BBC’S £5m Sav­ile bill

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By JUSTIN DUNN

THE BBC has spent around £5 mil­lion in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Jimmy Sav­ile sex scan­dal and the fi­nal bill is still due.

The cor­po­ra­tion’s an­nual re­port and ac­counts re­veal the Pol­lard Re­view, which looked at why the BBC dropped a News­night in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Sav­ile, ac­counted for al­most half of that amount.

It cost £2.4 mil­lion, be­fore tax and VAT, which in­cluded £101,000 to cover the “le­gal and re­lated costs” of Helen Boaden who was heav­ily crit­i­cised in the re­port.

The then Head of News was among se­nior ex­ec­u­tives crit­i­cised for fail­ing to act while the BBC was plunged into chaos by the scan­dal.

The bill also in­cludes £81,600 paid to for­mer Sky News ex­ec­u­tive Nick Pol­lard for con­duct­ing the re­view and £893,501 paid to law firm Reed Smith, who ad­vised on the process, as well as £107,000 paid to cover the le­gal costs of for­mer direc­torgen­eral Ge­orge En­twistle.

His im­me­di­ate pre­de­ces­sor, Mark Thomp­son, was paid £86,000 for his le­gal and re­lated costs.

Fig­ures show the cost of the re­view and sub­se­quent in­ves­ti­ga­tions into re­spect at work and the BBC’s cul­ture and prac­tices while Sav­ile worked there have cost £4.9m ex­clud­ing tax and VAT up to the end of March.

The third in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which will also ex­am­ine the case of re­cently jailed Stu­art Hall, will be pub­lished later this year – send­ing the fi­nal bill even higher.

Writ­ing in the re­port, BBC Trust chair­man Lord Pat­ten quoted Charles Dick­ens to com­pare the suc­cess of the Olympics cov­er­age with the Sav­ile scan­dal say­ing “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

He said the rev­e­la­tions about the scrapped News­night in­ves­ti­ga­tion and sub­se­quent de­par­ture of Mr En­twistle were “low points”.

He said: “The BBC se­ri­ously let down both it­self and li­cence fee pay­ers”.

Matthew Sin­clair, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Tax­Pay­ers’ Al­liance, said: “Fam­i­lies up and down the coun­try are hav­ing to pick up the cost of in­ves­ti­gat­ing this scan­dal through their li­cence fees.”

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