MPs unhappy with BBC scrutiny

Scrutiny of the BBC’s finances is not as independent as it should be, MPs have said.

The Commons’ public accounts committee made the claim because the BBC is the only publicly-funded institution which decides which areas of spending are scrutinised by the National Audit Office.

The BBC Trust’s ability to decide means the broadcaster “remains closed to proper independent scrutiny”, committee chairman Edward Leigh said.

Instead the National Audit Office and auditor-general should be given this power, it suggests. Such a move could help boost drooping public trust in the institution following a series of embarrassing phone-in competition errors.

Efforts to achieve £75 million of savings over three years at the BBC look like proving successful, the report notes.

It says “significant” procurement savings are being achieved but warns that progress is at its most limited in the areas where the highest levels of spending are taking place.

“There is a lot more that the BBC can do to trim its procurement bill,” Mr Leigh added.

He recommended making staff fully aware of the benefits of central contract buying, greater use of electronic auctions and scrutiny of procurement practices by those providing outsourced services as the best means to achieve this.