Sunday 26 June 2022

Into the Labyrinth again

Just checking through our archive for our use of the word 'labyrinthine' - plus 'labyrinth' - to describe the BBC's tortuous complaints process, I find I've used it in five posts over the years - in 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2019.

So it's gratifying to find that a former BBC head of news, Roger Mosey, and Ofcom's Kevin Bakhurst, both used exactly the same term to describe the BBC complaints process on this week's The Media Show on BBC Radio 4.

It feels like vindication.

Roger Mosey described the BBC as being “rather bad at accountability”:
Roger Mosey: And now I'm outside the BBC you see that accountability is really important, and it's very crucial for the BBC that it is accountable. I think it's rather bad at accountability really. The complaints process is very complicated. I've only ever...Since I've been outside I've made one complaint in eight and a half years. And I know the system. And you just got stuck in this labyrinth of not being able to work out how it was that you got anyone to acknowledge that there was a genuine issue there. 

And former BBC high-up now their regulator Kevin Bakhurst said that people get lost in the process and don't like the tone of the BBC's responses and “give up the ghost” - and also rather deliciously skewers a BBC 'defence' here:

Ros Atkins, BBC: But help me dig into the detail here. And, Kevin, you're the one making the request. So let me ask you, if I Google now 'BBC Complaints' I'm quite easily gonna end up on a page which says 'What would you like to say to us?', so the problem is presumably not that. The problem for you is what happens after that? 

Kevin Bakhurst: I mean, our research shows audiences can Google it and find their way in really, really easily and quickly, and they approve of that. And, by the way, in general they approve of BBC First as the right way to deal with complaints. However, once they get into that system, they get lost. And, as Roger says, it is really labyrinthine for audiences. That's what our research shows. They are not quite sure where they are in the process, they don't like the tone of language they get in responses from the BBC, many of them...when we were discussing this with the BBC, the BBC said, well, you know, it's a measure of our success that people don't come through to Ofcom that much at the end. Our research shows people don't come through to Ofcom because they've given up the ghost going through the BBC complaints process, and don't really understand where they are or how to advance them.

 As we've long said.

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