Monday, 22 May 2017

The Compliance Challenge

We can only judge on what we know about the BBC Radio Leeds competition. And the majority of us know no more than what we have heard. 

The content appears thoroughly out of order and unwise. Many of the station's audience would have found it particularly so, given the headlines of that appalling crime will seem not that very long ago. 

The presenter will, no doubt, have a case to make about the content and how it came to air, and I'm sure he'll be allowed the opportunity to express it. Let's not compound this whole matter by repeatedly circulating the offending audio alongside photographs of the grotesque Brady. Or beat up the presenter. There is quite sufficent hate and trolling in the world already. 

The matter does, of course, beg serious questions. 

Since Sachsgate, BBC compliance was up-weighted in a way which always puzzled me. Forms need signing off for the vetting of recorded programmes; and other programmes are supervised to a particular level depending on their content. 

The recorded programme vetting requirement presumably relates to the Sachsgate issue, as that item was prerecorded. It seems odd to me, however, that a two hour trumpet show needs pre-vetting, whilst a weekend live show is not scrutinised quite as carefully. Some live daytime shows are given careful live scrutiny, whilst others are not. As can be seen from this example and others, things can go wrong at any time.

This episode strikes me as further evidence that BBC local radio should rid itself of centralised pointless and time-consuming  compliance procedures, so they have the time to focus on what really matters. Capable managers should be aware of their own responsibilities, and ensure that others are too. 

Sometimes it is the sheer number of potential people who have editorial influence in local stations which makes decision making unclear, allowing unwise content an open window to climb through. 


1 comment:

  1. It doesn't take training or compliance rules to understand the "inappropriateness" and bad taste of the competition. The concern is of the people at the station or the presenter no one thought or raised strongly enough that this was just a bad idea. And if they didn’t realise it was a bad idea or why it might cause offence then I’m really not sure they should be allowed on air.
    Unfortunately like many organisations the BBC is trying to implement compliance by numbers. does it do or say x,y,or z. Remember the Kenny Everett sketch about referring up to see if you could say “bum” on the BBC . There are written rules and these should always be the foundation of guidelines. But you have to have competence and emotional intelligence to bring it to life. Knowing the boundaries and how to sometimes work those lines is a skill and talent that you learn. Too many BBC producers and staff get their content ideas from the Poke or have little life experience causing them to be oblivious to sensitivities or the subtleties of what you can and should do , what pushes the envelope and what is just a no-no.
    Inexperienced, poorly managed, poorly trained production staff and management are the cause of bad ideas going out. Centralisation and over bearing bureaucracy are the symptom of poor training and management.

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