Statement regarding the inquest into the death of Russell Joslin

Date: 05.07.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.02
Category: Corporate
The BBC has today issued the following statement regarding the inquest into the death of Russell Joslin.

Russell Joslin was a respected and much-loved member of the team at Radio Coventry and Warwickshire. He is greatly missed. The BBC extends our deepest condolences to Russell’s family, friends and colleagues. We apologised unreservedly at the time of the Granger Report at the way the BBC handled Russell’s concerns and we apologise again today to Russell’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.

We have learnt lessons from this and we have made progress with the recommendations outlined in Lesley Granger’s Report but we recognise that this is an on-going process. The BBC would like to assure Russell’s family that we remain absolutely committed to implementing these improvements.

Following publication of the Granger Report on 27 March 2013, the BBC has taken the following steps in implementing the recommendations in that report:

1. Confidential bullying and harassment help line

We have considered options for the creation of an independent bullying and harassment advice line for staff and will begin procurement within the next two weeks with a view to implementing the service in Autumn 2013.  We expect the service to be in place and running by the end of September 2013. The service will provide confidential advice, external to the BBC, to individuals on how best to handle their situation and on the available support and routes open to them. Callers will be able to remain anonymous but will be encouraged to provide sufficient information to enable action to be taken if necessary. It will be available for freelancers, casual workers and employees.  There will be a provision within the service agreement to allow the BBC to audit the quality of the service provided.

2. Review of all employee support services

We have met with Occupational Health and our Employee Assistance Providers (EAP) (this is a counselling service run externally providing help on issues ranging from debt and relationships to bereavement and depression) and we are in the process of reviewing those services. For example, we have asked our EAP provider to remind all of their counsellors of the importance of directing their clients to the 24 hour help service when they are unavailable.  We have also recognised the complexity of the full set of support services we provide to employees and we are currently recruiting an HR manager to set up and run an ‘HR triage’ service.  The aim of this service to provide a  central point of contact for staff to share concerns and to take advice on the most appropriate support to seek from the many resources available to them.  The central HR triage service will also be able to track and monitor progress on individual cases across a number of different HR services.  This is designed to help ensure that support is co-ordinated effectively thereby improving the range and quality of support received.

We expect to implement this triage service from September 2013.

3. Facilitated Local Radio sessions to discuss BBC values within English Regions:

We have completed a tendering process for the externally facilitated training sessions for our local radios and have now selected an external provider.  We will pilot the sessions in three Local Radio Stations in July with a view to rolling out across English Regions in September.  The timetable for that is as follows:

Pilots:

  • Berkshire: 2 July 2013
  • Cambridgeshire: 9 July 2013
  • Cumbria: 17 July 2013.

4. Improved training for managers in Bullying and Harassment and Mental Health

We are running a short workshop in July for all our HR teams on recognising mental health issues.  The HR teams will be trained to deliver the same workshop to managers in their areas.  This training is aimed at raising awareness around mental health and ensuring HR and managers understand the various support and further training that is available.

We are improving the marketing and communication of our existing mental health training for HR and managers to ensure managers are aware of the training available to them and to help increase take-up by end of July 2013.

The BBC’s English Regions have already begun running a number of mental health training sessions for managers and have increased take up considerably as a result.  

We are piloting a training programme for all staff focused on building resilience and in turn managing stressful situations at work.  We expect the pilot to launch by the end of July 2013.

We are embedding bullying and harassment guidance and practical case studies into all relevant training including our Leadership Essentials management training course,  Introduction to Management and performance management modules. Again, we expect this to be complete by the end of July 2013.

Research into a proposed online training module for all staff on bullying and harassment suggests that available off-the-shelf training products are inadequate to meet the task, and we need to develop a bespoke course. Consequently, this may take longer than we had originally hoped, but providing this additional training remains a priority and we would hope to be able to do so by the end of this year.

5. Review of Occupational Health Services:

Occupational Health services at the BBC are provided through an outsourced provider, Capita Health and Wellbeing. They provide specialist Occupational Health support to the BBC across the UK, including: consultations for referrals relating to sickness absence management, fitness for work and suspected work related conditions. At the beginning of the Granger investigation, Occupational Health reviewed their service and implemented a range of actions immediately so that:

(i)        All cases where bullying and/or harassment is mentioned (see further below at 15.4 B (vi)  are now automatically referred up by the Occupational Health case manager to a senior member of the clinical team

(ii)       Occupational Health assessment reports are always comprehensive and clear

(iii)      Additional training for Occupational Health service case managers on the management of mental health cases has been put in place.

In addition to the changes that had already been introduced by Capita, the BBC is also keen to look at ways in which we can expand and develop the level of occupational health support that is provided to staff. To this end the BBC has further agreed with Capita:

(i)        An immediate review of the working of the Occupational Health service with an aim of establishing a more joined up/co-ordinated approach; and targets to increase the proportion of staff who have the opportunity to receive a face to face meeting with one of the Occupational Health medical team and the number of instances where managers, Occupational Health and HR meet face to face to discuss complex/sensitive cases. This review is already well advanced. We recognize that it is not sufficient to expect individuals to present clearly with a mental health or bullying or harassment issue and it is hoped that this more co-ordinated and collaborative approach between HR and Occupational Heath will help identify such cases where otherwise it may go undetected because the individual employee has not specifically flagged it up.

(ii)       Staff referred to Occupational Health with a mental health issue are now automatically given the opportunity to have a face to face meeting with an Occupational Health medical professional.

(iii)      The introduction of a requirement for managers to hold a follow-up review with Occupation Health and HR within three months of any member of staff being the subject of a face to face meeting with Occupational Health. This meeting will discuss progress and what further action may be required.

(iv)      A new referral process will allow a more detailed conversation between HR and medical practitioners from Occupational Health to discuss more complex/sensitive cases, including those concerning mental health.

Our Occupational Health provider has responded positively to our specification for a more ‘human service’ and are currently designing a service model that will provide named Doctors for each area of the BBC, located across the UK, and those Doctors will be available to discuss cases with HR teams, making it possible to have a more relationship-based, responsive approach to management case referrals.  To ensure that these changes are implemented, both Capita and the BBC will carry out regular service audits. The BBC will also require detailed quarterly management reports setting out data in respect of number of referrals, response times and solutions and outcomes in order to help monitor the quality of the service being provided.

We expect to complete this service review by September 2013 with a view to negotiating contractual changes and implementing service improvements by the end of the calendar year.

BBC Press Office