BBC South West is being upgraded to Video Server working.
Currently staff are being trained. This is putting a train on the staff and resources, since staffing levels are paired to the bone following the Value for Money cut backs.
Members had complained that meal breaks were being shortened to as little as 15mins in some cases in order to allow the carrying out of normal duties as well as training. Management undertook to look into the issue and try and tweak shift times etc to avoid this problem continuing.
The Unions noted that it will be necessary to monitor and review the finish times of members working the late shift. In other regions, when the server has been introduced, some members have finished their shifts very late (after midnight). In some cases this was due to excessive workload re-cutting pictures for the Breakfast opt, in others a skills issue was to blame, and in other cases, excessive “polishing” of the edit led to long hours. It was agreed that the “Training Mentors” would keep an eye out for this issue during the early days after “Go-Live”. All being well “Go-Live” is July 23rd.
There was a small contingency fund to provide extra training courses outside the normal BBC provided ones. This has been used for example to provide 1st Aid training locally rather than send staff to London, which by the time travel and accommodation are paid, costs more!
Staffing levels at Radio Devon were raised by the NUJ. It would seem that there are two staff on sick leave, leaving a shortage of News staff to fill the Rota of 14. Management advised that one post has been advertised for filling on a contract basis, the other on a freelance basis. This was something that they would continue to monitor. The Editor thanked his staff for managing during a difficult time, but reminded the Unions that his station had had to save 10% of his budget under VfM cuts. He has already cut back on weekday late news bulletins, and some weekend ones. Late shifts now finish at 20:00 hrs
If any further cuts in budgets were handed down as a result of the post licence fee review, he could see that his only option would be to reduce some of the things that Radio Devon currently does, eg. reduce the number of hours of output.
Diversity: The region still falls short of it’s target, despite initiatives to try and improve the figure. The target does not seem to bear any relation to the actual makeup of the local populace, where there are is considerably lower ethnicity than the target. This is especially true on the Channel Islands.
Next meeting: August 8th 2007
Posted by Dan Cooke
Filed under: BBC English Regions