BBC Trust seeks greater public awareness

BBC Trust seeks greater public awareness

Broadcaster promises to listen

The BBC Trust has published its Promise to Audiences, which lays out plans to engage with the public to hear their views and expectations.

The undertaking is a formal requirement of the BBC's Royal Charter and has been drawn up in consultation with the public.

An open consultation was conducted online and via a questionnaire distributed to all UK public libraries.

The BBC Trust met a range of representative bodies and carried out research among the public at large to develop a set of principles to underpin its engagement.

"We have made real progress in giving a greater voice to the public and can demonstrate its influence, but we know from the feedback that we need to do more," said Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust.

"The public want to know when they can get involved, but more importantly they want to know what action has been taken by the Trust so they can assess whether it is worth their time and effort."

Most evidence shows that very few people want to be personally involved in giving their views about the Trust's activities, but there is strong support for the principle of public involvement.

Some 73 per cent of respondents agreed that the public should have a say in the running of the BBC, and 95 per cent want the Trust to report back on its activities.

Decisions about value for money, particularly those linked to new BBC services and changes to existing services, were seen as the most important for public consultation and reporting.

The announcement is particularly well timed, as BBC Worldwide has just announced an agreement with ITV and Channel 4 to provide an on-demand video service next year.

The research also revealed that the Trust needs to work harder in raising awareness of its work, in order to avoid upsets such as the BBC iPlayer cutting out open source users.