A new formal partnership between S4C and the BBC


The S4C Authority and the Unitary Board of the BBC have today published the new agreement which will take the place of the Operating Agreement which has formed the basis of the relationship between the S4C Authority and the BBC Trust from 2013 to the end of March 2017.

In this new Partnership, Funding and Accountability Agreement, the two broadcasters commit to working creatively together for the benefit of viewers and the Welsh-speaking audience.

The BBC’s commitment to developing and establishing constructive and fair partnerships is one of the key features of its new Charter. The commitment to provide funding for S4C as part of the Framework Agreement was made at the same time. This Agreement is therefore seen as one of the BBC’s key partnerships, in line with the Charter’s requirements.

The Agreement is based on, and defines, three essential elements:

a) The funding which S4C will receive from the television licence fee, and the nature of its accountability to the BBC for this funding

b) The statutory contribution of ten hours a weeks’ programming made by the BBC to S4C, and

c) The nature of the broader operational partnership which will include the provision of technical facilities by the BBC to S4C

The Partnership Agreement will last until the end of the BBC’s new Charter period, namely 2028.

There is already agreement that S4C funding from the licence fee will remain at a fixed level until 2022, at which point the level of the television licence is due to be reviewed.

The value of the statutory programming contribution will be sustained at its present level of £19.4m p.a. for the same period.

The Agreement also guarantees the continuation of the arrangement to provide S4C programming on the iPlayer until 2028.

The terms of the agreement to provide technical services for S4C at BBC Wales’s new headquarters in central Cardiff from 2019 on have now been agreed.

This Partnership Agreement provides details as to how the relationship between the two organisations is expected to work so as to ensure constructive partnership, in Wales and at a UK level, and the processes of oversight which will be provided.

S4C Chairman, Huw Jones, said:

“This new Agreement demonstrates clearly what the nature of the relationship between S4C and the BBC will be over the period of the new Charter. It provides a strong element of security and stability for S4C over this period, while allowing the opportunity to review the key elements after five years. It sets a challenge for the two organisations to identify opportunities for constructive collaboration for the benefit of viewers. It builds on the success of the previous Operating Agreement and on a long tradition of co-operating and working together to serve audiences. It once again confirms S4C’s independence as an organisation and as a service. I’m extremely glad that the BBC has seen fit to recognise its relationship with S4C as one of its key partnerships under the terms of the Charter.

Sir David Clementi, Chairman of the BBC said:

“This new agreement strengthens the existing long-standing public service broadcasting partnership between the BBC and S4C. It recognises the vital role played by both organisations in Welsh language broadcasting - and provides a firm foundation for continued collaboration at a time of significant media change. This is an exciting time for broadcasting in Wales, and I’m confident our continued close working with S4C will deliver real creative results, building on the many joint successes of recent years.


Notes for Editors:

Following the change from Trust to Unitary Board the BBC no longer has a representative on the S4C Authority Board. Elan Closs Stephens' term as an individual member comes to an end on 31 October 2018.

The Partnership, Funding and Accountability Agreement between the BBC and S4C is available here

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