Ofcom to take charge of BBC

The BBC Trust will be axed and its powers handed to the communications regulator Ofcom, Westminster sources have revealed.

For the first time in the broadcaster’s nearly century-long history, it will be governed by an external body, as part of the renegotiation of the BBC Charter.

The move is expected to be signalled in a Green Paper that will formally trigger Charter renewal negotiations within weeks.

It comes after John Whittingdale, the new Culture Secretary, insisted that he does not have a “vendetta” against the corporation but warned that it needed a “very robust system in place” to deal with issues of impartiality.

The move will mark a partial rejection of the proposals of Rona Fairhead, the chairman of the Trust, who earlier this year suggested it should be replaced with a new “bespoke” body dedicated to regulation of the BBC.

Ministers are instead planning an expanded remit for Ofcom, which also acts as the watchdog for the telecoms and commercial media industries.

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