The BBC has appointed an independent reviewer to examine what was known about concerns regarding Tim Westwood’s conduct during his time with the BBC.
The BBC Board made the decision following an expedited review by the broadcaster’s internal investigations team, which reported to the Board’s senior independent director Nick Serota.
An update on that review has been published today , which outlines a number of allegations of misconduct against Mr Westwood.
The BBC has instructed Gemma White QC, supported by the law firm Linklaters, to lead this work. Terms of reference have been published today and a call for evidence with further detail about the review process will follow later this month.
The BBC is in contact with the Metropolitan Police and as part of the ongoing work any relevant information will be passed to them.
Nick Serota says: “I am grateful to the BBC’s investigations team for the work they have done.
“It is an important piece of work, but I see it as a first step. New allegations and issues are emerging as time passes and more people are prepared to come forward. For this reason the work must continue.
“In light of the issues identified by the internal review, I have asked, on behalf of the BBC Board, that a broader review is now conducted and a full report is produced.
“It is vital that this work is able to command the full confidence of those who have, or may wish, to come forward, as well as the wider public, and it is for that reason the BBC Board believes there should be independent oversight. I have therefore asked Gemma White QC to lead this work. She is a hugely respected barrister who has relevant expertise and experience in this area.
“I have asked that the next stage of this work be completed within the next six months. However, I want to be clear this is not a hard deadline and if new issues emerge, then time will be made available to properly explore them. Our main objective must be to discover the facts.
“In light of the BBC’s internal review, I believe that there may have been occasions in the past when the BBC should have further explored issues that were being raised.
“It now appears there are allegations against Tim Westwood dating to before, during and after his employment with the BBC and also elsewhere. The BBC is willing to work with any other employers in order to fully establish what happened.
“The issues identified so far relating to the BBC took place before the Dame Janet Smith Review, which was commissioned in 2012 and published in 2016. As a result of that review there have been significant changes at the BBC, not least in how issues of misconduct are managed.
“As a result of Dame Janet’s work, the BBC today is a significantly safer place to work, but we should also use this as an opportunity to ensure the BBC is following the very best practice – and indeed setting the benchmark across the media industry.
“I have therefore asked the BBC Executive to assess whether any current processes and procedures require updating or improving. These will remain under consideration both during the course of the new review and following receipt of the full report.
“Finally, we owe it to those who have spoken out and raised issues to learn more about what took place and to give others the opportunity to tell us about their experiences. I would urge anyone with further information to respond to the call for evidence. This is important, of course, for them personally, but also to ensure that the BBC and other organisations are best placed to act in the future.”
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