21 July 2023

BBC sets out scope of review into handling complaints after presenter furore

21 July 2023

The BBC has set out details of an upcoming review into how it handles non-editorial complaints after allegations were made about one of its presenters.

The corporation came under fire for its handling of initial complaints against the presenter, now known to be veteran broadcaster Huw Edwards, who faces allegations he paid a young person for sexually explicit photos.

BBC director-general Tim Davie later ordered a review to “assess how some complaints are red-flagged up the organisation”.

On Friday, the broadcaster published the terms of reference for the review, which will be led by BBC group chief operating officer Leigh Tavaziva in July and “completed by late autumn”, it said.

The review, which will assess the effectiveness of current BBC policies and processes, will cover complaints received by the BBC Public Service or World Service in the UK but not the editorial complaints process.

The BBC said the review will “identify all the routes” where different types of non-editorial complaints can be made and the policies and processes that are applied in handling these complaints.

It will then assess the identified routes and processes, including the different types of complaints, including “receipt and triage, escalation, evidence gathering, co-ordination between business units, roles and responsibilities, governance and oversight”.

The corporation said it will “gather specific learnings” on the processes deployed in the handling of complaints made against Edwards, as well as “develop prioritised actions for improvement”.

The family of the young person originally complained to the BBC in May and the BBC said it tried to contact them twice before The Sun published an exclusive story detailing the allegations.

In a letter to BBC News, the young person at the centre of the controversy later said via lawyers nothing inappropriate or unlawful happened with the-then unnamed presenter.

The Metropolitan Police later said no criminal offence was committed by Edwards and The Sun said it had no plans to publish further allegations.

On Friday, the BBC said it will set out the findings of the review and management’s key remedial action plan to be implemented.

BBC Studios is not within the review’s scope but “will be considered for assessment as part of the action plan from this review”, it said.

The review will be undertaken by Deloitte, under the direction of forensic partner Simon Cuerden, while Sir Nick Serota, senior independent director of the BBC, will provide board oversight, the corporation said.

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