OFCOM reports on the BBC complaints procedure

This is a cross-post from BBC Watch.

On October 24th OFCOM – which in April 2017 became the BBC’s external regulator – published its second annual report on the BBC.OFCOM

“The Royal Charter requires Ofcom to publish a report each year that sets out how we have carried out our functions as the BBC’s independent regulator, and assesses the BBC’s compliance with the requirements of our Operating Framework and associated documents.

Separately, we are required to report at least annually on the BBC’s performance against the measures we set alongside the Operating Licence. This forms the evidence base for our assessment of the BBC’s performance against its public purposes.”

Given the nature of OFCOM, the report is predictably UK focused but it does include some notable insights into the communications regulator’s view of the BBC complaints procedure – especially for the many members of the public who hoped that external regulation would bring about much needed improvements in that system.

As readers may be aware, the first two stages of the BBC’s complaints system are outsourced to a private company and responses to complaints submitted are all too often not received within the designated time frame of 20 days. In fact in late August this year, BBC Watch received an e-mail from BBC Audience Services concerning three unanswered complaints which appeared to suggest an insufficiently staffed system:

“Many thanks for the complaints you have sent since the beginning of August (attached) with apologies for evidently yet-to-come replies due to the volume of correspondence and (un)availability of relevant staff. I hope you will understand…

More to the point, the complaints are all with the appropriate editorial staff and I hope to have responses to them in due course.”  

Read the rest of this post here.


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  • Process matters. And on this third planet from the local sun, given our history, it especially matters to even “kvetch” about what some think is trivial. High standards, even in a common restaurant, won’t routinely be maintained if the customers accept less. Here we are, by implication, talking about what could turn into pogroms, mass murder. how much more is it justified to proceed as Adam is proceeding?!
    it is not trivial, says I.

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