Screenshot of BBC News website
Up to 360 posts within BBC Online are to be cut by 2013 as part of a 25 per cent budget reduction within the division, a BBC Trust report revealed today.

The restructuring detailed in the Trust's report, published today, also includes the closure or automation of most of BBC Online's bespoke news programme sites and the closure of some specialist blogs.

Today's report sets out the BBC Trust's approval of the plans, drawn up by the BBC Executive plans. The Trust's report follows an endorsement of the cuts in last year's Putting Quality First (PQF) strategy proposals for the corporation as a whole.

The PQF strategy outlined plans to cut spending on BBC Online by 25 per cent, "with a corresponding reduction in staffing levels".

"Our latest analysis indicates that the PQF changes are likely to entail a total of circa 360 net post closures," says today's report.

It's understood the job cuts will impact across other areas of the BBC where staff work partly online, such as specialist correspondents working across several platforms.

The restructuring plans will also involve the number of 'top level domains', e.g., being halved from around 400 to 200, and the number of 'products' reduced from around 60 to 10.

Proposals for local news sites will include the removal of local listings, people and places, nature and outdoors, Video Nation and Black Country, and Bradford and Wear local sites.

In sport there is also a planned reduction in the breadth of sport news and live sport and greater automation, with interactivity focused more on major stories and sports events, according to the report.

The Trust approval of the cuts was made without a Public Value Test, following its conclusion that the proposed changes did not reflect a 'significant' change.

In terms of absolute funding changes, all product groupings will have a reduced cash funding position by 2013/14, with News, Sport & Weather facing a cut of £5.6 million.

In an announcement today, the Trust said it felt that the Executive strategy addresses the challenges put forward by the Trust in July 2010 and "is consistent with the Putting Quality First strategy that we have now set".

"We also consider that the changes to BBC Online may help to clarify the BBC's activities in relation to the wider online market, and improve the quality and navigability of the site for licence fee payer," the Trust added.

The Trust says it will now look at the management controls for BBC Online and report on its findings before the end of the 2011/12 financial year.

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