BBC cuts 1,000 jobs (top execs are exempted)

BBC cuts 1,000 jobs (top execs are exempted)


norman lebrecht

July 02, 2015

Director-General Tony Hall today announced a cut of 1,000 in the BBC’s 16,672 workforce.

He gives his reasons in a letter to staff, reproduced below.

But the executive level keeps on growing, especially in classical music broadcasting which can least afford it. More and more chiefs, not enough creatives on the shop floor.

Explain that, please, Tony.


bbc proms

Dear All,

I care deeply about this organisation – and the people in it. That’s why I wanted to share with you, openly and honestly, some big changes we’re making to make the BBC simpler and leaner.

There are two things going on, which make today’s announcements very necessary. 

The first goes back to something I said when I came back here. I said I wanted a simpler organisation. It’s what many of you have told me too – and it requires a different approach.

Secondly, we’re facing a very difficult financial situation. Many of you have worked hard to achieve the savings we’ve made already. I know it’s been hard. But there’s more to do. And, before we do anything else that affects our programmes and services, we have to make sure we’re running the BBC as efficiently as possible.

I’m announcing four things – aiming to do just that. 

Merging divisions

We’re looking at the number of divisions we need. As a first step, I’ve asked Ralph Rivera, Matthew Postgate and David Gibbons to bring together our teams in Technology, Engineering and Digital. And, that’s not just in the public service, but across Worldwide too. It’s just a start – and, over the next few months, I’ll be working with our Directors to see what more we can do.

Cutting out layers

We’ve taken a good look at the structures across the BBC. In some places there are ten layers between the top and the bottom of the organisation. I think that’s too many – and, in future, we’ll work to a maximum of seven.

Reducing management roles

I’m a huge believer in strong management – management that’s enabling and supports creativity. But the reality is, a simpler organisation, with fewer divisions and layers, will inevitably require fewer senior decision-makers in all parts of the BBC. I know this is hard – but it’s the right thing to do.

 Simplifying procedures

Finally, we’re looking at how we run our professional and support areas – by which I mean all the teams, doing things as varied as marketing, finance, legal, HR and communications. They do a vital job for us. We’ll be asking how each area should be structured, how we can simplify, and standardise, the ways we work – looking right across the public service and Worldwide.

These changes will save £50million a year. And, you know as well as I do, that many of those savings will be roles that we close. We estimate over a thousand jobs will go.

I recognise this is a very tough message. And, I want to make it clear that even though we’ll inevitably be closing posts, it’s not a reflection of the commitment or hard work of the people doing those jobs. 

This is about structural change. It’s about doing the right thing – to deliver maximum value to audiences, in a very challenging financial situation.

I want you to know we’ll handle this decently – and fairly. There’ll be more opportunities to discuss all this today and over the coming weeks. And we’ll keep staff informed throughout, before any final decisions are taken.

Best wishes,




  • Angry New Yorker says:

    This might explain why we could not get into the BBC website this morning. How appalling. Why don’t they just make done with it — just as Mr. Cameron would like to do to everything else that is great about Great Britain: Privatize. Let the upper management go to the most dangerous places in the world with a camera and….report. Shame on Mr. Hall and everyone else involved with this ludicrous situation.

  • Max Grimm says:

    Norman, there is nothing for Tony Hall to explain. Sir Humphrey Appleby has already explained most of this type of thought-process over 30 years ago in “The Compassionate Society”.