Director-General Tony Hall, left, set out plans for what he is calling an “open” BBC in a speech at London’s Science Museum this morning.
Among the headline intiatives will be a proposal to create a pool of reporters to provide impartial reporting on councils and public services.
The content generated by the team would be able to be used by both the BBC along with commercial local news outlets.
The corporation is also planning to set up a “News Bank” of regional or local video and audio content which could be accessed by local newspapers.
And it wants to create a hub for data journalism, in partnership with a leading university, that would make BBC expertise in data journalism available to local news groups.
Lord Hall said: “We will open up the BBC to other news providers, through a new partnership which we hope will help local journalism to thrive.
“We’ve been working with our local newspaper partners on an exciting scheme.
“Local democracy really interests me. I’ve seen for myself how important our local radio stations are, and I’m really proud of the way they serve their communities. But I now want us to go further.
“So, in future, The BBC would set aside licence fee funding to invest in a service that reports on Councils, courts and public services. And we would make available our regional video and local audio for immediate use on the internet services of local and regional news organisations.”
A BBC source added: “The growth of online news has had a big impact on the local news industry.
“While the BBC is not the cause of that, we do believe local news is essential for a strong democracy and we want to be part of the solution.”
However the Scottish Newspaper Society described the plan as a “Trojan horse” which would undermine local newspapers and destroy local news agencies.
Its director John McLellan said: “Instead of helping local news publishers, it would make the BBC even more powerful and would further concentrate coverage of news in the hands of the state-funded broadcaster.”
In his speech, Lord Hall set out the goal of a reshaped BBC that would become “an open platform for British creativity”.
“Let me be clear, an open BBC is a million miles away from an expansionist ambition. Indeed, it is the polar opposite. It comes from the desire to partner and share,” he said.
“With more partnerships with creative industries – ideas service, iPlay, local news – and cooperation. A BBC doing more for Britain at home and abroad. A more distinctive BBC.
“Our new, open BBC will be a true partner with other organisations. It will also strike a new relationship with audiences that will allow them to do so much more. Our new, open BBC will inform, educate, entertain – and enable.”
Today’s announcements will form part of the BBC’s submission on renewing its Royal Charter, which expires at the end of 2016.
The moves are being seen as an attempt by the BBC to head off ministerial attempts to curtail its output amid criticism that it has become “imperial” in its ambitions. The full text of Lord Hall’s speech can be read here.
In a separate development, regional publisher Local World has called for the BBC to outsource some of its news gathering to independent providers in the way it already does with production.
The call came in a submission to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport which is overseeing the Charter Renewal process.
Local World chief executive David Montgomery said: “We believe an ‘indie quota’ mechanism that enables the BBC to deploy some of its news and current affairs budget to commission independent, qualifying, local news agencies to cover professional reporting of courts and local government and make that available to local newspapers, as well as the BBC, is an imaginative step.
“It is our belief that this will lead to greater coverage, higher quality content, support for the training and development of journalists and value for licence fee payers. “