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URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Members (Read 71,008 times)
NGMsGhost
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URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Members
Apr 17th, 2008 at 7:52pm
 
Hi All,

BBC Board To Decide About Possible Switch From 084 and 087 Numbers to 03 on Monday 21st April - Please Email the BBC Board & BBC Trust's Members

I have been told by a reliable source at the top management level of the BBC's Marketing, Communications and Audience section (which also controls the activities of BBC Information) that at its scheduled meeting this coming Monday, 21st April, the BBC's Executive Board (see www.bbc.co.uk/info/running/executive/index.shtml) will consider a paper that will consider the case for the BBC adopting a policy that would require all external contact numbers with the BBC (ranging from its main BBC Information call centre to regional radio station numbers and numerous individual program 087/084 audience line numbers) to change to 03 numbers.

When my source originally spoke to me some months ago they indicated there was a 90%+ likelihood their paper would recommend a switch to 03 numbers and they telephoned me to discuss this proposal to test whether the reaction of the SayNoTo0870 campaign (since I am one of the campaign's most long running, regular and staunchest critics of the BBC over its use of 084 and 087 numbers) would respond positively to such a change.  They were concerned about the fact that 03 numbers did not yet seem to then be very widely used or recognised by the public (last November) but told me that their research so far indicated that if the BBC's contract(s) with their telecoms and/or main call centre suppliers was renewed or renegotiated to enable a switch to 03 the actual cost to the BBC of using 03 numbers, instead of 084 and 087, was likely to be negligible in terms of the total cost of the contract, even though it might mean a very slight cost increase.

My reason for this post is because consideration of this paper by the BBC Board was put back after Ofcom decided to postpone the ending of revenue share on 0870 from 1st Feb 2008 in Autumn 2007 (on the amazing grounds that Ofcom was apparently so incompetent it had not previously anticipated problems with automated burglar diallers calling 0870 numbers with call price announcements) .  I was naturally concerned the BBC might, as a result, just decided to continue with 0845 and 0870 and even 0871 (Question Time tickets for future shows line) unless and until Ofcom eventually announced a date to end 0870 revenue sharing.  However in the event the paper is now going forwards to the BBC Board but what I don't know is what recommendation it is making in the light of Ofcom's delay/cancellation of 0870 call charge changes and whether that recommendation might have in any way changed.  I would be concerned for instance whether this paper might consider that the BBC could get away with switching to say 5p per minute 0844 numbers, on which any lost revenue share in the weekday daytime would be made up for by higher call charges on weekday evenings and the weekend when the majority of viewers and listeners call the BBC.

I believe that in order to put pressure on the BBC Board to take the right decision (make it compulsory for all contact numbers used by the BBC for normal contact other than quiz/prize lines or voting lines to switch to 03) it would help if as many well informed members as possible of SayNoTo0870 wrote to all BBC Board Members and all members of the BBC Trust setting out their own personal views as to why a public sector organisation like the BBC can only acceptably use 01, 02 or 03 prefixed numbers.

I don't think the email needs to be massively long as these are busy people.

The main arguments should focus on matters such as:-

1) The latest COI guidance suggests that where cost to the citizen consumer and providing equal access to all consumers is an issue that 03 numbers should now be considered.

2) The cost of calling 0845 and 0870 are vastly above the cost of normal 01/02/03 calls for those paying per minute and also many other consumers now pay nothing per minute to call 01/02/03 (due to a fixed price monthly call package covering all calls to these numbers) but calls cost up to 40p per minute on mobile phones to 084 and 087 prefixed numbers.

3) The BBC has already been badly tarnished with allegations of telephone sleaze regarding various game show lines (including Blue Peter) using 09 numbers where viewers were encouraged to continue dialling while lines had already closed and/or the prize was not given to a genuine member of the public calling the 09 line but to a pre-arranged individual chosen by the director/producer of the show.  This image of sleaze is only exacerbated by the BBC using 084/7 numbers perceived as covert premium rate and/or as involving a revenue share to the BBC.  Switching to 03 for all its normal numbers would restore public confidence in the image of the BBC and the public's enthusiasm for making contact with it and engaging with it.

4) Contrary to claims that the BBC does not earn a revenue share on its current 084/7 numbers the reality is that the revenue earned by the owner of the numbers(Cable & Wireless) appears to lower the costs of the BBC's outgoing calls and/or the supply of telephony hardware and/or phone line rental costs in a manner that would not be possible if 084/7 numbers were not being used by Cable & Wireless to cross subsidise the price charged to the BBC for these facilities.

The email addresses for the members of the BBC Board and Trust to send your email
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« Last Edit: Apr 17th, 2008 at 9:11pm by NGMsGhost »  

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NGMsGhost
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BBC Board 03 Decision -21st April- Please Email
Reply #1 - Apr 17th, 2008 at 7:55pm
 
BBC Board

www.bbc.co.uk/info/running/executive/biographies.shtml
Minutes of Recent meetings are at www.bbc.co.uk/info/running/executive/minutes.shtml

Director General - Mark Thompson -  mark.thompson@bbc.co.uk
Deputy Director General - Mark Byford - mark.byford@bbc.co.uk
Director, Audio & Music - Jenny Abramsky - jenny.abramsky@bbc.co.uk
Director, Vision - Jana Bennett - jana.bennett@bbc.co.uk
Director, Marketing, Communications & Audiences - Tim Davie - tim.davie@bbc.co.uk
Director, Future Media & Technology - Ashley Highfield - ashley.highfield@bbc.co.uk
Director, BBC People - Stephen Kelly - (no standard BBC email address - try trust.enquiries@bbc.co.uk & ask them to forward)
Group Finance Director - Zarin Patel - zarin.patel@bbc.co.uk
CEO - BBC Worldwide - John Smith - john.smith@bbc.co.uk
Chief Operating Officer - Caroline Thomson - zzCaroline.zzThomson@bbc.co.uk
Non Exec - Marcus Agius - marcus.agius@bbc.co.uk
Non Exec - Val Gooding - val.gooding@bbc.co.uk
Non Exec - Dr Mike Lynch - mike.lynch@bbc.co.uk
Non Exec - David Robbie - david.robbie@rexam.com
Non Exec - Dr Samir Shah - samir.shah@bbc.co.uk
Non Exec - Robert Webb - robert.webb@bbc.co.uk

BBC Trust

www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/about/bbc_trust_members/index.html
Minutes of Recent Meetings are at www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/about/meetings_and_minutes/bbc_trust_minutes.html

Chairman - Michael Lyons - michael.lyons@bbc.co.uk
Vice-Chairman - Chitra Bharucha - chitra.bharucha@bbc.co.uk
Trustee - Dermot Gleeson -  dermot.gleeson@bbc.co.uk
Trustee - Patricia Hodgson - patricia.hodgson@bbc.co.uk
Trustee - Janet Lewis-Jones - janet.lewis-jones@bbc.co.uk
Trustee - Jeremy Peat - jeremy.peat@bbc.co.uk
Trustee - Diane Coyle - diane.coyle@bbc.co.uk
Trustee - Alison Hastings - alison.hastings@bbc.co.uk
Trustee - Rotha Johnston - rotha.johnston@bbc.co.uk
Trustee - David Liddiment - david.liddiment@bbc.co.uk
Trustee - Mehmuda Mian Pritchard - mehmuda.mian.pritchard@bbc.co.uk
Trustee - Richard Tait - richard.tait@bbc.co.uk

Also send an email marked "URGENT - For the Attention of all BBC Trust Trustees" to - trust.enquiries@bbc.co.uk - this will provide hard copy and/or a faxed copy and/or an an additional email copy to their main private (non BBC) email address (according to their standing instructions with the BBC Trust office's staff) to any Trust members who do not regularly check their BBC email address (the minority from my previous experience where most emails are being read within a few hours and often in the evening)
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« Last Edit: Apr 18th, 2008 at 2:23pm by NGMsGhost »  

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NGMsGhost
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Re: URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Memb
Reply #2 - Apr 18th, 2008 at 4:14pm
 
A call from my main contact at the BBC Viewer & Listeners Section today indicated that we may be pushing at a door that is already fairly ready to fall open on this issue.

He wouldn't commit himself firmly on the recommendation in the paper to the board except that he then let out "perhaps will be the first major public sector organisation to switch to 03"......... I had to tell him that a Police force and an out of hours PCT number (not to mention the Ofcom Contact Centre) had already beaten the BBC to it in the public sector.

So no harm I would say in writing to the BBC saying you hear they are discussing a possible change to 03 number use on Monday and that you strongly support any recommendation to the BBC Board to switch to 03 as a method of enhancing the BBC's reputation over phone numbers and ensuring that consumers of all income groups can engage with it.

However I think it would be a mistake to slate or attack the BBC's senior management too heavily over previous BBC misdeeds on 084/7 as it appears that the decision is probably likely to go our way and so we don't want to look like a dangerous group of unreasonable radicals as this might allow those not on our side (I would strongly suspect Zarin Patel the finance director and John Smith, the former tough nut Chief Operating Officer and now head of the commercial  BBC worldwide - who both always delete my emails on this topic without reading them  - probably fall in to this camp) to try to persuade the Board to select any other less palatable alternatives in the paper such as the BBC switching to all 0845 or 5p per minute 0844 numbers.

So its probably best to congratulate the BBC senior execs on recognising the importance of this issue and encourage them to do the right thing on Monday on 03 in order to improve and restore the BBC's public perception with the average UK licence payer (i.e. their customers).
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« Last Edit: Apr 18th, 2008 at 4:15pm by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Memb
Reply #3 - Apr 18th, 2008 at 4:26pm
 
NGMsGhost wrote on Apr 18th, 2008 at 4:14pm:
So its probably best to congratulate the BBC senior execs on recognising the importance of this issue and encourage them to do the right thing on Monday on 03 in order to improve and restore the BBC's public perception with the average UK licence payer (i.e. their customers).

And their paymasters.
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After years of ignoring govt. guidelines & RIPPING OFF Council Tax payers using 0845 numbers, Essex County Council changed to 0345 numbers on 2 November 2015
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Re: URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Memb
Reply #4 - Apr 18th, 2008 at 4:31pm
 
Heinz wrote on Apr 18th, 2008 at 4:26pm:
And their paymasters.


I thought a paymaster was somebody able to control your actions and/or your budget.  Whereas BBC licence payers just pay for the service and as it is also compulsory to pay (unless you wish to make do without owning a television at all) they then have no ability to even show their displeasure with the BBC by taking their custom to another broadcasting organisation.

That is of course how we got to 084/7 being introduced as the decision was taken without ever asking licence payers whether they were for it or against it.
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« Last Edit: Apr 18th, 2008 at 4:33pm by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Memb
Reply #5 - Apr 18th, 2008 at 7:36pm
 
Heinz wrote on Apr 18th, 2008 at 4:26pm:
And their paymasters.


I thought the BBC's paymaster was the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, with whom the settlement was recently renegotiated. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could advise whether this is enacted using prerogative powers, so the true paymaster is Her Majesty, or by a resolution of parliament.

To prevent the BBC from being subject to undue political pressure in what it does and says, it is not directly accountable for its actions, not to licence fee payers, or to any form of what we would understand as a democratic institution. It is only through lobbying members of the BBC Trust that a citizen could expect to be heard. The BBC executive is of course aware of this and makes every effort to appear accountable to listeners, viewers and website users.

I do however agree with NGMsG; if a victory is about to be announced, now is not the time to have a go. For now, we must stand ready to believe that the recently redesigned BBC model of governance is the best there could be.


If the BBC is to move to 03, then let it make as much noise about it as it wishes (even touching the boundaries of strict factual accuracy if it so desires). The BBC is in a much better position to promote knowledge and use of 03, than Ofcom or ourselves. Ofcom's paymasters would not take kindly to it paying for the amount of TV advertising of 03 that the BBC could provide.
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Re: URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Memb
Reply #6 - Apr 18th, 2008 at 8:10pm
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Apr 18th, 2008 at 7:36pm:
I do however agree with NGMsG; if a victory is about to be announced, now is not the time to have a go. For now, we must stand ready to believe that the recently redesigned BBC model of governance is the best there could be.


I believe the miraculous Road To Damascus like conversion at the BBC apparently about to take place is due to the extraordinarily bad publicity over scams on 09 prize and voting lines suffered by the BBC and other broadcasters.  The change subsequently has been quite dramatic as most of the disgusting late night 09 quiz shows where it was almost impossible to win the prize and almost no one actually got through have now been scrapped on mainstream channels (except Five where the host is a particlarly nauseous gentleman who still whips naive and lonely prople up in to a frenzy of "you can win, win, win" or similar).

A decision was clearly taken by the BBC to restore its image on the phone call front following the Blue Peter and other similar scams.  They have therefore decided to extend this to 03 numbers where they know that they had a lower level bad image and many, many complaints to BBC Information.  I suspect this is being pushed through by Mark Thompson (the Director General) and one or two other senior directors responible for corporate image over the heads of the pleadings of Capita and Cable & Wireless that they could go on getting away with 084/7 number use.

Quote:
The BBC is in a much better position to promote knowledge and use of 03, than Ofcom or ourselves. Ofcom's paymasters would not take kindly to it paying for the amount of TV advertising of 03 that the BBC could provide.


Indeed if the BBC does move to 03 then I would expect various BBC programs that could investigate the 084/7 scam properly (eg particularly Panorama) might suddenly be inclined to take a much more active interest in this subject.  It is perfectly ok to admit the BBC was hoodwinked by Cable & Wireless and Capita in to participating in a massive scam 084/7 industry if by the time the Panorama expose program occurs the BBC can say it has kicked the habit and is now beyond reproach.

If the BBC does go to 03 I believe it will have a massive domino effect on the public sector from people like the NHS Direct through the DVLA and Immigration and Passport Service to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to Employment Benefit etc.  The BBC is sure to promote the use of their new 03 number and it only being the price of a normal call extensively in order to derive the maximum PR benefit from the change. Smiley
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« Last Edit: Apr 18th, 2008 at 8:25pm by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Memb
Reply #7 - Apr 24th, 2008 at 4:35pm
 
What happened then?
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Re: URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Memb
Reply #8 - Apr 25th, 2008 at 1:18am
 
Cruz wrote on Apr 24th, 2008 at 4:35pm:
What happened then?


The BBC haven't volunteered any information so I will have to email my contact to ask him what decision was taken.  However he may perhaps have been annoyed about my post on this website encouraging people to email the BBC Executive's Directors.  This may then in turn have caused the Executive Board members to ask some interesting questions about why they were receiving lobbying emails on this matter before the meeting.

Anyhow I will ask and see if he will tell me what happened.  Failing that the BBC will publish minutes of the decisions taken at this meeting on its website in due course.
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Re: URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Memb
Reply #9 - May 8th, 2008 at 5:37pm
 
A massive result!!

Just got an email from BBC Trust Unit. An extract -

"The BBC's management has been considering the process of changing from using 0870 numbers and decided on 22 April 2008 to move to 0370 numbers. These are charged at the same UK-wide rate as 01 and 02 geographical numbers and therefore included in the many discount packages offered by different telecom providers. "


Well done everyone, I am sure this is a major victory and I think it has been brought about, in large part,  by the small band of campaigners on this site.

I am looking forward to sticking this one to the DVLA, DSS and Sky etc.



Mike
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Re: URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Memb
Reply #10 - May 8th, 2008 at 6:11pm
 
mikeparris wrote on May 8th, 2008 at 5:37pm:
Just got an email from BBC Trust Unit. An extract -

"The BBC's management has been considering the process of changing from using 0870 numbers and decided on 22 April 2008 to move to 0370 numbers. These are charged at the same UK-wide rate as 01 and 02 geographical numbers and therefore included in the many discount packages offered by different telecom providers. "

Well done to the BBC for switching to 03. Smiley

This shows that the BBC is not convinced that Ofcom's proposals for 0870 reform will be effective.

We should note that ITV is going in the opposite direction and changing towards 0844 revenue sharing numbers for viewers' enquiries and all its offices' direct dialling in numbers.
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Re: URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Memb
Reply #11 - May 8th, 2008 at 6:11pm
 
Fantastic! Well done everyone.  Cheesy

I wonder what factors went into their decision?
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Re: URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Memb
Reply #12 - May 8th, 2008 at 6:33pm
 
longusername wrote on May 8th, 2008 at 6:11pm:
Fantastic! Well done everyone.  Cheesy

I wonder what factors went into their decision?

I hope it had something to do with the ever-so-polite e-mail I sent to Tim Davie on 19 April 2008.

Quote:
I understand the BBC is shortly to make a decision on whether to abandon 087 numbers and change exclusively to 03 numbers.

Like many people, I rarely call 084, 087 or 09 numbers because, although only the last is officially designated as a 'Premium Rate' number, I regard the others as premium rate too - simply because I would have to pay a premium if I called them (all my calls to normal numbers are included in my telephone package).

What has urged me to write to you to express my view is that my local police force (Essex Police) took the lead last month by introducing a 0300 number for non-emergency contact.  Having served as an officer in that force for more than 30 years (8 years in the communications department), I was particularly proud they took such a brave decision.

I hope the BBC can similarly 'take the lead' and recover some of the high ground it used to hold.

Kind regards.

P.S. I have never understood why you have some freephone numbers - perhaps scrapping them would be a good money-saver!

But if it didn't, who cares?
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« Last Edit: May 8th, 2008 at 6:35pm by sergeant121 »  

How can you tell when a lawyer's lying?  His (or her) lips move.
 
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Re: URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Memb
Reply #13 - May 8th, 2008 at 6:46pm
 
Dave wrote on May 8th, 2008 at 6:11pm:
We should note that ITV is going in the opposite direction and changing towards 0844 revenue sharing numbers for viewers' enquiries and all its offices' direct dialling in numbers.

But ITV has got to rake in as much as it can to pay the £5,760,000 Ofcom fine imposed for ripping viewers off with premium rate phone-ins.
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After years of ignoring govt. guidelines & RIPPING OFF Council Tax payers using 0845 numbers, Essex County Council changed to 0345 numbers on 2 November 2015
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Re: URGENT -BBC 03 Decision 21/4- Email Board Memb
Reply #14 - May 8th, 2008 at 7:48pm
 
Well done everyone and well done NGM Ghost for starting the thread in the first place.

Is it worth us all emailing ITV and pointing out:

a) the difference between them and the BBC in their actions
b) how the publicity of using an 0844 may appear after todays action by OFCOM - looks like lessons haven't been learnt.
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