Television

BBC Governors outline proposed changes to complaints process

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MUMBAI: UK pubcaster the BBC's Governors have outlined proposed changes to their complaints appeals process and are inviting licence fee payers to comment on them during a four week consultation. This is the first time the procedures for handling appeals have been clearly set out and published for the public.

The Governors are responsible for ensuring all editorial and programme complaints are properly handled by the BBC and through their Programme Complaints Committee (GPCC) they consider appeals from people who are not satisfied with management's response to their complaint.

They are the final authority over the BBC on matters of impartiality and accuracy. The changes outlined are designed to strengthen the transparency and objectivity of the system used by the GPCC.

They include proposals for:

-sharing material relied upon by the GPCC with all parties for comment before a decision is reached;

-giving the GPCC chairman discretion to call hearings for first-party complaints;

-and the addition of a new finding of "already resolved", to be used in circumstances where an error has occurred and the GPCC is satisfied that management has already dealt with the matter appropriately.

GPCC chairman Richard Tait said, "The BBC's Board of Governors believes the public should be at the heart of everything that the organisation does. Licence fee payers have a right to expect the highest editorial standards from the BBC, and the right to challenge if they are unhappy with the standards of any output."

The Governors will take account of the responses to the consultation before finalising the procedures. The board will publish a summary of the responses on its website and will then implement the procedures for the GPCC in the summer.

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