Explore the BBC
Radio 4
Radio 4 Tickets
Radio 4 Help

About the BBC

Contact Us


BBC Radio 4 - 92 to 94 FM and 198 Long WaveListen to Digital Radio, Digital TV and OnlineListen on Digital Radio, Digital TV and Online

News and Current Affairs
Go to the Listen Again page
Wednesday 8:00-8:45pm 28 August

Every week Nick Ross invites a panel of public figures to discuss an issue of current concern.

Southall train crash
Corporate Responsibility on Trial
Despite investigations into public and private sector disasters such as the Zebrugge Ferry disaster, Piper Alpha and the Southall rail crash all revealing management failings, there have been no successful prosecutions for the hundreds of lives lost. Over three hundred people are killed each year as a result of corporate negligence, yet only three company directors have ever been successfully prosecuted for corporate manslaughter.

Listen to the programme  Listen to the programme.

In May 2000, the government issued a consultation paper designed to overhaul the law on corporate responsibility and make an offence of corporate killing. Due for parliamentary discussion in 2003, the reforms would allow individual companies, organisations and their directors to be prosecuted for the accidental death of employees and members of the public.

In the light of this, The Radio 4 Commission hears a wide range of arguments, from those opposed to the new reforms to those whose relatives were killed by criminal negligence and who advocate stricter accountability rules.


Mark Borkowski
A master of the PR stunt, Mark's company (Borkowski PR) is PR to much of corporate Britain - Hovis, Vodaphone, Eurostar and Gordon's Gin - while his personal client list embraces Sir Cliff Richard and the artist formerly known as Prince. He believes his company thrives on the ability to link creativity to commercial needs. Last year, the agency published a book entitled Improperganda: The Art of the Publicity Stunt.

Professor Jo Wolff

Bridget Rosewell
The Chief Economic Adviser to the British Retail Consortium is a former member of the Independent Panel of Forecasters (7 Wise Men) which advised the Chancellor. She is a regular broadcaster and conference presenter. Bridget Rosewell spent her early career in academic life at Oxford, researching largely on labour markets. Bridget's current appointments include Visiting Professor, City University Business School and Member, Executive Committee, Centre for Economic Policy Research


David Bergman, Executive Director of the Centre for Corporate Accountability
This independent body aims to increase worker and public safety through promoting law enforcement and corporate criminal accountability. David believes the introduction of a Corporate Killing offence is a step in the right direction, but it does not deal with the accountability of directors in the correct way.

Ruth Lea, Head of Policy, Institute of Directors
As well as being Policy Adviser for Business for Sterling, Ruth has also served on the National Consumer Council and as Economics Editor at ITN. Ruth and the IoD are in favour of the reforms, and particularly the introduction of a Corporate Killing law. However, they believe that if the government had used the original Law Commission recommendations, the reform would be effective and useful, however, in its current revised state, there is much scope for improvement.

Anne Jones of The Simon Jones Memorial Campaign
Mother of 24-year old Simon Jones, who was killed in April 1998 on his first day of work at Shoreham Docks. She fought for three years to force the CPS to prosecute Euromin Ltd and its General Manager for Simon's manslaughter, and succeeded; however, they were both finally acquitted in November 2001. Anne is also a board member of the Centre for Corporate Accountability and believes that the Corporate Killing offence is an elaborate smokescreen, and really the solution is to make company directors legally obliged to know about and implement health and safety laws.

Clive Fletcher Wood of Burges Salmon Solicitors
A commercial litigation partner, Clive led the team acting on behalf of Great Western Trains in the Corporate Manslaughter prosecution following the Southall collision. Clive is currently involved in the enquiry into the Potter's Bar accident. He believes that company directors should not be directly prosecuted for events out of their control.

Grahame Cook, Director of RHA Icon
RHA Icon is a scheme set up by the Road Haulage Association to advise haulage companies on corporate manslaughter regulations. Grahame believes it is better for the haulage industry to self-regulate due to the size of their companies. The legislation may not fit them in the way it fits other companies.

Go to the latest edition of The Commission
Audio Help
Audio Help
Any Questions/Any Answers
Join the discussion:
The Today Programme
Latest interviews and news stories
India's population: A problem for all? Mark Tully reports - From Our Own Correspondent
View a list of previous programmes
Nick Ross

Nick Ross is one of Britain's best-known factual broadcasters.

He has fronted Crimewatch since its inception in 1984 and has presented a wide sweep of the BBC's journalism in news, including rolling news, current affairs, politics, law, crime and consumer issues.

His credits include several eponymous programmes including Nick Ross, a highly praised series of talk shows (1999), Westminster with Nick Ross (live television coverage of parliament, 1994-1997) for which he was a member of the Downing Street lobby, and in 1997 he was named 'Broadcaster of the Year' for his long-running Radio 4 programme Call Nick Ross (1986-1997). In 1999 he won a best documentary prize for a controversial and autobiographical TV history of the troubles in Northern Ireland, We Shall Overcome.

News & Current Affairs | Arts & Drama | Comedy & Quizzes | Science | Religion & Ethics | History | Factual

Back to top

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy