Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

[Pounds Sterling]5m Cost of Bbc's Three Savile Probes; BOSSES' LEGAL FEES WERE [Pounds Sterling]300,000; Patten: There Have Been Awful Moments but I Didn't Think of Quitting

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

[Pounds Sterling]5m Cost of Bbc's Three Savile Probes; BOSSES' LEGAL FEES WERE [Pounds Sterling]300,000; Patten: There Have Been Awful Moments but I Didn't Think of Quitting

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Prynn and Lindsay Watling

THE BBC today admitted spending more than [pounds sterling]5 million of licence payers' money on three inquiries set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal.

The huge bill included nearly [pounds sterling]300,000 in legal costs for three senior executives at the centre of the row over the scrapping of a Newsnight investigation into the serial paedophile. As the Corporation's annual report was published, BBC chairman Lord Patten said the broadcaster had suffered "one of the most turbulent years" since its foundation in 1922.

The Tory peer, who revealed he will not serve a second term, added that the BBC was determined to learn the lessons from the "desperate lows" of last year's revelations about the "appalling crimes" of long-time BBC presenter Savile. Today's report and accounts for the year to the end of March show that:

The cost of the three inquiries set up after an ITV investigation exposed the Savile abuse last October had already spiralled to [pounds sterling]4.9 million, but will be higher if VAT is included.

Former Director-General George Entwistle, who resigned after only 54 days in the job has been paid [pounds sterling]107,000 in legal fees for his appearances before the Pollard review, set up to investigate the axed Newsnight [bar][bar][bar]investigation into Jimmy Saville.

A second former Director-General, Mark Thompson, had [pounds sterling]86,000 worth of legal fees covered while former head of news Helen Boaden received [pounds sterling]101,000 for legal support.

The number of BBC bosses earnings more than [pounds sterling]100,000 dropped slightly from 248 to 245.

The number of stars, such as Graham Norton and Jeremy Paxman, paid at least [pounds sterling]500,000 fell from 16 to 14.

The review of the disastrous handling of the Newsnight investigation of the Savile revelations was set up under former Sky head of news, Nick Pollard, last autumn.

It reported last December finding that while the decision to drop the investigation was flawed, it was not taken to protect Savile's reputation ahead of a tribute programme.

By the end of the financial year the Pollard review had cost [pounds sterling]2.4 million before VAT and other taxes.

This included [pounds sterling]81,600 paid to Mr Pollard himself, [pounds sterling]893,501 to law firm Reed Smith, which advised the inquiry, [pounds sterling]391,120 for witnesses' legal costs, [pounds sterling]492,436 for the BBC's "external legal support", [pounds sterling]227,292 for technical support and a further [pounds sterling]360,910 cost to the governing BBC Trust.

Two other reviews, one on the extent of sexual harassment at the BBC, headed by Dinah Rose QC, and another on the culture at the BBC during the "Savile years" by Dame Janet Smith takes the total bill to [pounds sterling]5. …

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