The BBC Trust and S4C Authority today (Friday 10th August) launched a public consultation on the Operating Agreement which sets out the relationship between the two broadcasters once the majority of S4C’s funding comes from the licence fee from April 2013.
The public consultation, launched at the National Eisteddfod in the Vale of Glamorgan, invites individuals and groups to express their views on the Operating Agreement over the next 10 weeks with a closing date of Tuesday 23 October.
In October 2010 the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt, announced that the majority of S4C’s income from 2013 would come from the licence fee.
Following that, in October 2011 the S4C Authority and BBC Trust reached an agreement, effective from 2013, to ensure that S4C’s editorial and managerial independence is protected and to safeguard appropriate accountability to the BBC Trust for licence fee funding spent by the channel. The consultation seeks the views of the public on whether the Operating Agreement, which will be the key accountability document between the BBC Trust and S4C, accurately reflects the agreement reached in 2011.
The BBC National Trustee for Wales, Prof Elan Closs Stephens, said, “My main priority is to help S4C to provide the best possible programmes for Welsh speaking audiences, while safeguarding S4C’s editorial independence and ensuring that licence fee money is spent wisely. This new agreement between the BBC and S4C builds on the last thirty years of a successful partnership between us.”
Huw Jones, Chair of the S4C Authority, added, “I believe that the Operating Agreement provides reassurance that S4C’s future and its ability to act independently have been secured, while ensuring appropriate accountability to the BBC Trust for use of the licence fee.”