BBC Scotland ‘one step ahead’

BBC Scotland is leading the way for the BBC, UK-wide, as the rest of the Corporation is to be reorganised into a similar structure to its Scottish division.

Director-general, Mark Thompson, yesterday announced organisational changes as part of the BBC’s Creative Future strategy – trying to be more responsive to what audiences are wanting.

In Scotland, however, changes to the current system will be minimal because of the Corporation’s existing Scottish set-up. Last year, BBC Scotland was reorganised into three divisions: programmes, talent and business, finance and technology.

This was echoed by controller of BBC Scotland, Ken MacQuarrie, in his message to staff yesterday: “I believe that in BBC Scotland we are already fantastically positioned, both with our people, who have skills and commitment to deliver our vision, and with an organisational structure which is already closely aligned to the new BBC structure which Mark has described this morning. So for us, the immediate changes… remain small.”

The most significant impact will be the freedom for workers to move between different genres, such as children’s shows or factual. The aim is to create an increasingly flexible workforce, where staff are no longer confined to one style of programming.

This will not lead to a loss of specific roles, but will allow programme-makers to recruit from across the organisation.

Despite fears, Thompson did not use his announcement to reveal further job cuts, on top of the 4,000 earmarked last year. That said, ballots by trade unions on whether to staff accept the Corporation’s offers on pay and plans to cut the staff pension scheme are expected to still go ahead, with the NUJ’s expected to begin on Monday.

Said Pete Murray, the National Union of Journalists’ rep at BBC Scotland: “While we welcome the chance for staff to move between departments if they wish, we already know that job cuts make it harder and harder for staff to get attachments in other departments, to get access to training schemes, or even in many cases to take the leave and time off they’re entitled to.

“Mark Thompson and his other highly-paid executives might wish to make the poorly-paid staff more mobile. The truth us their penny-pinching budget cuts aleady give staff fewer opportunities, not more.”