§ Lord Patten
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether, in the interests of greater transparency, they will institute an annual independent audit of the BBC's expenditure in pursuit of (a) its public service role and (b) any commercial activities. [HL5750]
§ Baroness Blackstone
The BBC's financial statements are audited annually by independent external auditors, currently KPMG, who assess whether the accounts have been properly prepared in accordance with the provisions of the BBC's Charter and Agreement. Although not mandatory, the BBC also complies with the provisions of the Companies Act 1985.
Following the licence fee settlement in February 2000, the BBC is required to appoint a separate audit firm for fair trading purposes, currently PricewaterhouseCoopers. This was part of a package on transparency and fair trading measures designed to open up the BBC to more external scrutiny. The independent fair trading and financial audit reports are published in the BBC's Annual Report. The Government have no plans to institute any further transparency measures.