BBC boss slags off county councils

You do wonder about Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC.  First of all, he gets demolished in a radio interview by the 89 year old Baroness P.D. James.  Then a report in the Guardian quotes him in the BBC staff magazine, Ariel, as saying

"The public sector pay debate will continue ... but we are not a county council. If you want someone to run BBC One or develop iPlayer, you need the very best people in the world."

As I've said before here, I have great respect for the BBC.  They have a very strong procurement function and I've met a few other senior people there (on the management rather than the creative side) who have been in the main hugely impressive.

BUT...what a stupid thing to say.  Apart from the pure rudeness of that comment, insulting thousands of County Council staff, has he any idea what running a County Council involves?  I've recently worked with one of the largest in the UK, and what struck me was the huge diversity and complexity of what they do.  It is almost a microcosm of the whole of central government, from health and social care to public order and transport issues.  Running libraries and sports centres; looking after old and disabled citizens, managing roads,  waste is a long list of things that we don't always notice until they go wrong, when we suddenly realise how important they are.

Being a CPO of a large County is at least as challenging as being CPO of the BBC, and a Chief Executive of a large County has a hell of a job quite frankly. Mr Thompson might like to swap with one for a while and then see what he thinks;  I don't deny the skills needed to run the BBC, but I don't think they are greater than those needed to run a large County.  And the same applies at the next couple of levels of the management tree.

So respect, man, show a bit of respect!

Peter Smith

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  1. Jim Hemmington:

    A bit unfortunate to have a go at the county councils, we’ve lost some good procurment people to a few of them. All I can say is that Mark T may not have had his road gritted at the time of the discussion!

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