Readers of Press Gazette will know we have an interest in keeping tabs on the size of the BBC's PR operation: see here and here.

So when one of our Freedom of Information requests revealed earlier this year that the BBC's communications "family" comprised 241 individuals, we thought: That's a story. 

The FoI question, submitted on 18 March, asked for a list of job titles and the number of people in the BBC who held them. The corporation was not able to go into this much detail, it said, but offered to list the size of various job "families". 

The communications figure of 241 stood out. Pariticularly as it came after we reported that there were 220 communications contacts listed on its website and were told by the BBC press office that this was a "fantasy".

Alas, when the story was put to the BBC press office at the end of May, the response came: "These figures are wrong. You will be getting a note from the FOI team shortly making clear the figures are not correct and they will send you a correction as soon as possible. We wouldn’t expect you to use these figures until a correct version has been sent out." (Sorry).

Despite Axegrinder's cries of "publish and be damned" his boss told him no, so we waited for the corrected response.

Six months on from the original request - and after numerous emails to the BBC's FoI team (it is seemingly impossible to speak to them on the telephone) - we're still waiting to find out whether the truth is higher or lower than 241.

So let's just say its 241 and see if a correction arrives.

Axegrinder has noted that the publication of any stories which mention the subject of BBC charter renewal prompt and near instantaneous comment from the BBC press office, whether it was asked for or not.

Perhaps with CHARTER RENEWAL looming at the end of 2016, the BBC needs as many press officers as it can muster to make the case for preserving the current level of licence fee funding?

Your move BBC press office/FoI team!



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