editor
*Dame Patricia Hodgson, a former Chief Executive of the Independent Television Commission
*Rotha Johnston CBE, the Trustee for Northern Ireland and an independent businesswoman
*Janet Lewis-Jones, the Trustee for Wales
*David Liddiment, a former Director of Programmes at ITV
*Mehmuda Pritchard, a solicitor and Independent Police Complaints Commissioner since 2004

The original trustees, three former governors and eight new members, were announced by Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, in October 2006. [cite web
title = Press Release: "New BBC Trust to represent the public interest"
url =
author = BBC
date = 2006-10-12
accessdate= 2006-11-28
] At the time of the announcement Michael Grade, then Chairman of the Governors, was to become Chairman of the Trust. After his move to become Executive Chairman of ITV in November 2006, Chitra Bharucha, then Vice-Chair, became the Acting Chair,cite web
title = Press Release: "Michael Grade resigns as BBC Chairman"
url =
author = BBC
date = 2006-11-28
accessdate= 2006-11-28
] with Michael Lyons taking up the position from 1 May 2007. [cite web
url =
title = Press release: "Sir Michael Lyons appointed BBC Chairman"
author = BBC Trust
date = 2007-04-05
accessdate = 2007-04-10

Trustees serve for a four year term, after which they may seek a further and final term on completion of their first. Members of the former Board of Governors continue their existing terms.

Remuneration of Trustees

The table below states the remuneration for trustees of the BBC Trust as released in the Annual Report and Accounts 2007/2008. [cite web
url =
title = Annual Report and Accounts 2007/2008
author = BBC Trust
date = 2008-06-19
accessdate = 2008-07-31

The Trust's work

In October 2007, the Trust approved the BBC's strategic direction for the next six years, demanding a high quality and more distinctive BBC.

The Trust has approved several new services, including the iPlayer, HDTV and the Gaelic Digital Service. The Trust is due to consider a proposal to launch a new local video service later in 2008. The Trust has also recently demanded that the BBC makes more programmes outside of London.

In May 2008 the Trust published its review of the BBC's website (, criticising the service for financial mismanagement, including a £36 million overspend. The departure of Ashley Highfield, Director of the BBC's technology department has been linked to the findings of the review. In June 2008, the Trust was highly critical of the BBC's news reporting of issues in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Trust was heavily criticised in the popular press for its review of the amount the BBC pays for "top talent" for failing to answer whether stars like Jonathon Ross and Graham Norton were worth their large licence fee funded salaries. Ross is thought to earn £6 million each year.


Trustees were subject to severe press criticism in February 2008 after it emerged four Trustees had hosted a group of "opinion formers and stakeholders" at the Wimbledon tennis tournament, at a cost of over £20,000 of licence fee payers' money. The Trust members were vice-chairman Chitra Bharucha, Dermot Gleeson, Jeremy Peat and David Liddiment.

The Trust has also admitted that Sir Michael Lyons, the Trust chairman, claimed £13,000 in expenses between May and September 2007. This included £2,500 in taxi fares – even though he is provided with £25,000 annually towards the cost of a car and chauffeur.

The Trust Unit

The Trust is supported by a team of around 60 staff, known as the Trust Unit. These staff are independent from the BBC Executive and include specialists in audience research, performance analysis, and finance. The Trust Unit is headed by its Director Nicholas Kroll and Deputy Director Chris Woolard.


:* cite web
title = Press Release: "New BBC Trust to represent the public interest"
url =
author = BBC
date = 2006-10-12
accessdate= 2006-10-14

ee also


*Audience Council England

External links

*|id=bbctrust|title=BBC Trust

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