Lord Hall: My top staff are blame-dodgers and it"s time to shake up the management, says new BBC boss

BBC's top female executive says former Director General Mark Thompson WAS made aware of Jimmy Savile sex abuse claims
Helen Boaden says she told former DG about suspicions in 2011Contradicts claim that he didn't find out about abuse claims until after he left

By
Sam Webb

PUBLISHED:

01:38 GMT, 24 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:49 GMT, 24 February 2013

The BBC's top female executive has claimed that she told former Director-General Mark Thompson about the sexual abuse accusations surrounding disgraced TV star Jimmy Savile nine months before he left.

Former director of news Helen Boaden's testimony contradicts his claim that he knew nothing of the nature of the Newsnight allegation until after he left the role to become chief executive of the New York Times.

The Sunday Times reports that Boaden informed Mr Thompson about the scandal in December 2011, citing a source familiar with the situation.

Helen Boaden, former director of BBC News, has claimed she told former Director-General Mark Thompson about the Savile claims in 2011. Mr Thompson says he did not know the nature of the allegations until after he left in September

Mark Thompson, BBC Director General

Lawyers representing Helen Boaden, former director of BBC News, have claimed she told former Director-General Mark Thompson about the Savile claims in 2011. Mr Thompson says he did not know the nature of the allegations until after he left in September

Mr Thompson has repeatedly stated he never heard any allegations about the former DJ in eight years at the helm of the broadcaster. But Boaden's new evidence puts doubt on that claim.

The BBC released transcripts and other evidence from interviews by Nick Pollard, who carried out a review into the aborted Newsnight investigation at the centre of the scandal, which support his claim.

It immediately attracted criticism because it was covered in censor’s ink, despite the corporation's promise to be open and transparent about the material.

The paper, quoting a source familiar with the situation, said Boaden's lawyer had made submitted points on her behalf to Pollard as he prepared to publish his conclusions.

Enlarge

Mr Thompson says he was informed about the existence of the Newsnight investigation in December 2011 but claims he did not know what the investigation was about

Mr Thompson says he was informed about the existence of the Newsnight investigation in December 2011 but claims he did not know what the investigation was about

A BBC spokesperson said: 'The BBC has accepted Nick Pollard's report and its findings. We have now published all of the background material for his report. We have nothing further to add.'

At the height of the Savile crisis
Miss Boaden, 56, temporarily ‘stepped aside’ from her 340,000 a year
role, and it was later revealed she had at one point offered to resign.
Earlier this month the BBC announced she is to become director of radio.

Tony Hall, the incoming Director General
of the BBC, has admitted he is ‘shocked’ by the level of infighting
within the Corporation which has been exposed by the fallout from the
Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal.

Lord Hall, who is due to take up the Director-General post in April, reportedly told friends that the scandal has laid bare a culture of blame-shifting and management infighting where no-one is willing to take responsibility for their decisions.

He is to make reform of the Corporation’s top-heavy management structures a ‘priority’ and has hinted that changes will be made to the BBC’s beleaguered Newsnight programme, which has been under fire ever since it dropped an expose into Savile’s sex crimes in 2011.

One source said: ‘Tony has been shocked by recent revelations which show a lack of teamwork at the top of the BBC and an unwillingness by some people to take responsibility for their own decisions.

'He feels that those two things are glaringly obvious from recent events and he will be looking at those issues once in post.'

Bad news: The release of the evidence gathered during the BBC's inquiry into why Newsnight dropped its original Jimmy Savile investigation has attracted criticism as much of it was censored

Bad news: The release of the evidence gathered during the BBC's inquiry into why Newsnight dropped its original Jimmy Savile investigation has attracted criticism as much of it was censored