Date: 16.10.2012Last updated: 27.03.2014 at 11.18

Category: Corporate

The BBC today announced that former Court of Appeal judge Dame Janet Smith DBE will lead the independent review into Jimmy Savile and former Head of Sky News Nick Pollard will lead the review into Newsnight.

Dame Janet and Nick Pollard have been appointed by the BBC Executive Board, chaired in this instance by Dame Fiona Reynolds, and agreed by the BBC Trust.

The Pollard Review will seek to establish whether there were any failings in the BBC’s management of the Newsnight investigation relating to allegations of sexual abuse of children by Jimmy Savile, including the broadcast of tribute programmes on the BBC.

The review will also look at the BBC’s handling of material that might have been of interest to the police or relevant authorities. This review is expected to begin as a matter of urgency.

Dame Janet will lead the review into the culture and practices of the BBC during the years that Jimmy Savile worked at the BBC. It will also examine whether the BBC’s child protection and whistleblowing policies are fit for purpose.

The Smith Review will commence only once the Police have indicated they are happy for it to proceed.

Dame Janet will be assisted, as required, by an expert in the safeguarding of children. Dame Janet and Nick Pollard will be provided with legal support independent of the BBC’s management.

Dame Fiona Reynolds said: “These reviews will demonstrate the BBC’s determination to open itself fully to scrutiny from independent experts, emphasising our belief that the basis of the public’s trust is full openness and accountability.”

BBC Press Office

Terms of reference

The BBC’s Executive Board, chaired in this instance by Dame Fiona Reynolds, has commissioned the following two independent reviews:

NEWSNIGHT (POLLARD REVIEW)

  • Were there any failings in the BBC’s management of the Newsnight investigation?

The review will establish whether there were any failings in the BBC’s management of the Newsnight investigation relating to allegations of sexual abuse of children by Jimmy Savile, including the broadcast of tribute programmes on the BBC.

This will encompass the BBC’s handling of material derived from the investigation that could have been of interest to the police or relevant authorities and whether any inappropriate managerial pressure or consideration may have influenced the decision of the Editor of Newsnight.

It will be led by Nick Pollard who will be provided with support and legal advice, as required, independent of the BBC’s management.  The Newsnight review will start immediately and aims to report as a matter of urgency.

JIMMY SAVILE (SMITH REVIEW)

The review will:

  • receive evidence from those people who allege that they were sexually abused by Jimmy Savile on BBC premises or on location for the BBC, and from others who claim to have raised concerns about Jimmy Savile’s activities (whether formally or informally) within the BBC;
  • investigate the extent to which BBC personnel were or ought to have been aware of unlawful and/or inappropriate conduct by Jimmy Savile on BBC premises or on location for the BBC, and consider whether the culture and practices within the BBC during the years of Jimmy Savile’s employment enabled the sexual abuse of children to continue unchecked;
  • in the light of findings of fact in respect of the above, consider whether the BBC’s current child protection and whistle blowing policies are fit for purpose and identify the lessons to be learned from the evidence uncovered by the review.

The Jimmy Savile review will be chaired by an external, independent individual – Dame Janet Smith DBE – who will be assisted, as required, by an expert in the safeguarding of children and will be provided with legal support independent of the BBC’s management. The Jimmy Savile review will commence only once the Police have indicated they are happy for it to proceed.

These Terms of Reference for both independent reviews have been proposed by the BBC’s Executive Board and approved by the BBC Trust.

The independent reviews will report to the BBC Executive Board, chaired for purposes connected to these reviews by non-executive Director Dame Fiona Reynolds, the Senior Independent Director Designate.

Appropriate procedures will be put in place to manage any potential conflicts of interest with Executive Directors including the Director-General.

Each review will submit a written report to the BBC’s Executive Board, making any recommendations for future action that it deems appropriate. The Executive Board will assess the conclusions and recommendations of the reports and identify any actions it proposes to take before submitting the reports, in full and unamended, to the BBC Trust.

The Trust will consider the reports alongside any proposed actions of the Executive Board. The Trust will then publish the reports subject to any redactions made for legal reasons, for example data protection, with any directions for any further or different action to be taken by the BBC.

Please note that the terms of reference to the Dame Janet Smith Review were updated on 4 June 2013. The updated terms can be read here.

Please note that the terms of reference to the Dame Janet Smith Review were further updated on 27 March 2014. The updated terms can be read here.

Notes to Editors

These Terms of Reference for both independent reviews have been proposed by the BBC’s Executive Board and approved by the BBC Trust.

The Director-General, George Entwistle, absented himself from the Executive Board for the appointment of the two chairs and the agreement of the terms of reference of the reviews. He took no part in discussions around these decisions.

The independent reviews will report to the BBC Executive Board, chaired for purposes connected to these reviews by Non-executive Director Dame Fiona Reynolds, the Senior Independent Director Designate.

Appropriate procedures will be put in place to manage any potential conflicts of interest with Executive Directors including the Director-General.

Each review will submit a written report to the BBC’s Executive Board, making any recommendations for future action that it deems appropriate.

The Executive Board will assess the conclusions and recommendations of the reports and identify any actions it proposes to take before submitting the reports, in full and unamended, to the BBC Trust.

The Trust will consider the reports alongside any proposed actions of the Executive Board. The Trust will then publish the reports subject to any redactions made for legal reasons, for example data protection, with any directions for any further or different action to be taken by the BBC.

Nick Pollard

Nick Pollard is Chief Executive of British Forces Broadcasting. His distinguished career in British journalism has spanned 40 years, and includes 10 years as Head of Sky News and nearly 13 years at ITN where he was Executive Producer of News at Ten and responsible for General Election coverage in 1983, 1987 and 1992.

Nick’s work for ITN on the first Gulf War was recognised with the Gold Award at the New York International Television Awards, and a BAFTA nomination.

Nick began his journalistic career as a local newspaper journalist in 1968. He joined BBC Radio Merseyside as a reporter and presenter, and worked in both Radio News and TV News before joining ITN in 1980.

Nick is a Fellow of the Royal Television Society and in 2007 was awarded the RTS’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Television Journalism. He was Chairman of the RTS’s annual Journalism Awards from 2008-2011.

Dame Janet Smith, DBE

Dame Janet Smith was born in Stockport in 1940.

She was called to the Bar in 1972 and practised in Manchester, developing special interests in personal injury, industrial disease and clinical negligence work. Janet was appointed QC in 1986 and Recorder in 1988. In 1992 Janet conducted an inquiry into the abuse of children at a special school in Lancaster and was subsequently appointed High Court Judge, Queen’s Bench Division, in November 1992. Between 1995 and 1998 Janet was the Presiding Judge of North Eastern Circuit and from 2001 until 2005, she was the Chairman of the Shipman Inquiry. In 2002 Janet was appointed to the Court of Appeal.

In 2003, Janet was appointed Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, a position she held until 2009. After retiring from the Court of Appeal, in 2011, Janet was appointed as the Independent Assessor for Miscarriages of Justice, a post she retains. In January 2012 she became Treasurer of Lincoln’s Inn.

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