A shake-up of the BBC orchestrated by new Director-General, Mark Thompson looks set to axe a quarter of its 28,000 workforce in attempts to make the corporation leaner as it faces the renewal of its ten-year Royal Charter.
BBC People, the human resources department is said to be in the spotlight for cost savings.
The Times reports that Senior BBC sources said they were shocked to discover that the corporation’s HR department had nearly 1,000 staff, making it clear that it was a prime target for cost savings.
Thompson is looking to cut back on the growth in staff numbers that occurred under former Director-General Greg Dyke.
Plans are also afoot for a major relocation of key staff from London to Manchester. Sport or the children’s department together with one of the BBC’s national radio stations look to be the likely contenders for the move.
Programme production may also be contracted out and some activities partly privatised.
Unions including BECTU are said to be angered by the proposals. Luke Crawley of the union body told the paper: “Our members are very frustrated. Their jobs are on the line, and some could get one hell of a Christmas present.”
If Thompson can demonstrate significant cost controls, the BBC believes that it can justify the receipt of substantial public money. The corporation received £2.8 billion in 2003 from the licence fee.