Westminster Media Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

The future of the BBC

Morning, Tuesday, 23rd February 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will further consider the future for the BBC - amid heightened political comment on its funding and scope, as the midpoint of the current Charter approaches, and with the ongoing review of public service broadcasting.

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from DCMS; Ofcom; the Cabinet Office; and HMRC.

The agenda:

  • The evolving role of the BBC
  • The purpose and scope of the BBC across its operations, long term outlook, and role in soft power and serving UK cultures
  • Regulation and its impact on the BBC
  • The future of BBC services and the impact on the UK’s nations and regions and the wider creative market
  • Future funding and revenue options for the BBC

Relevant developments:

  • It’s time to ask big questions about the future of the BBC - the Culture Secretary writing for the Daily Telegraph, outlining issues for the BBC in a changing media market including value for money, impartiality and public trust, and how the BBC represents the nation
  • Tim Davie's introductory speech as BBC Director-General - outlining priorities including content, online development, and commercial income as well as a renewed commitment to impartiality
  • The future of public service broadcasting - DCMS Committee inquiry into the future of PSB including funding, content and regulation and how this compares with streaming and subscription services
  • The Public Service Broadcasting Advisory Panel - appointed by the Government to provide independent advice as part of the strategic review of public service broadcasting
  • oversight - appointments being considered for the roles of Chair of the BBC and Chair of Ofcom
  • impartiality - Ofcom reportedly finding the BBC with the lowest ranking on perceived impartiality compared to other British broadcastersx, in a survey of viewers
  • The licence fee:
    • Negotiations on the future cost of the TV licence kick off - government announcing the formal process of determining BBC and S4C funding and the level  of the licence fee from April 2022
    • BBC Board decision on licence fees for older people - the BBC announcing that free licenses will now only be available to households with someone aged over 75 who receives Pension Credit
    • Consultation on decriminalising TV licence evasion - by DCMS and presented as aiming to inform a proportionate and fair approach to licence fee penalties and payments
  • BBC News sets out update on modernisation plans - designed to take account of changing audience needs, the BBC’s financial position and the experience of operating during the COVID-19 pandemic

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from DCMS; Ofcom; the Cabinet Office; and HM Revenue & Customs.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior Government and regulatory officials involved in this area of public policy, representatives from the BBC, public service broadcasters, UK commercial broadcasters, OTT content services and digital streaming services, international media companies, their suppliers and their advisors, the technology and telecoms industries, representatives from the independent production companies, the content supply chain including studios and post-production companies, television and online advertising companies and their suppliers, media lawyers, consultants and analysts, organisations and individuals representing the views of consumers and citizens, academics and reporters from the national and trade media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Clare Sumner

Director of Policy, BBC

Kevin Bakhurst

Group Director, Content and Media Policy, Ofcom


Deidre Brock MP

Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary BBC Group

Rt Hon Baroness Jay of Paddington


Emmanuel Kojo

Actor and Councillor, Minority Ethnic Members, Equity

Professor Steven Barnett

Professor of Communications, University of Westminster

Michelle Stanistreet

General Secretary, National Union of Journalists

David Elms

Partner, UK Head of Media, KPMG

Max Rumney

Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Director of Business Affairs, Pact

Donald Martin

Editor-in-Chief, Newsquest Scotland and Editor, The Herald and Herald on Sunday

Adam Minns

Executive Director, COBA

Claire Enders

Founder, Enders Analysis

Professor Patrick Barwise

Emeritus Professor of Management and Marketing, London Business School; and co-author, The War Against the BBC