BBC’S £5m Savile bill
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.”