BBC reveals £5m spent on Savile inquiries

 

Lord Hall: BBC report is 'grim reading' in places

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The BBC has spent around £5m on three inquiries set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

The corporation's annual report revealed the Pollard Review, which looked into Newsnight's dropped investigation into Savile, cost £2.8m.

BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten said the organisation was determined to learn lessons from the past year.

Director general Tony Hall admitted the BBC was not the "steward of public money" it should have been.

Lord Hall, who started in the job four months ago, said further steps were needed to ensure the BBC was better run and more efficient.

Analysis

A year of "some incredible highs and some desperate lows" was the verdict of the BBC's chairman, Lord Patten.

The most notable high was the Olympics watched by 90% of the population. It is the lows, however, that have dominated the headlines.

The crisis surrounding Jimmy Savile, the executive pay-offs, and the £98m loss on the failed DMI technology project cast a gloom over this year's annual report.

Trust in the BBC did take a knock but appears to be recovering, though it's not back to where it was a year ago.

But when you dig into the report the public's views of the corporation is not the same as its views of the programmes.

Figures that record appreciation of the output have risen again this year from 82.6 to 83.1, Top Gear has become the world's most watched factual programme, Dr Who is now seen in more than 200 territories.

The BBC is also promising cultural change in the way it is managed, trying to make it less bureaucratic. New management may be interesting for the BBC's staff but for the public, the announcement that Mishal Husain will be joining Radio 4's Today Programme will probably be more interesting.

The BBC has long said it wanted more women to present on the Today Programme. It's getting there, eventually.

The breakdown of the costs of the Pollard Review showed that the £2.1m (excluding tax) costs included £893,500 to lawyers Reed Smith and £492,436 for the BBC's "external legal support".

In addition, witnesses' legal costs totalled £391,120. This included £101,000 to cover the "legal and related costs" of Helen Boaden, who was moved from her position as head of news after she was criticised in the report.

Former director general Mark Thompson, who left the BBC last year, received £86,000 in legal costs.

The Pollard Review was set up by the BBC to decide if there were management failings over Newsnight's axed Savile investigation in 2011.

The report, headed by former head of Sky News Nick Pollard and published in December 2012, concluded the decision to shelve the investigation was "seriously flawed" but "done in good faith".

The report dismissed claims the programme was dropped to protect tribute shows to Savile and found no evidence of a cover-up, but was highly critical of BBC bosses in describing "chaos and confusion" and "leadership in short supply".

Further reviews

Aside from the Pollard Review, the Respect at Work Review by Dinah Rose QC was published in May; and Dame Janet Smith's review into the culture and practices of the BBC during the Savile years will come out later this year. This includes a detailed investigation by Dame Linda Dobbs DBE into the conduct of Stuart Hall at the BBC.

The cost of all three inquiries up to 31 March 2013 was £5.3m (including tax and VAT) which will rise when final costs are announced.

According to the annual report, public trust in the BBC, which was hit by the Jimmy Savile scandal and the Newsnight crises, had now almost recovered to previous levels.

Info graphic

It said the BBC continued to reach 96% of the population every week - with audiences consuming an average 19 hours of content weekly.

In the 2012/2013 financial year, the BBC delivered £580m "efficiency savings" in the final year of a five-year programme. With a £2bn of cumulative savings delivered in this period, the BBC exceeded the 3% year-on-year efficiency savings target set by the Trust.

The report also highlighted the success of the BBC's Olympic coverage. The 2,500 hours of television coverage reached 90% of the population - the highest audience for any event since measurements began.

Start Quote

Tony Hall

I hope that by this time next year I'm standing before staff and licence fee payers with a simpler organisation where the responsibilities are much clearer.”

End Quote BBC director general Tony Hall

"This has truly been a year like no other, with some incredible highs and some desperate lows," said Lord Patten. "In both, there are lessons we must learn."

He welcomed Lord Hall's plans to reform the BBC's "management culture" - one of the actions required by the BBC Trust following the Pollard Review.

The report also highlighted the BBC's failed £100m Digital Media Initiative - which was halted last autumn having never become fully operational.

Lord Hall said: "From redundancy payments to the failed DMI project, the BBC has not always been the steward of public money it should have been.

"This is changing and we now need to take further steps to ensure the BBC is better run and more efficient".

At a press conference at New Broadcasting House in central London on Tuesday, Lord Hall said: "I hope that by this time next year I'm standing before staff and licence fee payers with a simpler organisation where the responsibilities are much clearer."

Lord Patten, whose term at the Trust ends in 2015, told journalists he did not intend to seek a second term, adding: "If anybody were to decide that a few more weeks or months would be helpful, then I'd have to consider that".

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 593.

    This seems to be the problem with most big organisations, government to here the BBC.They have no concept of the value of money.They never live in the real world.Vast sums come their way with such ease for so little.As we saw with their pay offs.Alongside the legal profession's unacceptable similar high opinion of themselves and charging gullible big organisations fantasy money. Nationalise them!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 592.

    Wow £5 million - that's one heck of an enormous "Jim'll Fix It" badge.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 591.

    589 toorie. Exactly my point. Who would have believed that of someone awarded the OBE, friend of royalty and prime ministers? The man who raised millions for charity and chatted to old ladies as he walked the length of Britain. Clever and devious indeed.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 590.

    588 Annibale Mastino In no way was I diminishing Savile's crimes. He was a clever and devious manipulator who cultivated connections with influential people. He was rich and powerful in his own right. When there was a sniff of an exposure in the early 90s not even the Sunday Press would take him on. I am dismayed by the reaction of those who simply look for anyone to blame.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 589.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 588.

    586. stewing
    585. Annibale Mastino. He is describing a situation to which he was a first hand witness to gossip, in that sense what HE is actually saying is not gossip.
    ////////
    The only accounts of the abuse that matter are those of the victims. Unless Oddie is called up as a witness of course.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 587.

    582.stewing In the 1972 Savile was appointed Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE), which he appended to his signature.In the 1990 Queen's Birthday Honours he was made a Knight Bachelor "for charitable services" and Sir Jimmy Savile is STILL listed in the Roll of Honour (because as he's dead they can't erase him)...It looks like the devil has got the last laugh.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 586.

    585. Annibale Mastino. He is describing a situation to which he was a first hand witness to gossip, in that sense what HE is actually saying is not gossip. He was there. My underlying point is that there are many with 20/20 hindsight who are ready to blame all and sundry for not dealing with Savile's appalling crimes and there are a whole list of reasons why it didn't happen.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 585.

    582. stewing
    Far more informative is Bill Oddie's summary of the situation in the 70s and the gossip in that context.
    ///////
    If you find Bill Oddie "informative", then I strongly recommend find more serious sources of information than gossip to base your opinion on.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 584.

    A £5m lock after the horse has bolted! Small price to pay compared to the estimated £40m Savile earned for charity alone. Who I wonder was the most immoral, Savile for his actions or those who failed to expose him with puerile excuses for not doing so? His only 'power' was audience ratings etc, the rest was pure bluff. Those who employed Savile & willingly ignored his agenda were the real threat

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 583.

    And if the Beeb had not done the investigations the same people moaning about the cost and repeating The Daily Mail mantra would be moaning about complacency.

    The BBC cannot win as the government want to privatise them.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 582.

    580 toorie. Thanks for the post I had not read that before. Not so much for the pictures although they are highly illuminating and there may be some truth in the proposition. Far more informative is Bill Oddie's summary of the situation in the 70s and the gossip in that context. Unfortunately 'gossip' is not evidence which needs to be understood by those posters who keep insisting 'everyone knew'.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 581.

    Odd too that Jimmy Savile has not only been accused of being a paedophile but was also a practising satanist and necrophiliac
    (Try Google) so what in HELLS NAME were our security services doing when they let him have free, unfettered, access to the Royal Family ?.
    .....Diana... to her credit, abhorred him.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 580.

    Look at the photo where Prince Charles slept overnight in Allt na Reigh cottage in Glencoe in Scotland. with Jimmy Savile, ignore the royal MI5 bodyguards but pay close attention to the three young girls in the doorway wearing aprons with the royal initials , one on each girl.

    http://swns.com/news/jimmy-savile-scandal-bbc-covered-abuse-friends-prince-charles-claims-bill-oddie-26272/

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 579.

    577. phil johanson
    this inquiry (at YOUR expense) will be the usual whitewash. because the fact is so many BBC employees KNEW what saville was getting up to but said nothing.
    ////////
    With all the connections Savile had, you wonder how much people outside of the BBC knew and didn't say anything.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 578.

    576. And YES - I dont have a television - thanks

    ...this HYS has ran out of steam.
    ///////
    Looks more like you're the one that's run out of steam, or out of come backs even.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 577.

    this inquiry (at YOUR expense) will be the usual whitewash. because the fact is so many BBC employees KNEW what saville was getting up to but said nothing. now correct me if i'm wrong,but to KNOW a crime is being committed and NOT reporting it to the police is aiding and abetting and conspiracy. not quite sure why the media (hahahaha) haven't dragged EVERY last one of these people over the coals

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 576.

    575.alexicon

    Just enjoying myself since this HYS has ran out of steam.

    Don't be hating!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 575.

    564. And YES - I dont have a television - thanks
    18 MINUTES AGO
    563.A Free Thinker is Satan_s Slave

    'your name is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.'

    At least you admit that you don't get out much then!

    'Satan doesn't exist & free thinking is good for you'

    Hmm.. you seem to have a problem coping with humour... as you do with logic, and of course hypocrisy.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 574.

    572.David Wilson

    Stronger regulation might work...
    But then you need regulation of the regulators.

    I guess we could just privatise the lot - because that is such a successful method of avoiding corruption and HUGE costs.

    (sarcasm off)

 

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