The Daily Telegraph

BBC hires consultant­s to prepare for future without licence fee

- By Laura Onita

THE BBC has hired consultant­s Bain & Co to review its funding strategy as executives prepare for a future without the licence fee.

The corporatio­n is seeking help from Bain on a blueprint for its future, which is expected to also explore its funding needs. Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, has said that the £159 annual licence fee will come to an end in 2027.

However, it is unclear if a review of the BBC’S funding will be a priority for the new Tory administra­tion under Liz Truss, the incoming prime minister.

Bain’s appointmen­t comes a month after the global management consultanc­y was hit with a three-year ban on bidding for government contracts over “grave profession­al misconduct” in state corruption in South Africa.

The firm is reportedly weighing up taking legal action against the decision.

Bain’s appointmen­t by the BBC board is thought to have been signed off prior to the consulting firm being barred from tendering for UK government contracts for three years, Sky News first reported. The decision was made independen­tly and did not require approval from the Government.

The fee that Bain will earn from its work for the BBC is unclear, although a substantia­l sum may ignite anger among critics of the corporatio­n amid an ongoing round of cuts to jobs and BBC services.

Ms Dorries announced a two-year freeze of the licence in January, calling it “completely outdated”, and cast doubt over future funding. Ministers have also warned that the BBC must do more to address impartiali­ty. They have previously argued that the landscape has changed significan­tly since the licence fee was last reviewed less than a decade ago as viewers increasing­ly opt for Netflix or Disney+ subscripti­ons.

A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC on occasion seeks external support and they are helping inform work on future strategy.”

Bain was contacted for comment.

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