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31/05/2001

REVIEW FINDS BBC FAIR TRADING 'APPROPRIATE'

AN independent review into the BBC's fair trading policies has concluded that they are appropriate to their purpose, Culture Secretary Chris Smith announced jointly with the BBC.
The review, undertaken by Richard Whish, Professor of Law at King's College, London, examined the BBC's Fair Trading Commitment and Commercial Policy Guidelines which are designed to ensure that the BBC does not compete unfairly with commercial companies.
Establishing the review follows the Government's commitment to independent scrutiny of the BBC's Commercial Policy Guidelines and Fair Trading Commitment and was one of the recommendations of the Davies Panel's report on the Corporation's future funding.
In response to a question in Parliament, Chris Smith said: "Further to my written answer o 25 January to my Honourable Friend the Member for Oldham East and Saddleworth of an independent review of the BBC's Commercial Policy Guidelines and Fair Trading Commitment by Richard Whish, Professor of Law at King's College, London, I am today publishing, jointly with the BBC, the findings of that review.
"Professor Whish has concluded from his scrutiny of the documentation that ‘the BBC's Fair Trading Commitment and the Guidelines are appropriate to ensure that the BBC does not distort competition in commercial markets'.
"Sir Christopher Bland has written to me on behalf of the BBC Governors to acknowledge the report's findings and to inform me that when the Guidelines are next reviewed they will take into account Professor Whish's suggested clarifications to the exiting format.
"He has also informed me that the BBC have been awarded the British Standards Institute's ISO 9001:2000 accreditation for their fair trading compliance procedures." (CD)
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