The BBC leaks money. It always has done, and I don’t imagine it’s got any better since I left the corporation three years ago. One of the things the BBC isn’t good at is fixing leaks. I should explain; none of this waste is malicious, all staff know that the licence fee is a precious resource not to be squandered. Well, everyone except some managers that is. The truth is, most people at the BBC are focused on producing amazing things, but sometimes in the pursuit of these amazing things middle managers get carried away.
When I worked at the BBC, we sat near a team responsible for the BBC’s Art content, themselves, producers of some amazing TV. One day, out of the blue, appeared a large, green sign. It said “Welcome to Arts” and was at the end of a corridor. This corridor was in the inner core of White City, so the ONLY people who would ever see it were BBC staff.
You get the idea don’t you? The BBC spent money on a pointless, illuminated sign to tell staff something they already knew. That they were in the BBC Arts team’s area.
Here is a picture of the sign:
The fact that I took a photograph of it should indicate to you how annoyed by it I was. But, I was actually MORE annoyed than that. So annoyed, I made a Freedom of Information request to the BBC to find out how much it cost.
£2,451 + VAT for installation and the printing of the graphics. It’s not actually clear from that response if the cost includes the illuminated frame.
Does that kind of money matter? Yes, it does, because it’s pure waste. It’s middle managers deluding themselves into thinking other members of staff need to be wowed by how awesome their sign is. That’s fine in the commercial sector, but not at a corporation that is about two shut two crucial radio services.
I have a friend at the BBC who produces websites, I’m sure he’d be thrilled to have an extra £2,451 to spend on making great content. And I’m sure the staff at 6 Music and The Asian Network would rather the BBC stopped pissing money away on guff like this too.
Killing great services isn’t the answer. Fixing the waste is.