Ernst & Young submits report on BBC's financial systems

MUMBAI: Accounting firm Ernst & Young has submitted its revenue to the BBC board of governors about the financial functions of the UK pubcaster.

While the review has concluded that the BBC's system of financial controls and procedures is fundamentally sound at the same time a number of specific controls need tightening. Some budgetary processes need to be reviewed in the interests of improved accountability and value for money.

The review said the BBC's policies about discretionary expenditure - including travel, accommodation and staff expenses - covered all the relevant topics. "However, they are often broadly defined and can, therefore, give rise to a range of interpretations." The firm recommended that the policies be defined more closely.

There was also concern about the number of people who have access to the computer system that manages the BBC's procurement system - currently 3,000 staff out of a total of 28,000 BBC employees. "Given that inappropriate access increases the potential for corruption or fraud, we recommend that a review of user access is implemented with a view to reducing the extent of access, as appropriate" stated the report.

Responding to the review, BBC chairman Michael Grade said, "The BBC must be conscious always that it is funded by public money. As the custodians of this public money, the Governors have a duty to monitor the BBC's financial controls.

"The Governors are reassured that this review by Ernst & Young has found the BBC's overall system of financial controls to be fundamentally sound. As part of our new governance arrangements, the Governors are committed to strengthening our methods for monitoring the BBC's financial performance and this will include commissioning ad hoc reviews of this type."

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