FoI response reveals BBC News has 250 'managers' and 750 'editors' - Press Gazette

FoI response reveals BBC News has 250 'managers' and 750 'editors'

There are more than 750 'editors' and 250 'managers' in BBC News, according to a Freedom of Information response from the corporation.

As of 31 October 2015, there were 764 people in BBC News – more than 10 per cent of the 7,355-strong workforce – with the word 'editor' in their job title.

And on the same date there were 273 staff with 'manager 'or 'managing' in their title.

The BBC provided the figures in response to an FoI asking: "How many staff did BBC News employ on [31 October 2015] who have each of the following word(s) in their job title?"

An almost identical FoI for 31 October 2014 – asking "How many staff does BBC News employ who have each of the following word(s) in their job title?" – suggested there were 321 with 'editor' in their job title, six with 'manager', six with 'managing' and 22 with 'coordinating', 'coordination' or 'coordinator'.

Asked why, in a year when the corporation has pledged to cut back on management layers to help deliver £50m of savings before 2016/17, the number of BBC News manager and editor positions had apparently rocketed, the corporation's press office said the two FoIs had been interpreted differently.

A spokesman said: "The 2014 figures excluded roles such as 'studio manager' whereas in 2015 we included everyone with the word 'manager' or 'editor' in the title."

The BBC said that, in fact, in the year to 31 October 2015, the number of 'editor' positions shrunk from 779 to 764; the number of 'managers' from 295 to 273; and the number of 'heads' from 64 to 50.

Some jobs may include a combination of 'editor' and 'manager' or 'managing' – such as 'managing editor' – so there may not be more than 1,000 editors and managers in the division. And a source told Press Gazette that many of those with these words in their job titles would not be of management or editor level. For instance, a 'picture editor' and 'programme editor' would be included in the count.

A Press Gazette FoI from last year asked the corporation to provide a list of all job titles. However, this was rejected under section 12 of the act because providing this list would have been too costly. The BBC explained that "there are numerous job titles (including variations of the same job title often only differentiated by departmental name) so that it was not practical to provide a list of them all". 

The latest FoI shows that on 31 October 2015 there were 168 employees with 'coordinator', 'coordinating' or 'coordination' in their title.

There were also: 12 people with 'executive' in their title; 782 'deputies' or 'assistants'; 170 'directors'; nine 'controllers'; 50 'heads'; and 14 'specials'.

Meanwhile, there were 3,877 staff with 'producer' or 'journalist' in their job title and ten with the word 'change'.

In July 2015, BBC director general Tony Hall revealed plans to cut 1,000 jobs from the corporation and to reduce the number of managers, particularly at a senior level.

A BBC insider said: “There is no sign that the management cuts promised by Mark Thompson, Chris Patten, James Harding or Tony Hall will ever be made.

"Staff are past believing these commitments. Senior managers protect their positions by hiring deputies and assistants, building an empire around themselves.”

According to the BBC, there were 103 senior managers in the news and editorial policy division as of October 2015.

They have a combined salary of £10,393,284, with head of news and current affairs James Harding paid the most, on £340,000.

In August 2014, there were 104 senior managers making a total of £10,236,968.



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