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11/12/2003

BBC Deputy D-G appointed to lead complaints overhaul

BBC Director-General Greg Dyke has announced the appointment of Mark Byford as Deputy Director-General, effective from the beginning of the New Year.
As the first Deputy Director-General to be appointed since 1997, Byford will continue to lead the Global News Division, with overall responsibility for the World Service and BBC World, but he will also be responsible across the BBC for all pre and post broadcast programme compliance and an enhanced complaints operation.
Many observers see his appointment and the complaints procedure shake-up as a reaction to the high profile affair that placed the BBC in direct conflict with the government and led to the Hutton Enquiry.
The new complaints and compliance system follows a review of procedures led by Caroline Thomson, Director of Policy and Legal, which was started earlier this year.
Greg Dyke, BBC Director-General, said: "As a result of the review we have decided to make a number of internal changes to modernise the complaints system and strengthen our post broadcast compliance procedures. The most important of these is the appointment of a Deputy Director-General who will take overall responsibility for this area. This means the second most important person in the management structure will now have a particular responsibility for compliance and complaints.
"Anyone who knows Mark understands he is passionate about public service broadcasting and the BBC's role in the UK and around the world. He has deputised for me many times and I am delighted that the Governors have agreed to his appointment."
BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies added: "It is clear that Britain's most important public service broadcaster must have the highest standards of editorial compliance.
"The Governors believe that the appointment of Mark Byford, along with the strengthened post broadcast procedures, will ensure that this is the case."
The changes will mean that the Editorial Policy Department, headed by the former Director of the Broadcasting Standards Commission Stephen Whittle will, in future, report directly to the Deputy Director-General. This department deals with programming issues before they are broadcast.
A new post of Controller of Complaints will be created, also reporting to the Deputy D-G, and his or her department will deal with issues raised after broadcast. The existing Programme Complaints Unit will move across to this new department.
Byford said: "I feel proud and privileged to become the BBC's Deputy Director-General. As a beacon of public service broadcasting around the world, the BBC must aim to provide brilliant, stretching and ambitious programmes. I will strive to promote high standards, quality and the upholding of the BBC's values in everything we do."
Byford, 45, has been with the BBC for 24 years. An award-winning journalist and editor, he joined the BBC's Board of Management in 1996 as Director of Regional Broadcasting. In 1998 he was appointed Director of the World Service and last year became leader of the BBC's newly formed Global News Division, responsible for all the BBC's international news services across radio, television and online.
(GB)
VMI.TV Ltd

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