- 14 Nov 23
The document arrives against the backdrop of last summer’s funding scandals which greatly damaged the national public broadcaster’s reputation amongst the population.
RTÉ has published a new ten-point plan with the intention of radically transforming the organisation.
The national public broadcaster has also confirmed a potentially controversial series of cuts to planned expenditure in 2024 as part of an immediate cost-control programme.
Developed in response to the “urgent need for transformation and a restoration of trust”, the plan will involve consultation with Government, audiences, the creative sector, and staff.
The following are the ten key areas of likely reform detailed in RTÉ’s ‘New Direction’ plan:
- A New Vision for Public Service
- A New Approach on Value for Money
- A New Take on Nationwide Production
- A New Organisation
- A New Strategy for Sectoral Support
- New Digital Products
- New Digital Experiences
- New Protections for Free-to-Air Access
- A New Approach on Financial Management
- A New Framework for Better Governance
The plan also commits to a 50% increase in commissioning spend by 2028; a new ambition to better reflect Ireland by investing in production centres outside Dublin; a reduction in staff through “investment in technology, skills and people” - supported by a voluntary exit scheme; a range of financial and governance reforms; and the setting of a maximum pay cap.
To facilitate meeting the “immediate and significant financial challenges” it faces, RTÉ will also implement a minimum of €10m of cuts in expenditure planned for 2024. This commitment – unlikely to be popular with unions at hte station – includes cuts to content, the aforementioned voluntary exit programme, a freeze in recruitment, a pause on discretionary spend and the postponement of capital and strategic projects.
RTÉ has confirmed that Ryan Tubridy will not be returning to work at the national broadcaster. In an email to staff, DG Kevin Bakhurst said he had decided not to continue with contract negotiations due to a break down in trust | Read more: https://t.co/Cu1CPzgfBJ pic.twitter.com/pFgSGf1XoR
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) August 17, 2023
“The document we have published today sets out the strategic direction and vision for a transformed RTÉ, and is the blueprint for RTÉ’s forthcoming Statement of Strategy 2024-2028," said Director-General Kevin Bakhurst.
“As we await a decision on how public media in Ireland will be funded, we recognise the urgent need to restore trust,” he continued. “While RTÉ will become smaller in size across the life of this strategy, the scale of RTÉ’s public service ambition, and our ambition for the role that RTÉ will play in Irish life, will not be diminished.”
“2024 will be a challenging year and one in which we will have to manage our cost base carefully. Hard choices will be made,” he added.
“My hope, however, is that we will enter 2025 armed with a robust strategy that makes the best use of the monies available to fund our national media service, monies we will invest as wisely and strategically as possible to improve the invaluable contribution of public service media to life in Ireland.”