Feeds

BBC website suits slapped for cash splurge

Toys taken away

3 Big data security analytics techniques

The BBC Trust has today sharply criticised BBC executives for poor management of online services after an investigation of the finances of bbc.co.uk revealed it was £36m over-budget.

The review by the Corporation's independent governing body, which represents licence fee payers, revealed the splurge on bbc.co.uk hit £110m in the year to March 2008. The agreed budget had been £81.6m.

BBC executives forecast in January they would exceed the budget by 5 per cent. The true figure was 48 per cent.

The Trust wrote in its report (pdf): "Management control of bbc.co.uk is not sufficiently strong at present. Our review has found that financial oversight has not been sufficiently effective, such that the true level of spending on the service has only become known as a result of this review."

It said that most of the missing millions was the result of "misallocation of general overheads and costs from other budgets". Actual overspend was £3.5m. The figures exclude spending on iPlayer. The Trust has ordered suits to come up with proposals to gain control of the budget within six months.

BBC management's arcane devolved structure also made it hard to discern the online strategy, the Trust said, and executives must be clearer in their dealings with industry and trustees. A reorganisation of bbc.co.uk management in 2007 "has resulted in bbc.co.uk being treated more as a platform than as a discreet [sic] service... we believe it right to highlight this finding given the great importance we attach to the question of accountability."

Reponsibility for bbc.co.uk falls on Ashley Highfield, the BBC's director of future media and technology. He is already on his way out, however, and is set to jump ship later this year to Project Kangaroo, a commercial version of the iPlayer.

The Trust set a £114.4m budget for bbc.co.uk, this time including £3.9m for iPlayer. It decided to withold approval for new online projects by the BBC, however, until management put their house in order.

In its response statement, BBC management said: "We accept the Trust's conclusions that our processes and management controls were not adequate for a pan-BBC service straddling multiple cost centres. This is regrettable and we recognise the need to address this.

"We are developing plans which we believe will fully meet the concerns raised in the report... we will do this while ensuring that bbc.co.uk continues to be a distinctive service delivering strong public value."

The Trust also called on executives to consider the impact that throwing TV licence cash online is having on commercial markets. It has asked them to respond to concerns that efforts such as online film reviews, health information and local news are redundant because they are well served by commercial providers. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.