Westminster Media Forum

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
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The future of the BBC - purpose, impact, funding and oversight

February 2021


Price: £95 PLUS VAT
Format: DOWNLOADABLE PDF


***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; DIT; HMRC; and The Scottish Government.


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:


  • oversight - the new BBC Chairman is to be Richard Sharp, the former chairman of the Royal Academy and member of the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee
  • the licence fee:
    • increase to the licence fee - which is set to rise by by £1.50 a year, rising from £157.50 to £159, as of 1st  April 2021
    • 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:
      • presented as aiming to inform a proportionate and fair approach to licence fee penalties and payments
      • the government’s response, deciding not move forward with decriminalisation pending further work on alternative approaches to enforcement
    • TV licence fee statistics - a new report by the House of Commons Library found that licence-fee evasion rose from 6.57% to 7.25% last year
    • Next BBC chair says it may be worth looking again at licence fee - the Guardian reporting on the evidence to the Select Committee
  • 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
  • The BBC’s strategic financial management - NAO report warning that the BBC is at risk of being ‘slow to change’ in addressing issues such as declining viewership from younger audiences, and that the BBC has been dipping into savings to cover shortfalls
    • in response to the report, Meg Hillier, chair of the Commons’ public accounts committee, said “[the BBC] has shied away from making tough decisions for too long and has underestimated the cost of major projects”
  • the BBC vision for the remaining Charter period - the BBC Chair and DG setting out priorities for content, impartiality, diversity, value and support for vulnerable citizens, commercial development, the Corporation’s international role, and its positive impact on the creative economy in a letter to the Secretary of State on the licence fee negotiation process
  • 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
  • impartiality - Ofcom reportedly finding the BBC with the lowest ranking on perceived impartiality compared to other British broadcasters, in a survey of viewers

Policy officials attending:


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons Library and the House of Lords, and officials from DCMS; Ofcom; the Cabinet Office; the Department of International Trade; HM Revenue & Customs; and The Scottish Government.


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


  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript 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



This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles