The BBC Trust has today published its annual workplan detailing its key priorities for 2012/13 which includes an impartiality review of the broadcaster's coverage of the Arab Spring with the findings due to be published later this summer.
The review, announced in October last year, was among a number of focal points published in the workplan for 2012/13, including service reviews of BBC Online/CBeebies as well as independent audits of its financial management and move to Media City in Salford from London. These will be key priorities for the corporation as it continues to make efficiency savings in line with the Trust's 11 per cent target for 2016/17, the report states.
In the workplan, the trust said: "Our main focus this year will be to oversee the delivery of this target. An important aspect of our work will be monitoring performance alongside savings to ensure that the [efficiency] programme does not jeopardise the BBC delivering distinctive, high quality output for licence fee payers."
Edward Mortimer, senior vice-president of the Salzburg Global Seminar and a former UN director of communications and expert in Middle East affairs, will chair the Arab Spring impartiality review which, according to the workplan, will feature "content analysis, interviews with interested parties, and audience research".
It is the fourth such review to be undertaken by the corporation as it seeks to uphold its editorial commitment to impartiality.
Other objectives detailed in the workplan include conducting an impartiality seminar on the BBC's economic reporting and implementing a revised complaints framework for the corporation. BBC Online will undergo review in the autumn and the BBC's children's output will follow early next year.
Furthermore, in light of the 2011 BBC agreement which states the trust "must annually adopt an audit programme", the National Audit Office has selected its two areas of focus regarding the corporation for this year. It will report on the effectiveness of BBC financial management systems in the autumn and the corporation's move from London to Media City, Salford, in the winter.
And with the licence fee frozen at £145.50 until 2017, the BBC will adopt five new "funding obligations" during next year as certain branches of its operation become funded by the licence fee, including its S4C partnership and BBC Monitoring service and, from 2014, the World Service.