BBC set to make 30 comms staff redundant as it deals with frozen licence fee

The BBC is set to make 30 redundancies from its 185-strong comms division.

BBC: 30 redundancies from comms division
BBC: 30 redundancies from comms division

The corporation has initially invited voluntary redundancies, but could be forced to make compulsory redundancies later this year.

BBC bosses called a meeting with comms staff on Tuesday to announce the plan.

Acting head of press and media Julian Payne told PRWeek the action was being taken in response to the frozen licence fee settlement.

He added: ‘We’re looking to create a new leaner comms division that will be more flexible and more focused around a smaller number of priorities.

‘What this is not about is asking fewer people to do the same amount of work as before.’

Payne explained that the smaller comms department will be forced to promote less of its content, such as TV programmes and radio shows. The department will also be looking to create more flexible team members who can work across different disciplines.

The broadcaster is also cutting 15 posts by freezing some roles when people leave, bringing the total headcount down to 140.

The BBC is being asked to make savings of 20 per cent, but supporting structures – including comms - are expected to take a greater cut than content.

The broadcaster’s comms department is making savings of 25 per cent – which comes to £4million - in the coming year.

£1.3m will be found by reducing project spend on areas like opinion former events, engagement with MPs and screenings. But a further £2.7million will be found in staff and salary spend.

The voluntary redundancy consultation is being launched on 29 July, and will be open until 2 September. An announcement will be made in October. If there is a shortfall from the numbers they are seeking, the BBC will move to a compulsory redundancy programme.

Following the resignation of director of comms Ed Williams, who has taken the UK CEO role at Edelman, head of press and media Paul Mylrea has taken the role of acting director of comms. Former BBC Vision head of comms Payne has stepped into Mylrea’s role.

A decision will not be made about filling Williams’ role until autumn.

As part of the changes, the press office, corporate and public affairs, internal comms and digital comms functions will be moved into a new ‘corporate hub’.

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