THE new head of BBC Scotland has admitted the corporation lost the trust of “a significant number” of people after the independence referendum and that there is still work required to regain it.

Donalda MacKinnon, the former head of programmes and services for BBC Scotland, took over as its director earlier this month from Ken MacQuarrie, who is now the BBC’s director of nations and regions. She is BBC Scotland’s senior editorial figure and is responsible for its content on radio, television and online.

In an interview with The National, she said trust was the foundation of the BBC and she was proud that the majority of viewers and listeners did trust it.


She added: “However, there is a significant number still in Scotland whose trust we lost, and I think there’s still a bit of work to be done in that regard. I think it’s part of my mission to try and address these perceptions which may have led to that loss of trust.

“I don’t think that’s across the piece, but I think we have to be alive to it and I think part what I’m trying to do is to demonstrate that we want to be open; we want to understand why people don’t trust us; we want to be able to explain what it is that we do more clearly perhaps.

“There will be efforts taken particularly on my part and on the part of colleagues here to do a bit more of that.”

Mackinnon, who had been acting director after MacQuarrie’s appointment, said her new job was a great privilege, but also a major responsibility.

She said there were challenges that had to be faced, and among her priorities was increasing drama output and addressing deficits in BBC Scotland’s news service.

A recent study showed licence fee spend in Scotland was only 55 per cent compared to 74 per cent in Ireland, 95 per cent in Wales and more than 100 per cent in England, and MacKinnon said she wanted to see more of the money raised from the licence fee in Scotland being spent here.

“That’s a figure that concerns me and I think I certainly aim to amend that so there is more of the licence fee collected in Scotland spent in Scotland, and there are a number of ways we can do that.

“There are other things that we need to address here – drama is one of them. I would like to see our network supply increase not just in television but in radio and indeed online.

“We will look to whatever this new Charter settlement is in terms of what additional spend might come up the tracks.

“We’ve obviously had a pretty difficult time since the licence fee settlement last summer and there are challenges ahead for the BBC generally in terms of saving money. But is it right that more of the licence fee raised here is spent here.”