Feeds

Beeb ordered to release TV licensing contract sweeteners

Capita deal under scrutiny

New hybrid storage solutions

The BBC is to be forced to reveal secret sweeteners contained in its licence fee collection deal with Capita within five weeks.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) today gave the corporation a 35-day deadline to disclose the incentives written into the contract.

BBC bosses had previously refused requests for the detail under the Freedom of Information Act, claiming disclosure was not in the public interest because it could damage their negotiating position in future.

Public bodies frequently cite this exemption when refusing to release contract details. But the ICO said the public interest outweighed such concerns in this case.

"As the UK's largest independent public broadcaster, the BBC must ensure that they are as open as possible to the UK licence payers they serve," said head of policy delivery Steve Wood.

"On this occasion, the BBC incorrectly applied an exemption under the belief that it was not in the public interest for the corporation to release details of the incentives they offer to one of their contractors.

"However it is our view that the corporation must be open to public scrutiny in order to show the many people who regularly watch their programmes, listen to their radio stations and use their website that they continue to provide value for money."

A BBC spokeswoman told The Register: "We note the ICO's decision and are considering our response."

Capita has held the TV licensing contract since 2002, when it took over from the Post Office.

Last year it collected £3.4bn and on its website it boasts it has reduced the rate of TV licence evasion from 5.7 per cent to 5.1 per cent.

The Freedom of Information Act is proving an irritant to the BBC. Under pressure from campaigners, last year it began publishing the pay and expenses of top executives and stars. The data revealed lavish spending on taxis and other apparent profligacy, which has provided ammunition for the corporation's enemies.

Some details of the licensing operation remain secret though. In 2008, the ICO sided with the BBC when it said the workings of its famous "detector vans" should remain shrouded in mystery. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.