Pressure is mounting on the BBC to accept plans to reform its board of governors.
The news follows calls from broadcasting and consumer organisations to bring the corporation under a fully independent system of broadcast regulation.
Such reforms are regarded as inevitable following news that the culture secretary, Chris Smith, is said to favour the idea of bringing the governors under an independent regulator. He has voiced concerns about plans to switch current affairs and arts programmes from BBC1 to other channels.
The BBC maintains that the governors play an important part in dealing with political interference as well as keeping tabs on how the £2.3 billion generated by the licence fee is spent.
However Smith has unveiled tests that the BBC will have to pass before it can change its existing services. They are said to be among the most significant constraints ever placed on its long-term ambitions.