BBC Trust critical of Web portal management

Online division went 48% over budget in 2007

LONDON -- BBC bosses have been accused of poor financial management of Web portal bbc.co.uk, after a report by the BBC Trust found it had gone 48% over budget last year.

The report of the BBC's online division published by the Trust, which acts as the pubcaster's oversight committee, said the overspend of 36 million pounds ($71 million) represented a "serious breach" of bbc.co.uk's service license.

The BBC Trust also said it would suspend plans for new investment and "restructure" the BBC's service license because it did not "offer adequate accountability for the BBC's online activities."

The Trust said it will not approve new investment plans for the 110 million pounds a year service, unless they pass a "public value test" and are subject to "improved management control."

BBC management said in a statement that they were developing plans that "meet the concerns raised in the report, and provide a high level of reassurance to the BBC Trust that additional controls will be quickly implemented."
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