Life in the UK today:
The role and citizen impact of Public Service Broadcasting
— research commissioned by the BBC Trust
The BBC Trust commissioned this independent desk research from SIRC on life in the UK today as part of a programme of work supporting its submission to Ofcom's second review of Public Service Broadcasting.
As a complement to the extensive work contributed by other players on the rapid advances in technology and consumer behaviour, the work is designed to review and present the available data on broader social trends which may impact on PSB in the future. This includes such issues as population, family life, identity, work and money, children and young people.
The work has drawn on a wide range of statistical data, analysis and commentary. The aim has been to look beyond the numbers themselves to what they mean in terms of the everyday experiences of citizens in our society. We have also focused on the role of PSB in reflecting these changes and its responsibility to facilitate and encourage social cohesion. This duty is clearly mandated by Ofcom who noted in their Second Public Service Broadcasting Review the need for programmes to reflect 'the UK in all its facets' — this being 'essential to maintaining our cultural identity and social cohesion'. This is consistent with two of the four purposes of PSB as defined by Ofcom — 'to reflect and strengthen our cultural identity' and 'to make us aware of different cultures and alternative viewpoints'.
Looking at the BBC in particular, the BBC's Public Purposes also reflect the BBC's duties to sustain citizenship and civil society, including a requirement to engage a wide audience in news, current affairs and other topical issues, and to encourage conversation and debate in these areas.
Our interpretation of the data and their potential implications for PSB is necessarily our own — others of course may well draw different conclusions from the same data.
Click here to access the full document from the BBC's website. (pdf format)