BBC set for wholesale panel shake-up

The BBC has kick-started the first full-scale review of its legal panel since 1999.

A BBC spokeswoman confirmed to The Lawyer that a review was underway and that it was a routine procedure. “This is a fine-tuning exercise to ensure all our legal requirements are met – it will take several months to complete,” she said.

The BBC currently has relationships with seven firms including Linklaters, Lovells, Richards Butler and Olswang.

Meanwhile, BBC Scotland is undertaking a separate review of its external legal advisers. The firms currently on BBC Scotland’s legal panel include Scottish firms Burness and Maclay Murray & Spens. BBC Scotland also outsources legal work to Masons on an ad hoc basis.

Commenting on the review in Scotland, BBC Scotland’s legal head Alistair Bonning-ton said: “Every large organisation is looking at external services. It is very much a buyer’s market so it’s a good opportunity to look at whether or not we’re getting a reasonable standard for a reasonable fee.”
The review in England is being handled by BBC general counsel Nicholas Eldred with assistance from his deputy, David Sergeant.