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UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE
To be published as HC 649-ii
house of commons
taken before the
CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT Committee
THE BBC'S RESPONSE TO THE JIMMY SAVILE CASE
Tuesday 27 November 2012
LORD PATTEN and TIM DAVIE
Evidence heard in Public Questions 225 - 351
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Taken before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee
on Tuesday 27 November 2012
Mr John Whittingdale (Chair)
Mr Ben Bradshaw
Mr Adrian Sanders
Mr Gerry Sutcliffe
Examination of Witnesses
Witnesses: Lord Patten, Chairman, BBC Trust, and Tim Davie, Acting Director-General, BBC, gave evidence.
Chair: Good morning. This is a further session of the Committee’s examination of the BBC’s response to the Jimmy Savile revelations, and our inquiry has been extended to take in subsequent events as well. I would like to welcome the Chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, and the Acting Director-General, Tim Davie.
Q225 Philip Davies: Lord Patten, when do you expect the two independent reviews on the Savile case to report?
Lord Patten: We are expecting the Pollard report next month, although you will appreciate that we have kept our distance from those inquiries. They are entirely independent. We have some contact through our lawyers and their lawyers, but I would expect them to report certainly before Christmas. Originally we were thinking that they would be in November, but I think that has slipped, partly because of the very thorough way in which they are going about their work. The second report by Dame Janet Smith will take longer. I cannot give you a time scale for that. Originally the intention was that it should be done in about six months, but it may take longer than that because there is a huge e-mail trawl, among other things, to go through.
Q226 Philip Davies: How much are these inquiries costing?
Lord Patten: We do not yet know but they will clearly be expensive partly because of the number of lawyers involved. The Pollard inquiry has a QC who does the questioning at each session, and I am told that QCs do not come cheap.
Q227 Philip Davies: Yes, but how expensive is it? Have you just given a blank cost to say, "You can spend as much money as you like on these inquiries"? Have you not set down a cost for them?
Lord Patten: I do not see how we could conceivably set down a capped cost without seeming to cap the work of the inquiries. In particular, the second inquiry by Dame Janet Smith, which is ranging very wide over the history of light entertainment in the BBC and, indeed, the institution and culture of the BBC, will be quite a big job and it would be a matter for considerable criticism if there was not a big job being done. It is worth noting that, as I understand it, other institutions that also allowed Jimmy Savile to work and operate in them have not yet agreed inquiries into what happened even though it is a couple of months since those allegations were made. We have gone about things in exactly the right way and I am afraid that we must bear the costs however much they are.
Q228 Philip Davies: You have no estimate of the cost?
Lord Patten: I do not think I could conceivably put an accurate estimate on the cost without appearing to limit the work of the inquiries.
Q229 Philip Davies: Will the costs be published?
Lord Patten: Yes, of course.
Q230 Philip Davies: Where is the money coming from to pay for them?
Lord Patten: The money is coming from the licence fee.
Q231 Philip Davies: Will every submission to the Pollard review be published?
Lord Patten: Let me be absolutely clear, we will publish everything the Pollard review reports. So, we will not seek to bowdlerise the Pollard report. If Mr Pollard wishes to include in his report transcripts of some of the evidence, if he wishes to include other evidence that has been given to him, then we will publish it all unless there are necessary-terrible word-redactions for legal reasons, but otherwise it is my intention that everything should be published.
Q232 Philip Davies: What dates is the Pollard review covering?
Lord Patten: The Pollard review is covering the Savile programme on Newsnight. That means that it will cover whether or not the film was pulled for reasons of the corporate self-interest of the BBC, whether it was pulled for other than editorial reasons, why it was pulled, whether people from senior parts of the BBC interfered with the editor’s programming decisions, whether it was appropriate to produce and broadcast a tribute programme to Savile over the Christmas period-and two were produced-and it will also undoubtedly look at the reasons given in the editor’s blog for the dropping of the film.
Q233 Philip Davies: Will it cover who knew what and when?
Lord Patten: Yes.
Philip Davies: Right through to October this year when people claimed they did not know anything about it, or right through to the present day?
Lord Patten: Of course. Can I just make one point about that, Mr Davies? You are quite right to press on the costs of the inquiry. It would not be worth our while to produce an inquiry that did not answer all the points that you are making.
Q234 Philip Davies: On the costs, when you said the money is coming from the licence fee, we all knew it was going to be coming from the licence fee. That was not really an earth shattering revelation. I was trying to get more from you about where. The money presumably is allocated for something from the licence fee, so what-
Lord Patten: It will come from the central budget that would otherwise go-
Tim Davie: The challenge I have made to the organisation is that with a £3.5 billion-plus revenue, we would have a contingency of 1% maybe, which is quite low in corporate terms. None of the costs, as I foresee it, would get anywhere close to that. So we would make provisions within the corporate contingency. One of the things I feel very strongly about is this should not impact in any way on programme making areas. So, that is the challenge I have set for the management.
Q235 Philip Davies: What does the contingency normally get spent on?
Tim Davie: Any unforeseen events from funerals to any-
Philip Davies: Funerals? State funerals?
Mr Bradshaw: The Queen Mother.
Tim Davie: Yes. Any state funerals. I try to cheer proceedings up but yes, it could be special coverage of events. It could be an extreme case in terms of news coverage. We could be discussing just having a meeting on the 2014 Commonwealth Games, so we may decide to invest a bit more in a project like that. Clearly I want to be in a position where I can deliver an annual budget. Having run many corporate budgets, I would not advise going to a contingency below 1%.
Q236 Philip Davies: You would not advise any state funerals this year either, by the sounds of it, or else we are going to be rather poorly covered if all the contingency for that is going on this.
Tim Davie: I am very aware of what I can and cannot control, Mr Davies, and state funerals is not one of them.
Q237 Chair: The Pollard inquiry is going to last four or five weeks. It is going to trawl through hundreds of e-mails. It is going to have QCs employed. Yet the inquiry into what went wrong in the second Newsnight programme, which, in many ways, was just as serious if not more serious failing a of journalism, lasted three days.
Tim Davie: More serious.
Chair: So why is a similar in-depth inquiry not being mounted into that?
Lord Patten: I am sure that you will also want to hear from Tim Davie, because the issues involved in the second inquiry are more simple and straightforward. They are questions of, in my judgment, appalling editorial judgment. I think that the journalism involved was-to be polite-shoddy, and the tragedy is that for the third time in 25 years a Director-General has been swept away by a terrible failure of journalism. Tim Davie can tell you this; we are now in the middle of disciplinary hearings about that second Newsnight programme, which was appalling.
Tim Davie: The 2 November issue is a fairly simple story. It is one of a bad editorial mistake, and there will be consequences for that. But it is a fair question, because I have had the same thoughts, but you have a limited cast of characters and you can quickly get to a reasonable and fair assessment of events. In terms of Pollard, it is a much more complex situation. You have the linkage back to Savile, the various kind of corporate tangles in there that we need to get through. That is why.
Chair: We will be coming on to looking in closer detail at the MacQuarrie report.
Q238 Mr Bradshaw: Could you just confirm what George Entwistle assured us when he was here a few weeks ago, that Pollard is being allowed to go wherever he needs to and wants to?
Lord Patten: Yes, and Nick Pollard is on the record as saying that he has good co-operation from the BBC.
Q239 Mr Bradshaw: Do the costs that you have just been talking about include the costs of lawyers for some of those people who may find themselves being criticised by Pollard?
Lord Patten: Yes, because one of the things that we are obliged to do-duty of care and so on-is to give people legal advice when they are presented, as has happened with Leveson, with an initial statement of what you think has happened.
Q240 Mr Bradshaw: Is there not a danger that this becomes a horrendous tangle of lawyers negotiating drafts of Pollard and challenging them and so forth?
Lord Patten: Before Tim comes in, we know how long Lord Leveson’s report has taken but, on these issues, we are on a hiding to nothing. Unless you go through all the procedures and give everybody legal rights and pay for these legal costs, then you are accused of doing a shoddy piece of work.
Tim Davie: Just to be clear, this is Pollard’s business, so we do not want to get in the way of any of that. From an executive point of view, I want to support it as much as I can. In terms of reasonable legal costs, because there is concern and you are right to raise it, and I have asked the same question. What are reasonable costs for the individuals? We have made the decision to provide those legal costs; the reason being, by the way, that it is critical that we get the inquiry on a level playing field so everyone participates. To answer your point, we want to minimise the amount of legal fuss and get on with the evidence. We do have provision for when legal costs get above certain thresholds. We want, from the licence fee payer’s perspective, very clear evidence of the work plan and all those things. So we have very experienced lawyers on our side making sure that these legal costs do not run too high. But this is an independent inquiry. When the costs come out they will be limited, but this is not going to be a cheap business. However, it is right for us to do it properly.
Q241 Chair: How many individuals are you paying the legal costs of?
Tim Davie: In terms of the initial interviews, about 40 people were put through Pollard. It is around 40. The legal costs to date are around £200,000 and my estimate-I will have to come back to you with the exact number-is that you are talking around £10,000 on individuals. So, of the 40, not all have legal support. I do not have the exact number on hand of who we have handed legal fees to at this point but I can come back to you on that number.
Q242 Chair: But you would be paying the legal costs of Peter Rippon, Helen Boaden, Stephen Mitchell?
Tim Davie: Yes, up to the threshold, with a work plan.
Q243 Chair: You have set a cap on that?
Tim Davie: Yes, currently we are nowhere close to the cap but our cap at this point is-in extreme circumstances-as high as £50,000.
Lord Patten: But that is in line with what would happen with the Civil Service if civil servants were involved in an inquiry.
Tim Davie: Yes, just to be clear I would not go to £50,000 unless I had a very clear work plan through the general counsel over £10,000 or £25,000. We are not just handing money out.
Q244 Mr Sanders: Is it the Trust or the Executive Board that is responsible for enforcing editorial standards, and who is in charge of risk management?
Lord Patten: It is, in some respects, a shared responsibility. According to the Charter, the Executive is responsible for editorial decisions and agrees editorial guidelines with us. We are responsible for trying to ensure that the Executive meets those standards and complies with other regulations as well, including those of Ofcom. It is a shared responsibility but certainly as far as editorial content is concerned, the Executive is responsible. A very easy way of defining it is that the Executive is responsible for what happens up to the transmission of a programme and we can then have responsibilities afterwards if things go wrong.
Q245 Mr Sanders: In what way would or should the Trust have ensured that the BBC lived up to its editorial standards in the Newsnight cases?
Lord Patten: For Newsnight, if I can take the second Newsnight case, and perhaps I should not make this judgment, but in my opinion was a much more serious error, it would have been inappropriate for me, when the tweets on that Friday were reported to me, to have intervened, and said, "What are you doing with this programme?" The last time, with a different system of governance, the Board and Chairman of the BBC tried to interfere with a programme was in the case of Real Lives, and the BBC went on strike and most of the media went into meltdown about how appallingly the governors had behaved. So, it was not right for me to interfere when I heard about the tweets.
I did the following day, having seen the programme, seek the Director-General’s confirmation that Newsnight was being properly managed and that there was in place a management structure for the programme. It was obviously affected by the extent to which, and this is undoubtedly one of the lessons we will learn, senior management figures-an awful bit of legalese is coming up-were recused from responsibilities relating to anything regarding Savile or paedophilia. But I was assured that Saturday that things were being properly managed, that temporary controls had been put in place. That answers your point about the distinction between the roles of the Trust and the Executive.
If I can just add one point, I am not sure it would have been any different in the old days with the BBC governors, because the BBC governors did not seek to intervene even so.
Mr Sanders: To be clear, you were assured by the then Director-General?
Lord Patten: Yes.
Q246 Mr Sanders: Why did the risk management mechanisms of the BBC not identify the problems that emerged?
Lord Patten: Well, we do have regular discussions of risk management, usually beginning in the Finance Committee of the Trust, and it is fair to say nobody has ever suggested in the past that a risk that we might face is the discovery that a former popular BBC star was a serial paedophile. There are some risks about which it is difficult to make a calculation. I am sure that as a result of this third self-destructive piece of journalism in 25 years, we will want to look at how you can ensure that there is a belt-and-braces approach to the coverage of the news without abandoning or resiling from investigative journalism. I think that is a really tough issue for any newspaper editor or a broadcaster. It is imperative that you still do investigative journalism, which may have risks associated with it, but it is imperative that your journalistic standards are even higher for investigative journalism than they are for covering anything else.
Q247 Mr Sanders: Final question: how many days a week are you devoting to chairing the Trust?
Lord Patten: How many days a week? At the moment, about eight. There was an FOI request put down in the interests of the public weal by Guido Fawkes that indicated that I had been in my office, or in the BBC, for three days a week for the first six months of the year. In the last two or three months, it has been four days a week, but that suggests that I am not working on the BBC when I am not in the office. In fact, I would guess that one or two other days a week I am doing BBC work, either doing papers or emails or letters. So, if anybody was to ask if being Chairman of the BBC Trust was a three or four day a week occupation, I would be hard pressed to say it was not more than that.
Q248 Angie Bray: I just want to pick up on the point about what was or was not identified as the problem with the particular piece of journalism in Newsnight. It is not just a matter surely of looking how far up the structure might not have been working. What happened in that piece about north Wales was just very careless journalism right from the bottom.
Lord Patten: Yes, absolutely right.
Angie Bray: It seems to me, as somebody who has been a journalist, that it is elementary, and certain checks were not made. It seems to me that you also need to be looking far down to see what training is taking place for some of the journalists who are working on programmes like that, and that might also include your relationship with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Lord Patten: Yes. Can I just say something about that? We have a College of Journalism that trains people for the industry that has a very high reputation. It is inconceivable that anybody could come out of a seminar or a class from the College of Journalism and make the sort of errors that occurred in that case.
Tim Davie: It is worth saying I have been overwhelmed by journalists in the BBC who are aghast at the basic error that was made. As I look at the MacQuarrie report, when we go through the disciplinaries, it is really clear that yes, there are questions around news line recusals. This is just a basic journalistic failing, it is as simple as that. In some ways, I do not want to dismiss it in any way.
Angie Bray: No, it should not be dismissed. It seems to me that is very worrying, then.
Tim Davie: It was very, very serious.
Q249 Mr Bradshaw: Has your experience of this crisis, Lord Patten, led you to question whether the whole governance and regulatory structure of the BBC is a sensible one?
Lord Patten: No, there may be other reasons. I know that you have views on it and I know that in due course, in the run-up to Charter renewal or non-renewal, we will be talking about governance again. But I honestly think that what happened in this case-not least for the reasons that Ms Bray mentioned just now-would not have been affected whatever the governance, if Ofcom had been responsible or if you had had the old Board of Governors. This was a terrible elementary journalistic failure, and the easiest thing is for some people to reach for governance. A lot of people get their thrills by discussions about governance. It has always slightly passed me by.
Q250 Mr Bradshaw: I was not referring to the specific second Newsnight issue, I was referring to the BBC’s ability to manage crisis. Would your job not have been easier if you had either been a more traditional Chairman of the Board who could have been more hands on and intervened more forcefully earlier or a regulator, someone who is there to challenge the management, but not both, which is the role that you have at the moment?
Lord Patten: I am not absolutely convinced how much difference there would have been if I had been a traditional Chairman of Governors of the BBC. After all, the last change in governance was put in place precisely because the last great crisis, over the Hutton inquiry, led to the departure both of the Chief Executive-the Director-General-and of the Chairman of the BBC. So it was decided at that time that you needed a regulator who was slightly distanced from the BBC Executive.
I took the trouble to read the reports of the debates on that system of governance, both the White Paper and the Royal Charter, and read some of the contributions that members of the Committee made. It is quite interesting to compare those now with what has happened. We will, of course, go through those intellectual tortures of the damned again in the run-up to the next Charter renewal. But I just do not think, hand on heart, I can see how a single board or Ofcom with greater powers would have prevented either the first or the second of those programmes going out.
Q251 Chair: The Trust is responsible, essentially, for the oversight of the management, the senior management of the BBC.
Lord Patten: Yes.
Q252 Chair: You ended up with a position where Caroline Thomson had gone, Zarin Patel is going, John Smith is going and there was a vacancy caused by the elevation of George Entwistle. There was then another vacancy when Tim was elevated to take over from George Entwistle after George Entwistle had gone. Essentially, the entire senior management of the BBC disappeared in the space of a few weeks. Was that just incredibly bad luck or was that a failure of oversight?
Lord Patten: No, it was mostly bad luck. The decision about Caroline Thomson was made by Mr Entwistle and Caroline Thomson, because he did not think there was a post of Chief Operating Officer that was needed anymore.
Q253 Chair: Do you think that he is still right in the light of what has ultimately happened?
Lord Patten: I do not think it would have made very much difference. It might have done. She is a very competent woman. It might have made a difference if she had been there but I cannot quite see how it would have affected, for example, the second Newsnight programme. Nowadays people say that the big mistake was not letting Caroline Thomson go but, before my time, letting Mark Byford go who was a very safe pair of hands and looked in detail at every bit of journalism and every bit of current affairs. I just do not know. It is quite easy to be wise after the event on this but it is obviously, to understate the point, less than desirable to have almost everybody in a senior position in the BBC in an acting role, which is why-we will come to this, I am sure-I was very keen to appoint a new Director-General as quickly as possible.
Q254 Chair: It did give the outside world the impression that the BBC was in complete meltdown.
Lord Patten: Yes.
Chair: Are you confident that that now could not happen again, that you are going to learn lessons from this and put in place contingency plans?
Lord Patten: Yes, we have been incredibly grateful for the way in which Tim Davie has already started to get things back on to an even keel. He has done a terrific job and I am sure that he, with Tony Hall, will be helping to choose and build a team to move the BBC forward in the coming weeks and months.
If I may say so, one of the problems that the last Director-General faced was to be hit within two weeks by a crisis in which he was implicated or involved because part of the accusation-Mr Pollard is looking at this-was that he had known, or should have known, about the Newsnight investigation being pulled, and therefore since he should have known about the investigation, he should not have allowed two tribute programmes to Jimmy Savile to be played over the Christmas period. The Committee invigilated him about this, asked him questions about this. That really did bowl him over, the fact that he was sort of involved in the crisis himself. Unfortunately it had further consequences.
Tim Davie: Clearly this is a major crisis at the BBC, and there are valid questions around the strength of debates, as the Chairman has outlined, about whether more experience here or there would have made a difference. I understand the public perception-meltdown, chaos. Within the BBC-you are more than welcome to come and walk the corridors, as I have done, and walk the floor, if you get the top 100 leaders of the BBC in a room at this point in time, there is not chaos. They are delivering their output. They are aghast at what has happened but they are very good and they are delivering. So that is why one of my key focuses has been business as usual, delivering Children in Need, delivering the investigative journalism we saw last night on Panorama. This is not an organisation that is falling apart internally. It has major challenges in terms of its senior team, in terms of establishing the right people for the long term in those jobs with the right experience. But we have a lot of experience in the BBC and it is not chaos. I would be more than happy for people to join me and walk the floors of the BBC and talk to the staff about it. They have real concerns about what has happened and, particularly, obviously concerns in the history of the BBC and what happened with Savile, but also they are aghast at some of the journalistic failing we have seen. Of course they are. They take it personally. I take it personally. But that does not mean the BBC, in itself, is in meltdown on the floor. That is not what is happening.
Q255 Mr Sutcliffe: There is a lack of confidence. If you speak to the regional people in Yorkshire, for instance, there is a lack of confidence in the senior management. Not you, but over what has happened.
Tim Davie: If you have been through the situation that we have been through over the last few weeks-I say with some irony that morale in the BBC is often quoted as being at an all-time low-there has, without a doubt, been a knock to confidence in senior management. I take that. But what they will see under the leadership we currently have, and I am sure under Tony Hall’s leadership, is a real commitment to earn back that trust. That is work that is happening quite rapidly. You saw some really, frankly, tragic events over the couple of days regarding George Entwistle and what happened, but quite quickly the BBC got back to calmly delivering output.
That is not for a minute minimising the severity of what we have to deal with here. It is serious, and we have a lot of work to do. I was just trying to set the context of what is happening both journalistically and across the BBC, but I take your point.
Q256 Paul Farrelly: Mr Davie, you have just mentioned Panorama. When George Entwistle made his very ill advised appearance before us a few weeks ago, with no preparedness that we could see, he extolled the virtues of the Panorama programme that went out attacking Newsnight. But I asked him a question, "Who’s in charge of the BBC? You’ve set up reviews, you’ve had to back-track and change things, but the reviews are in place. Then suddenly Panorama comes up as a vehicle used by a producer and a journalist to attack, hang, draw and quarter an editor who may have made mistakes but who was being investigated.". Would you sanction that?
Tim Davie: You are talking to the right man because I agree with Panorama.
Lord Patten: Tim was in charge of the coverage. Look, it is one of the strengths, one of the virtues of the BBC that it tries to tell the truth about itself even when the truth is appalling. People are talking not only about that Panorama but about John Humphrys’ interview with George Entwistle that was-how to be polite?-a bruising encounter. But John Humphrys does that with Chancellors of the Exchequer and Prime Ministers, so it is absolutely right that he should do the same in spades with his boss. It is an indication of the importance of the BBC as a pluralistic journalistic organisation that it behaves like that. I am not sure that newspapers always do, although I am sure all those that are represented in this room behave entirely like that.
Q257 Paul Farrelly: You shifted the grounds with John Humphrys. The question that I asked-
Lord Patten: Let Tim talk about Panorama.
Tim Davie: Just to be clear, Panorama passed muster. I do not agree with the analysis that anyone was hung, drawn and quartered in that programme, and we will probably beg to differ on that. It is utterly clear from my point of view that we go into Pollard without any blame attached to individuals at this point. We need Pollard to do his work. Now, there was a clear right of reply-in the weird world of the BBC-for the BBC. They gave a right of reply. That is how the programme works. I stand by that.
Paul Farrelly: I am sorry, I cannot conceive of any other organisation that would allow one-
Tim Davie: Isn’t that one of the wonderful things that the BBC does?
Q258 Paul Farrelly: If you take the view that the Panorama programme was full of remarkable journalism, because there was a bit of shoddy journalism in that programme as well where the interviewer allowed the producer, who was using it as a vehicle to attack his former editor, to avoid the question of what he did with the evidence that they had amassed over so many months over Savile.
Tim Davie: We are into the specifics of an individual interview, which I am quite happy to go into but we had many voices in the programme; so you had Kevin Marsh, you had others talking about the various perspectives on the affair. No-one was hung, drawn and quartered in that programme, but it was a very important programme for us to make and I stand by it.
Q259 Paul Farrelly: It just begs the question of who is running the BBC.
Tim Davie: Well no, it was very clear at that point.
Paul Farrelly: Who is in charge of the BBC?
Tim Davie: No. To be fair, in that case it was utterly clear who was in charge. There was no doubt who was in charge-Peter Horrocks running news and I was editor-in-chief for coverage of Savile. There was not an ounce of complexity in that.
Lord Patten: I totally agree with that, but of course it is sometimes inconvenient that this happens. The toughest interview I have had for a very long time was with Eddie Mair on the PM programme about a week or 10 days ago. Do I feel after that, "Why is he working for us?" To be honest, part of me does, but on the other hand that is the glory of the BBC-that you get savaged by your own people.
Tim Davie: Can I make a point that probably helps a little bit? When I took over as Acting Director-General, one of the things to your point that I thought would reach the point that was not ideal was to have two lines of news management. In other words, we had a situation where we had a line of people who were recused from Savile stories and we had another line of management. That is why we had to set up people like myself in an editorial role through a different chain. One of the first actions I took, and it was a situation where having someone running the BBC who was not subject to the Pollard inquiry could do immediately, and that was get back to one line of news control. Now, I agree that having two editorial chains in the BBC is by no means an ideal situation and that was one of the first actions I took. So, I do take the point that there was increased complexity versus the ideal. I take that point.
Q260 Philip Davies: Lord Patten, when you went on the Andrew Marr programme and you were discussing the John Humphrys interview, you said, "Well, you don’t go on an interview with John Humphrys and expect the bowling to be slow full tosses" was what you said. Now, you do expect slow full tosses when Andrew Marr interviews you. So, can you explain to us why you decided to go on the Andrew Marr programme straight after the dismissal, or resignation, of George Entwistle, whichever it was? Did you choose that because you wanted some slow full tosses?
Lord Patten: I am not sure that I would analyse or describe Andrew Marr’s technique as an interviewer as slow full tosses. You should have been on some of the programmes I have been on. I remember being interviewed on Singapore television and going to sleep during one of my own answers. Actually, slow full tosses are very often when you make mistakes as an interviewee. I had agreed to do the Andrew Marr programme before the decisions taken on the Saturday night on George Entwistle-I think that is true but I can give you the exact time when I check.
Q261 Philip Davies: It was striking that you did not go on Sunday Politics to be interviewed by Andrew Neil, for example. Why was that?
Lord Patten: Well, I have too much regard for the boredom threshold of the British public. I don’t want to go everywhere.
Philip Davies: Were you asked to go on Sunday Politics to be interviewed by Andrew Neil?
Lord Patten: Not so far as I know.
Philip Davies: You were not asked to go on?
Lord Patten: I do not believe so.
Philip Davies: Are you absolutely sure about that?
Lord Patten: No, I am not absolutely sure about that because I do not-
Philip Davies: So you do not know who asked you go on and why?
Lord Patten: I do normally know who asks me to go on what, but sometimes-to the immense surprise of my wife and family-large numbers of people want to interview me.
Philip Davies: You do not know whether Andrew Neil asked you, whether you were asked to go on the Sunday Politics and be interviewed by Andrew Neil on that day?
Lord Patten: No.
Philip Davies: Would you have gone on if you had been asked?
Lord Patten: Probably not because I would have taken the view that one interview on Sunday was enough.
Philip Davies: Or that he might give you a tougher ride than Andrew Marr?
Lord Patten: No, although I have great respect for Andrew Neil as an interviewer, and as a former journalist, I would have probably taken the view that I should go on the programme with the larger audience and that is Andrew Marr, isn’t it? I would have taken the view that having done one programme was probably as much as the market would bear for a quiet Sunday.
Philip Davies: Well, with the Chairman’s indulgence, I would like to come back to you a bit later.
Lord Patten: Good.
Q262 Philip Davies: But for now, can I ask you about Mark Thompson whose praises you were singing when he left the BBC? What do you think of Mark Thompson’s explanation of what he knew about Jimmy Savile and Newsnight and all that kind of stuff? What do you think of his explanation of what he knew and when he knew it?
Lord Patten: I will be better able to comment on that after Pollard has replied.
Philip Davies: As the Chairman of the BBC Trust you have no opinion?
Lord Patten: The reason why we set up the Pollard inquiry was so that it could ask those questions.
Philip Davies: Have you not asked those questions?
Lord Patten: I am waiting for Mr Pollard’s inquiry to report before I comment on the position of those that he is interviewing himself.
Q263 Philip Davies: When did you last speak to Mark Thompson about all of this?
Lord Patten: I last spoke to him about a month ago. I went to a lecture that he gave in Oxford on rhetoric. It was before he took his job at The New York Times and we had a brief conversation about the issues surrounding Savile and the inquiries.
Q264 Philip Davies: How many times have you spoken to him about the Savile and Newsnight situation?
Lord Patten: How many times since when?
Philip Davies: Since you found out about it. You could not speak to him before you found about it, so how many times have you spoken to him since you found out about it?
Lord Patten: On that occasion-I have only seen him about-
Philip Davies: There are telephones.
Lord Patten: Yes, but you do not set up an inquiry, an expensive inquiry and then bark yourself.
Philip Davies: Did you not speak to him before you set up the inquiry?
Lord Patten: No.
Philip Davies: Why not?
Lord Patten: Because he was no longer Director-General of the BBC.
Philip Davies: But he was at the time. On something that is a big crisis for the BBC, did you not think it was worthwhile speaking to the person who was the Director-General at the time?
Lord Patten: I thought that was probably something that Pollard should do rather than myself.
Q265 Philip Davies: What do you get paid to do, Lord Patten?
Lord Patten: What I get paid to do is to chair the BBC Trust.
Philip Davies: Quite.
Lord Patten: You are probably aware of the responsibilities of the BBC Trust.
Q266 Philip Davies: Mark Thompson, for the record, seemed to say, as far as I recall from what I have heard, that he never heard any allegation about Jimmy Savile while he was the Director-General. He left the BBC on 16 September. On 6 September, 10 days before he left, Mark Thompson got BBC lawyers to write to The Sunday Times to tell them to stop a story alleging he did know about what had happened and threatened to sue them if they ran the story. So, what do you make of that?
Lord Patten: You know perfectly well that I am not going to reply to questions that are being looked at by Nick Pollard’s inquiry. You know that perfectly well, so you can go on asking those questions but you are going to get the same answer.
Philip Davies: But the point is, Lord Patten, it does not relate to you because you said that you did not know anything about this until 28 September, I think it was.
Lord Patten: Yes, the weekend when the Standard broke the story.
Q267 Philip Davies: You cannot just let the ball go through to the wicket keeper all the time. You have to play at some of these. They relate to your particular role as Chairman of the Trust. Were you not aware of this letter that Mark Thompson sent to The Sunday Times threatening to sue them if they ran a story implicating him?
Lord Patten: No.
Philip Davies: You did not know about that?
Lord Patten: No.
Q268 Philip Davies: So, on 7 September, ITV sent a letter to the BBC to say that they were going to run a programme about Jimmy Savile. Are you happy that Mark Thompson did not know anything? He did not know anything about the legal letter that was sent on his behalf, apparently. Are you also happy he did not know anything about that letter?
Lord Patten: No, I did not know about the letter on 7 September and I just wonder, as this questioning proceeds, whether you have ever read the Charter.
Philip Davies: 8 September-
Lord Patten: Sorry, what was the answer to that question?
Philip Davies: I am not getting an answer to my question. I have the Charter here. We will come back on to your role later. As I have said, I am asking about Mark Thompson at the moment. On 8 September, both you and Mark Thompson hosted a party at the last night of the Proms. So, the day before that, the BBC had received a letter from ITV to say that they were going to run a programme about Jimmy Savile; the day before that, Mark Thompson, the Director-General, got lawyers to write to The Sunday Times to tell them to stop a story or else he would sue them, and on 8 September this was never even mentioned. The Director-General did not even say to you, "By the way, there’s something that’s happened. I need to have a chat with you about this". Nothing at all was mentioned about it.
Lord Patten: No.
Philip Davies: So, he never said, "I want to speak to you about something important"?
Lord Patten: No.
Q269 Philip Davies: What do you think it says about you, as the Chairman of the Trust? Are you seen as some kind of patsy for the Executive of the BBC; that there are very serious issues that are coming up and you do not even need to know about them as the Chairman of the Trust?
Lord Patten: If I were you, I would renew your acquaintance with the Charter-
Philip Davies: No, I am trying to get some answers from you, Lord Patten.
Lord Patten: I have given you answers.
Philip Davies: You did not know what was going on?
Lord Patten: I was not told about that letter.
Q270 Philip Davies: What do you think about Mark Thompson and his role in all this? Do you not have an opinion?
Lord Patten: I will have a better informed opinion after Nick Pollard produces his report.
Philip Davies: So, is your opinion only going to be the same as Pollard’s?
Lord Patten: No, my opinion will be coloured by Mr Pollard’s and if it was not going to be, what would be the point of having the Pollard inquiry?
Philip Davies: Apart from to save you having to answer any difficult questions.
Lord Patten: That is extremely unfair-I would almost say unworthy but I am not sure that I would make that additional point. It is an extremely unfair question, because you know perfectly well that when George Entwistle came before this Committee on 23 October, I volunteered to come at that time and the Committee, probably very sensibly, decided it did not want me. I am always prepared to come and answer questions from this Committee, not least because it renews my acquaintance with you.
Philip Davies: I will come back to you later, Lord Patten.
Lord Patten: That is something I look forward to.
Q271 Tracey Crouch: After the original Savile affair broke, both the BBC management and the Trust seemed totally paralysed. In light of some of the answers to my colleagues’ questions, are you satisfied that both responded appropriately to the crisis?
Lord Patten: Arguably, we could have been a bit quicker in establishing the inquiry-in effect, in establishing two. I just refer again to the fact that some of the other institutions where Mr Savile apparently behaved exceptionally appallingly have not yet established inquiries. We spent a few days talking to the police, who were incredibly helpful, and the police took the view that we should not set up our own inquiry until they were satisfied that they had their own investigations in hand. Maybe we should have questioned that a bit more strongly. But it is still the case that the ITV Exposure broadcast went out on 3 October and we announced an inquiry on the 8th, and the following week were able to name the people conducting both the inquiries and give the terms of reference. Although it is fair to say that we were slow to accept that there should be a separate inquiry on Newsnight in addition to the inquiry on the culture of the BBC, which is again a lesson to be learned. So could we and should we have been a bit faster? Yes, we should have been.
Q272 Tracey Crouch: Part of the response from the BBC to the Jimmy Savile exposé was to remove Helen Boaden and Stephen Mitchell from their decision making role. Do you think in hindsight, given what happened with McAlpine on Newsnight, that that was a mistake?
Lord Patten: I do not think it was a mistake but it had consequences that are being addressed at the moment by Tim Davie.
Tim Davie: When you say "remove" what happened was Helen and Stephen remained in their roles but they were, as we talked about earlier-I am trying not to use the word "recuse"-but they were recused from Savile stories.
Now, what happened was when I came in that weekend after the departure of George, I decided-I will be repeating myself here-to establish one news line. At that point, we decided that Helen and Steve should step aside while the Pollard inquiry progresses. Just to be clear, there was no implication of blame at that point and there should not be. We absolutely wanted a fair process and one of the things that I want to go on record with is that we must ensure a fair process through Pollard, look at the evidence and do justice to individuals who are in no way implicated at this point. This is why we are sensitive to the questioning, because that is the minimum we owe everyone involved in this affair. That was the decision-making process we went through.
On the Chairman’s point, the learnings here are that by and large we have done the right thing, but it took us too long to clock it at times, and with those few days it took a bit of time. I have to say in the heat of battle these calls are often made. With hindsight, yes, we could have moved a bit quicker. Personally, I am a fan of doing the right thing more than anything. So, you could look at a few days here or there in that period. This is not unnatural in corporations, but it does not make it excusable.
Q273 Tracey Crouch: But you are suggesting that the McAlpine, the Newsnight 2, was related to Savile, when MacQuarrie quite clearly said it was different?
Tim Davie: With respect, it is not related to Savile. I suppose you could argue because it went up the Savile line of reporting in news, this alternative line-
Q274 Tracey Crouch: So it was failure of judgment within the reporting line?
Tim Davie: No, with McAlpine I am very clear that the primary issue was the one we talked about earlier, which is a basic journalistic failing. The people on the ground will tell you that although there was complexity over the two news lines, it was not the key issue of the day. The key issue of the day, in that report, was a journalistic mistake, a significant journalistic mistake. I know that joining the dots is sometimes a little complex, but I then came in and said that looking at the span of issues we had, and given the fact that my personal position was not compromised, I could now move back to a single news line in the editorial chain, and that was what I implemented. I stand by the decision. I think it was absolutely the right decision at that point and I have hopefully made clear to the Committee the rationale behind that.
Q275 Tracey Crouch: Lord Patten, you said on The Andrew Marr Show that when you came to the BBC there were more senior leaders in the BBC than there were in the Chinese Communist Party, that you had to devolve decision making as much as possible and with devolved decision making comes people’s preparedness to take responsibility. Clearly, there were not enough people to supervise those who were making journalistic decisions. Could it not be argued that there are perhaps not enough supervising managers within the BBC?
Lord Patten: I would have difficulty sustaining that argument in the BBC and indeed outside. Yesterday I was speaking to an organisation called the Voice of the Listener and Viewer and they would have had some difficulty accepting that.
Q276 Tracey Crouch: Somebody made a journalistic error within the BBC. You referred to it as a terrible elementary journalistic failure. If you had a manager who had the editorial judgment to understand the standards and the guidelines, they would recognise that failure.
Tim Davie: With respect, it was not about the number of people involved. We had an acting editor in there, we had someone responsible for the news division and we had someone from the management board. I get the point. There is a bit of delicious irony about this, which is that one of the pressures on us now is to, in some ways, add more news management, whereas we are on a path to reduce the number of management in the BBC. I do not think in any of these cases you can look at it and say there were not enough people involved in the decision.
Lord Patten: Can I just add a point to that? It is ironic, perhaps, that George Entwistle addressed these issues in his very first statement as Director-General. The senior leadership group had undoubtedly become too large. It has been reduced by 150 or so in the last couple of years. I said that it should come down, in my view, from about 3% of the BBC’s staff to 1% and that is continuing. I used to make my point sometimes about reading the job advertisements from Ariel magazine, which some of you will know are written in "automatic beaker disposal unit" prose. At the same time as taking out senior management slots, you have to encourage everybody to feel that they have a share in management. If you are the editor or a producer of a programme, you have management responsibilities and if we are going, as we should, to push down financial authority and budgetary authority to that sort of level, which I think is essential in order to get the best value for the BBC, then people are going to accept that everybody has to share in management and management is not them and us.
Q277 Tracey Crouch: You are reported today in the papers as saying that there are too many overpaid BBC managers. I wonder could you just define to me what an overpaid BBC manager is?
Lord Patten: Yes, an overpaid BBC manager is somebody who is not necessary to making fantastic BBC programmes or the support for making fantastic BBC programmes and who is paid by less of a discount to the rest of the market than most people in the BBC are.
We are going to talk, I am sure, about pay and other issues later. The BBC operates at a 70% discount to the market and that discount will probably increase. It cannot increase indefinitely, otherwise you would have nobody wanting to work for the BBC despite its reputation. So, partly because of the very proper pressures from this Committee, we have borne down on both numbers and pay levels and cut them both by at least 30%. The figure is higher now, isn’t it?
Tim Davie: Over the last three years we are down by about 40% in salary bill.
Lord Patten: As well as doing something else that is important, and is the only public sector body that has done it, which is to implement Will Hutton’s proposal for capping the top pay or the average executive board pay to median earnings and to guarantee to bring that cap down.
Q278 Tracey Crouch: I was looking at your annual report on the senior manager headcount by salary band. I was interested to see that of those earning from £70,000 to £220,000, the head count has reduced from 483 to 423. For those earning between £220,000 and £400,000, the head count has increased, admittedly by only one, but it has increased. I just wondered what you are going to do with these overpaid managers at the top.
Lord Patten: Well, what we have been doing is reducing the number, as I said.
Tracey Crouch: But it is really more of the junior ranks of senior management.
Lord Patten: No.
Tim Davie: I suppose it depends what you-
Tracey Crouch: Perhaps those that might be able to take decisions.
Tim Davie: In my point of view, by the way, anyone earning over £70,000 should have senior authority because we are getting into senior ranks at that point. There is a real appetite in the BBC to aggressively pursue this issue. The Chairman made the point about 150 over two years, and we have taken down the number of senior managers by nearly 200 over five years. We still have room to go. My personal view, as someone who has worked in many what might be called leaner corporations, is that having 1.5% or 1% senior management is a really good target for us. It would benchmark us against any media organisation in the world. We are moving towards that.
It is an interesting point you make, because often it is the controllers and the controller-level individuals who have huge editorial jobs, and we do have to compete in the market. There is a balance here because working for the BBC is a privilege, but we do have to compete for them. Those big editorial jobs are often the ones that command slightly bigger salaries. In my personal view, it is that very layer you are talking about that we need to keep the magnifying glass on and get the numbers further down, rather than stripping out the big editorial figures who are essential.
If you look at my last job in radio, it was the controllers running Radio 4 and Radio 2-they are the big jobs. I had to compete in the market, particularly for Radio 2 and Radio 1. There is a small pool of people who are editorially capable of doing that. We can all debate whether we would like to get them cheaper-of course we would. I do not want to spend the licence fee unnecessarily, but those jobs are critical to the BBC. One of the reasons we see that trust has held up in the BBC is because editorially those people deliver, and we are an operation that relies on human control of the editorial process, not just fixed processes. That is pretty critical.
Q279 Tracey Crouch: With a few mistakes being made by a handful of managers at the top, Mr Davie, how do you think morale is within the BBC?
Tim Davie: It has taken a real knock because people in the BBC are deeply passionate about the organisation. They love the BBC. I do. The BBC is a wonderful place. It is a wonderful institution, and they take this personally. That is what I would say. On the earlier points, there is also a job to do for the senior leaders. We are not stupid, so we know that. We have to rebuild trust with the staff. But if you went, as I did last week, and spent a lot of time on the shop floor going around programme teams, look at what is coming out the end of the pipe-Children in Need, like I mentioned, and the daily programmes that we are putting together-you would see that most people are getting on with the job. They are not broken. They are not in chaos. They are doing their work.
So there are morale issues based on the trauma of the last few weeks. There are questions about the senior management being on their game, but overall the BBC remains a place where people enjoy their work and are getting on with it.
Q280 Tracey Crouch: Lord Patten, the appointment of Tony Hall last week was announced on the Internet. We got an e-mail from you pretty soon afterwards. In fact, we got an e-mail before your own members of staff. Do you think that the BBC, supposed to be the greatest communications company in the world, is any good at communications?
Lord Patten: It is pretty good. I am slightly surprised at that because I thought the e-mails went out at the same time and I am sorry if they did not. But if you are saying that I, or whoever was responsible for pressing the button that sent the email, should have given priority to BBC staff rather than the Select Committee, I would say the BBC staff should have received the e-mail before you.
Tracey Crouch: I would agree, they are your greatest asset.
Lord Patten: But I think it can only have been either a mistake or a matter of minutes, but it is a fair point.
Q281 Chair: Can I follow up one of Tracey’s questions about senior managers on top salaries? You said there has been a downward trend. The BBC annual report of 31 March 2010 said the number of senior managers being paid over £100,000 was 324. The annual report 2011 said it was 280. The annual report 2012 said it was 255. So there has been a steady downward trend according to the annual report. Can you therefore explain why, in response to a freedom of information request on 31 May 2011, the BBC said there were 348 full-time staff being paid over £100,000?
Lord Patten: No.
Tim Davie: No.
Lord Patten: But we can respond to the Committee.
Tim Davie: Yes, it is who is in or out, I suspect, in terms of permanent employees versus-
Q282 Chair: This was full-time staff. It does slightly suggest that senior managers may have been reduced because people’s job titles have been shifted so they no longer fall within the category of senior managers.
Tim Davie: Well, we can double-check that. That is not our intent.
Lord Patten: I do not think that has happened but I understand the suspicion and we will try to respond very quickly.
Chair: That will be very helpful.
Lord Patten: What is absolutely true is the overall numbers have been coming down and will continue to come down. I want to make the point again that there is a limit beyond which it is difficult to go.
Q283 Angie Bray: Can I just ask you about Helen Boaden and Steve Mitchell, who have "stepped aside", as you say, while these inquiries take place? Is it their expectation, and is it your expectation, that they will return to their original posts once these inquiries are completed?
Tim Davie: As I said, there is absolutely no indication that this is anything but a temporary stepping aside until we have the evidence from Pollard, then we will review the outcomes.
Angie Bray: But therefore the likelihood is that they then return to their old positions, as was.
Tim Davie: I have made my position clear, which is they are going through Pollard like for like. Everyone going through Pollard. They have only been asked to temporarily step aside, so the assumption is, if there is no issue in Pollard-and we must let Pollard do a fair, independent process-then they are back in their jobs. That is how it works. I could not be clearer in terms of the process I have set up. It is worth registering the points I have made, because obviously it is a tough time for those involved in those inquiries and they need to be supported and treated fairly.
Q284 Conor Burns: Can I return to the question of Newsnight and what I think is now accepted-that Newsnight, in the first failure, failed to broadcast allegations that could stand up on Savile and, in the case of McAlpine, did broadcast allegations that it turned out could not stand up? The first decision not to broadcast seems to have been a considered decision, a reflective decision. In the second case, what was the rush? This programme was commissioned on a Sunday and broadcast the following Friday. Why did they rush the McAlpine story so quickly?
Tim Davie: This is not offered as an excuse, it is offered as context from the MacQuarrie work that I have been assessing. Their assessment was that stories were going to come out anyway around this. I do not think, in their own minds, they were inappropriately rushing, but they did feel the need to get the story out; they wanted to get the story out. It is simple-every journalist wants to break a story.
With hindsight, could they have spent a lot more time asking the right questions? I say a lot more time, but I think it is really whether they could have asked the questions in the window they had. Yes. The truth is, I am not even sure two or three days would have sorted this error. The fact is there were questions, there was advice given and they did not get to it.
Q285 Conor Burns: I have here a copy of the BBC’s editorial guidelines and the first sentence says, "The Editorial Guidelines are one of the most important documents the BBC publishes" and one would imagine that most journalists working on Newsnight would be very familiar with these guidelines.
Tim Davie: More than that, they have signed up against them.
Conor Burns: Are you familiar with what they say about stories that rely upon a single source?
Tim Davie: Yes.
Conor Burns: "We should talk to first hand sources" and "we should be reluctant to rely on a single source." The entire Newsnight platform relied on a single source and, it turns out, a very unreliable one. It then says, "Any proposal to broadcast a serious allegation resulting from our own journalism without giving those concerned an opportunity to reply", which McAlpine was not given, "must be referred to a senior editorial figure or, for independence, to the commissioning editor. Referral must also be made to the Director, Editorial Policy and Standards". Did that happen?
Tim Davie: It was definitely referred to Editorial Standards. On your point, we could not be clearer that there has been a very bad mistake. In terms of the source, there are nuances within this story because obviously the team believed there was a second source, which was the 5 Live interview from 2000, of which they played a bit of audio. By the way, none of this excuses what has happened, and I say again that people across the BBC are aghast at this error. They sign up against these editorial guidelines. It is what we live for. So this is a very important and very big issue. With hindsight, you go through this and you can see the errors of that day, but they believed there was a second source. They did have a debate about the right to reply and they believed that there would not be identification. They made a very bad error in that. I cannot put my hands up higher from a BBC point of view-we have been let down by a bad journalistic error that clearly infringes on the policies you are talking about.
Q286 Conor Burns: Yes. I agree with what Lord Patten said earlier. I regard the second Newsnight failure as much more significant than the first, because it threw an allegation at a fundamentally very decent man and has had a profoundly tragic impact on his life. When you look at what the BBC says about the naming of convicted paedophiles and sex offenders, they are given more protection than Alistair McAlpine was given by the Newsnight team. Lord Patten referred earlier to the fact that the tweets were out there, and you also referred, Lord Patten, to the "old days" of the BBC board. With new media, we are not in the old days, so these tweets were all out there. People, including prominent people who live in this building, were hinting that the person to be named was Alistair McAlpine.
Tim Davie: Yes.
Conor Burns: Do you, in retrospect, regret, when your attention was drawn to those tweets, that you did not speak to the Director-General and ask him, not to intervene editorially, but to look at the Newsnight programme prior to broadcast?
Lord Patten: If you want a different governance body, both different from both the BBC governors and different from the trust, if you want a system in which the Chairman is encouraged or allowed to intervene before programmes in editorial judgments, then so be it, but I think it would cause quite a lot of concern and upset. Do I wish that the programme had not been made and shown? Absolutely, 110%. Do I deeply resent the suggestion that somehow it was made because of differences of opinion I had had 20 years ago with Lord McAlpine? Yes, understandably, I do, but, as we know, part of the price we all pay for a free press is that sort of thing happening. Am I horrified by some of what one reads in the blogosphere and tweets? Absolutely.
That weekend, I went into tweets and the blogosphere about those sorts of stories, and read some of the crazed conspiracy theory stuff about a number of characters. I dare say, if I looked myself up, I would find all sorts of equally awful stuff, but I do not read tweets about myself and I do not tweet and I do not do a blog.
Conor Burns: For the record, I was not for a moment suggesting that about your relationship with Lord McAlpine-nor would I ever.
Lord Patten: No, I know. But others did do that.
Q287 Conor Burns: We are in the Thatcher Room. I do not know if you saw the comment of one of the outgoing editors of the World Service in Africa, who, on his departing day, said that he agreed with Aneurin Bevan that Tories today were still "lower than vermin". What would you say to the allegation that some on the right have made, that some within the BBC simply could not believe their luck that they could organise the words "paedophile", "Thatcher", "senior politician" and put them all into the same story, and it was that desire that was the rush that led to some of the inaccuracies, that led to the impugning of Lord McAlpine’s reputation?
Lord Patten: I doubt whether that was the reason for the story, and certainly, when I look at the Cabinet or the ranks of Government advisers, I do not buy the story that the BBC is a hotbed of Trots, but I can understand why you put that point, and it increases the concern about the story being wrong.
Q288 Conor Burns: My final question is on the future of Newsnight itself. There has been some speculation that the BBC is reviewing whether the programme itself has a future. Looking in from outside, you have held your hands up and said fundamental, significant journalistic mistakes were made and people have to take responsibility for that. Would it not be an overreaction to kill off a flagship news programme that has had such a durable brand as Newsnight?
Tim Davie: In my view, it would be an overreaction, yes.
Conor Burns: Good.
Q289 Chair: We talked earlier about the Pollard report and the transparency attached to that, and your promise that it would be published. We have had almost no details from the MacQuarrie report at all. It has talked about where the failures occurred, but what it did not do was identify who was responsible. Can you tell us who the most senior person was to agree that the Newsnight programme should be transmitted?
Tim Davie: Yes. The editorial chain of command was that Peter Johnston, who is the management board person, who is the Director of Northern Ireland but also editor-in-chief of Savile coverage, was informed it was going; Adrian Van Klaveren, who is the Director of News Coverage; through to Liz Gibbons, the editor. That was the chain of command.
Q290 Chair: All three of those individuals saw the programme and approved it?
Tim Davie: Not all three saw it. Remember, we are talking about a report, rather than a whole programme. My understanding is that Liz saw it, or the editor of Newsnight, and then had discussions with the line management.
Chair: All right. The most senior person on the BBC staff was Peter Johnston?
Tim Davie: Yes, he was in the chain of command, but really, just to be clear, immediately after I have got through the disciplinaries, we will make a full report available so people can read through it, and you will see this in all its glory in terms of exactly what happened. My only reluctance is simply that I want people to be treated fairly. What I have just said, by the way, we need to get into specifics for those individuals and the other people who are involved. The MacQuarrie report interviewed 12 people who are involved in the whole affair, and I am absolutely committed to get to the right outcome. I do not want to pre-empt that in any way, shape or form, because I think it is just absolutely the wrong the thing to do.
Q291 Mr Bradshaw: How long is this going to take?
Tim Davie: It shouldn’t take too long, because we are hearing disciplinaries now. They could go to appeal, so I am hoping within two weeks. Again, I want to do the right thing for the individuals, so if they want to appeal-we have talked a lot about "rush" in the last hour, and I am trying to restore some calm to the BBC. That does not lead to the proper actions and firm outcomes being taken, but it needs to be done in the right way.
Chair: Are you having to pay for lawyers for them as well?
Tim Davie: No, I do not believe so, at this point, although we may have some costs for the disciplinaries if they bring in lawyers, but they will be minor.
Chair: They will be entitled to have legal advice, which will be financed by licence fee payer.
Tim Davie: Indeed. If they are part of disciplinary action brought by the BBC, I think that is the case.
Q292 Angie Bray: Can I just ask you about the relationship with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, who were obviously part of this programme? Was it their idea that they brought to you to do this programme? Was it originally their idea?
Tim Davie: My understanding is that a reporter who was on their books came to the BBC with the desire to make it.
Angie Bray: Were they the ones that initiated this whole thing?
Tim Davie: The reporter did, yes.
Q293 Angie Bray: In the light of what happened and the appalling breakdown in journalistic standards, is the BBC reviewing its relationship with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism?
Tim Davie: Yes, we will review it. I have to say, from my point of view, this is primarily a BBC error. Regardless of whatever source it comes from-I thought Panorama was good last night, and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists took part in that-I think it would be the wrong call if we said the BBC could never partner with outside organisations and get other sources. The issue is, and this absolutely relates to Mr Burns’ point about the editorial guidelines, that anything that comes on the BBC has to pass muster through the BBC process. I would not outsource blame as such. The BBC needs to own the mistake and sort it. To answer your question, we have suspended activity with the BIJ. I want to look at the reports we have done with them and make sure they all pass muster, and we are going through that process now.
Q294 Angie Bray: The Times, in quite a strong leader, just a day or so later, made the point that, in doing what you did, the BBC had pretty much outsourced its reputation to an outsider.
Tim Davie: I do not think the facts bear that out. I think someone came to the BBC with an idea for a report. This is on the BBC’s flagship news programme in terms of analysis and reporting. It is not good enough for me, I am not going to sit here and say, "Sorry, that was someone else bringing the report". It is ours, and I feel very strongly about this. At the BIJ, we have had someone resign, we have had them issue apologies. That is secondary in some ways, to me, in leading the BBC. I want to make sure the BBC processes are in place and it passes muster for the BBC.
Q295 Angie Bray: Of course, it was the tweet from Mr Overton that put the whole piece together. Without the tweet, I do not think we would have had the automatic link to Lord McAlpine.
Tim Davie: It was not helpful, but I think it is generous to say that, frankly. At the heart of it was a report on Newsnight that did not stack up, regardless of any tweet.
Angie Bray: Exactly. That is what put Lord McAlpine’s name into the frame.
Tim Davie: We could second-guess what gets you to a jigsaw identification, but my view is, regardless of all of that, the issue was that a report on Newsnight was not good enough, and that is euphemistic. It did not pass muster against our editorial guidelines. That is a very serious issue. Reputationally, if you think about all the things we are facing, it is one of the most serious things we face at this point in time. I totally agree.
Q296 Paul Farrelly: I know we are going to get on to Mr Entwistle’s departure, but could I just follow up my question on that Newsnight report? You were saying, Mr Davie, that there was a rush and an understandable enthusiasm to break a news story, but the most remarkable thing about that is it was an old story, it was a re-heated story that had been around before. There were plenty of old hands in Fleet Street who remembered it from the news coverage afterwards, and Betty Williams, our former colleague from Colwyn Bay, as the MP, probably remembers it herself. She is here to listen on the question of abuse in North Wales. It begs the question, do BBC reporters and editors only do their research on Google?
Tim Davie: No, they don’t.
Paul Farrelly: Do you understand the point I am making?
Tim Davie: My understanding is a reporter very clearly came to the Newsnight programme and said, "We have a witness that will go on record, and this is new". They were old allegations. They go back to the year 2000 on 5 Live. We know that, but, as per any journalistic process-not driven by Google, by the way-they came and said they had someone on record who would be filmed talking about this. Again, we can only go over this ground so many times. We know the checks that should have been made and the rights of reply that should have been offered, all the various things that should have happened, but that is what prompted this report. It is fairly standard journalistic practice. The issue was it was not robust.
Q297 Paul Farrelly: Lord Patten, can I ask you when and why you so lost confidence in Mr Entwistle that you were not only willing to consider his resignation, but also, had he not offered it, you would have had to, as you said, speak to the trustees about the option of termination?
Lord Patten: Shall I run through what happened after the Newsnight programme on the 9th, which owned up to having made such an appalling error? The following morning, as you know, George Entwistle was on the Today programme. That afternoon, we had a Trust conference with him, at which we expressed our considerable concern about what had happened and our concern that the Executive’s response should be adequate to the damage done. George Entwistle then left the teleconference and I discussed his position with other trustees, who were extremely concerned about whether we could allow things to continue to drift. George Entwistle phoned me up after that meeting, and said to me, "Are you urging me to go?" I responded, "We are not urging you to go, but we are not urging you to stay".
I then got a call that evening from him and from the Head of Human Resources, saying that he wanted to go, and wanted to go with 12 months and more. I went straight into New Broadcasting House and was told that he was prepared to go with a consensual termination of his contract, plus. We then spent an hour or so negotiating back and forth with his lawyer, and he would not accept departure on six months, he wanted to go on 12 months and more.
I checked with our lawyers throughout this process on what the position was. The options seemed pretty clear. We did not have grounds for dismissal. We could either accept a deal, a consensual termination of contract at 12 months, plus one or two other things that we can doubtless come to, or the situation would drift on and we would find ourselves with a constructive dismissal case and probably an unfair dismissal case on top of that, and the issue would now-certainly if there was an unfair dismissal case as well-heading towards the tribunal.
£450,000 is one hell of a lot of money. The idea that I did not understand how politically difficult it would be suggests a degree of political innocence on my part that, I have to tell you, does not exist. The options I had were absolutely clear. We either had to deal with it quickly there and then, broadly speaking, on the terms of 12 months, though that was less than we were asked for, or we had to go to constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal would have landed us with exactly the same amount of money, plus almost certainly another £80,000 for unfair dismissal. At every stage in these proceedings I had advice from Baker & McKenzie, and I am very happy to share it with the Committee, on what the costs of various options were.
I discussed it with Baker & McKenzie, among other things, on this basis: when I have to defend this in front of the PAC, is it defensible? Their argument was not only that it was defensible, but it was better than any alternative course of action, unless we wanted the BBC to drift on without somebody at the top. On that basis, I consulted the members of the Trust’s Remuneration Committee and then consulted the whole Trust, and we all came to the same conclusion. There are three or four other items that we can perhaps come to.
Paul Farrelly: Do you want to come to them anyway?
Lord Patten: Yes, I will come to them anyway. Perhaps I can go through them. There were four items. The first was a continuation of Mr Entwistle’s medical coverage for a year. The second was that we would pay his legal costs of contracting out of his employment rights. I now know more about employment legislation than I ever thought I would know, and under section 203 of the Employment Protection Act 1996, if somebody contracts out of their own rights, then any deal they agree to has to be agreed by an independent legal advisor, so we were paying for something we were obliged to pay to reach a consensual agreement.
The third element in the package was that we accepted that we would pay for Mr Entwistle’s legal fees, as we would have done anyway for appearing in front of inquiries. Perhaps I can just add one thing about the health costs. One of the first things I did when I became Chairman of the Trust was to stop the provision of private health insurance for new members of the senior management team-I cannot do anything retrospectively-for the very simple reason that I do not think it is right that senior managers at the BBC should have private health cover and the rest of the staff do not.
The fourth element is that we agreed to provide, with some conditions, assistance for dealing with the media for up to three months, but only after we had agreed any particular item, and it was capped, but we have not yet been asked for any assistance under that heading, and that assistance stops after three months. We could not have done the deal, given some concerns about the media, if we had not accepted that.
What did we get in return? First of all, we got a settlement that was less than we would have got if we had gone through constructive dismissal. Secondly, we got, which I think is worth having, a warranty from Mr Entwistle that if Pollard or anything else finds that he has done anything that is in breach of his contract or the BBC’s disciplinary guidelines, we can claw back some of the reimbursement, the money that has been paid.
Q298 Paul Farrelly: Have you kept any of it back, like you might do in paying a builder, for example?
Lord Patten: We have not paid it yet. We pay it in December. I am very happy to give the Committee and the PAC 11 pages of the legal advice that we have had, I am very happy to give you a timeline of what happened that evening, and I am very happy to give you the heads of agreement of the deal that we did with Mr Entwistle. I just want you to know that, when we were doing that deal on Saturday night in difficult circumstances, I was not unaware of the fact that I would have to explain it very carefully to Committees like this in the future, because licence fee payers would inevitably be exceptionally concerned about it.
Q299 Paul Farrelly: I am sure, Lord Patten, many people will understand the pragmatism. A lot of people have themselves paid for problems to go away. You have just used the phrase "and more" twice now, teasing us. Did George Entwistle ask for a Thomson? Did he ask for two years?
Lord Patten: No, he did not ask for two years, but he did ask for more. I think that is for him and his lawyers to-
Paul Farrelly: Did he ask for three-quarters of a Thomson?
Lord Patten: No.
Paul Farrelly: Eighteen months?
Lord Patten: No. I would not like to define anything as a Thomson, but he did not ask for that much.
Q300 Paul Farrelly: You talked earlier on about how you have done what you set out at the start to do, to bear down on excessive pay and the divide between the workers and the bosses, but with the Entwistle settlement, notwithstanding pragmatism, and also the Caroline Thomson settlement of two years, it also seems, in the public mind, you have destroyed the impression that you are bearing down on it.
Lord Patten: Can I just say something about George Entwistle? These are large sums of money. In his previous job, when he accepted it, he took a huge cut on what his predecessor had been getting, and when he took the job as Director-General he took it on a discount of £200,000 plus to what his predecessor had been getting, and a much bigger discount on what his predecessor had originally been getting. This is a man who had worked 22 or 23 years for the BBC, and had expected, I guess, to work for another eight years, and you should set those sums against what has happened. Do I wish, though it would still have caused concern, that his lawyers had counselled him strongly to accept £225,000? Of course I do. I think he does not deserve the reputational damage that this will have done to him, because he is a decent man who was overwhelmed by a difficult job.
Q301 Paul Farrelly: I mentioned the Caroline Thomson pay-off, and that was in entirely different circumstances. Having set your store by reducing the perception that the BBC is full of overpaid managers, do you not think that with some of these settlements you are in danger of creating precedents, that people will say, "I am only going to go for an Entwistle", or, "If I go, it is going to cost you a Thomson", or, "I will need a Byford if you want to get rid of me"?
Lord Patten: One of the things that I hope we will be able to persuade the NAO to do-the NAO may well want to look at this settlement, and it would help us if they would do-is look for us at the severance terms that we are contractually obliged at the moment to go through. I know there are proposals in Government for capping the amount of settlement that people can walk away with, and I think it is an issue that we do need to look at, but can I just add to a point that I made earlier? We, quite properly-because of the fact that the BBC is paid by the licence fee-work at a discount to our competitors in the rest of the sector, and I think most people who work for the BBC understand why it is that the Director-General gets a sixth of what he would be getting, or a quarter of what he would be getting, if he worked at one of our competitors. It is understandable that we take that discount and that there is an honour and a pride in working for the BBC, but there will come a time when somebody is going to have to sit in front of this Committee and explain why we have had to pay more for this or that job. I am sorry that a real effort to reduce salaries in relation to the outside world has also hit these two particular cases that you mention.
Q302 Paul Farrelly: Unlike other things that are in the news focus, this one has been discussed up and down the country at pubs and clubs, and one of my constituents said to me, "Mr Farrelly, you are on the Media Committee". Having heard about the bells and whistles attached to George Entwistle’s package, he said to me, "If that is honourable, I am a banana". Do you think the word "honourable" was the appropriate term that you should have used?
Lord Patten: The easiest thing, and I made this point yesterday, is to join in the general trashing of a decent man, and I am not going to do that. He worked with considerable professionalism and ability for the BBC for a number of years. One of the extraordinary paradoxes about what has happened is that he was an extremely distinguished editor of Newsnight, and indeed was the editor of Newsnight who stood up against huge political and corporate pressure not to name his sources in the case of David Kelly. He is a decent man and he does not deserve to be bullied or to have his character demolished. I think what has happened is a small tragedy, which has been made rather larger by that money.
Q303 Chair: You say he is a decent man. It would be fair to say that when he appeared in front of this Committee, his performance was not impressive, and you have also referred to his interview with John Humphrys on the Today programme, which I think you have said was "bruising". That seems to me somewhat of an understatement. He may be a decent man. Was he the right man to appoint as Director-General?
Lord Patten: We did a huge search globally, and, as the Committee knows, we spent, as you do with an executive search, about £186,000 on it. I interviewed people. The process began with me talking to what are rather disagreeably called stakeholders, former Chairmen and Directors-General, people who know about the industry and people who tell everybody they know about the industry even if they don’t.
We then advertised. We had a long list of people. I interviewed one in America. I interviewed one from America here. We got down to a long shortlist of eight, and it was the unanimous view of the Trust, a pretty varied group that he was the best candidate. There were other very good candidates, but he was the one who we thought would best reflect our concerns that the BBC should re-emphasise its creative functions and its distinctiveness, and who also had, based on 22 or 23 years of working at the BBC, a very clear idea of what some of the management failings were. Pretty well everybody at the time said it was a very good choice, and they welcomed his initial statement of managerial objectives.
Then he was, I think, completely overwhelmed by Savile and all that came after it. This Select Committee-let me try a bit of flattery-is not about "slow full tosses", to borrow Mr Davies’s cricketing metaphor, but it was not the first occasion on which somebody had been monstered by a Select Committee. I remember having difficulties in defending the poll tax in front of a Select Committee. You have seen Ministers, you have seen bank chief executives-it happens. That is not necessarily the only criterion. Can he manage an hour, or two hours, or three hours in front of Mr Tyrie’s Committee or Mr Whittingdale’s Committee?
Chair: It is not the only criterion, but surely it is a criterion.
Lord Patten: It is a criterion.
Q304 Chair: You thought that he was up to that, and able to deal with it?
Lord Patten: Yes. Partly because of his political experience, and there were quite a few politicians from all political sides who had worked with him and knew him and thought he was really terrific and thought he would do a terrific job, as I did. I hope he will still be able to do a terrific job somewhere in the media.
I repeat what I said earlier. I am convinced in my own mind that he found it incredibly difficult to cope with the crisis in which he had been initially involved. I think he found it much more difficult than any of you would to deal with photographers and cameras at the bottom of his garden. Margaret Hodge said, as you or I probably would, the other day, "Well, if you have cameras at the bottom of the garden, you send them out cups of tea". We maybe have thicker skins and more experience.
Q305 Mr Bradshaw: You should be aware that not all of us are critical of George Entwistle’s payoff or the way that you handled it, but I wanted to ask you something else about that Saturday. We know that conversations took place between you-or I think we know that conversations took place-and Maria Miller. Can you give us a categorical assurance that no politician, at any stage, suggested to you or put any pressure on you, or any of the other members of the Trust, that George should go?
Lord Patten: Absolutely, unequivocally. I had one modest passage of arms with the Secretary of State, but otherwise she has been absolutely impeccable. We had a disagreement about one issue and I do not want to go into that again, but no pressure from any politician of any party, no pressure from any Government official, except the perfectly reasonable suggestion that we should be as open as we could be in choosing a successor-perhaps I can come back to that-and occasionally an implication that perhaps we should be more careful next time.
I spoke to the Secretary of State at 9 pm on that Saturday night and told her what was happening, and she simply expressed gratitude for being informed, but I did not speak to her at all previous to that about George Entwistle’s position.
Mr Bradshaw: Sorry, who said that you should be more careful when choosing a successor?
Lord Patten: No, it was more implied. There were lots of emails going around, and some people responded to those and said, "We think that the process should be as open as you can be". I felt there was an implication, which indeed we managed, that, "You should get it right this time".
Mr Bradshaw: Was that from an official or from a Minister?
Lord Patten: No, it was from others. It was a general political sense I got.
Q306 Conor Burns: Lord Patten, I think every Member of Parliament who has been receiving letters and emails from their constituents will welcome you publishing the legal advice that led you to take the decision you did, and anyone who, in their incarnation before coming here, had to take these decisions will have great empathy with what you had to do, when you often have to take a decision that is legally right, even though it may be embarrassing.
Can I take you back to the Saturday and the sequence of events? You mentioned that there was a Trust teleconference with the Director-General. Was resignation talked about by the Director-General during that conversation?
Lord Patten: No. Except, when I say no, I mean yes. The Trust had made it clear that we expected very decisive action to be taken about the Newsnight programme, the sort of action that Tim Davie is taking at the moment, or considering taking. George Entwistle then said he was not sure he would be able to satisfy the Trust, and he said something like, "So there are implications that I may have to talk to the Chairman of the Trust about that, if I can’t do it". That I took to be the suggestion that he might want to resign.
Then, when he went off the conference call, I had the impression that some of my colleagues-and indeed, I think the Chairman of the Finance Committee implied this the other day-thought that his position was becoming terminal.
Q307 Conor Burns: Had you taken legal advice about Mr Entwistle’s position and the BBC’s position prior to that telephone conversation?
Lord Patten: No. The legal advice we took was from about 6 pm that evening.
Q308 Conor Burns: I am really trying to get to the core of when Mr Entwistle first suggested, or his lawyers first suggested, that he may have grounds for constructive dismissal.
Lord Patten: It was implied in all our negotiations with him that if we wanted him to go quickly and without a fuss in a way that was co-operative, then those were the terms, and otherwise the employment legislation would take effect.
Q309 Conor Burns: Finally, may I ask you this? I apologise in advance for the tone of this. Was the possibility of a constructive dismissal claim in any way related to the exchange you had with Mr Entwistle that you relayed to us earlier, where he asked you, "Are you asking me to go?" and you replied, "No, but nor are we asking you to stay"?
Lord Patten: I imagine that he would have relayed that to his lawyer, and his lawyer would have given him the argument that that could amount to a constructive dismissal. The addition that we faced, of course, was unfair dismissal on top of that, which would have piled rock on rock-or cheque on cheque-and would have made the whole thing even more expensive. If we had simply decided to end our contract with him, that would of course have cost 12 months as well, plus a lot of other ongoing costs, and also probably an action in the tribunal for unfair dismissal.
Q310 Conor Burns: Do you think if he had taken the decisive action that was taken on the Monday and Tuesday following his departure, he might still be in his job?
Lord Patten: Maybe. You can read novels about this sort of thing better than listening to me. I wondered, by the end, how much his heart was in it, as it were. I think he found the whole thing an appalling experience.
Q311 Angie Bray: Just very quickly from me. It seems to me it has also just been a terribly appalling mistake. I know that, rightly or wrongly, George Entwistle has always been seen as your man, your appointment, your preferred candidate, Lord Patten. You have made it clear that it was actually the unanimous decision among eight people, but whichever way you cut it, would you not accept that it was 56 days of the most dismal failure, and, as we have heard from you all the figures, the costs that have totalled up have just been an extraordinarily expensive mistake?
Lord Patten: I think it was after 11 days that it went wrong, so it is probably 43 days of real difficulty. After all that, we set in place those two inquiries. We appointed Dinah Rose. We have, alas, lost a Director-General. We have had an exceptionally good job done by our Acting Director-General, and have recruited another Director-General, who everybody says they think will be a great success in the job.
Angie Bray: But very expensive.
Lord Patten: Yes, although if you tot all that up it is probably not as expensive as his predecessor was recruited at initially.
Q312 Mr Bradshaw: It was absolutely the right thing to set up the independent inquiries, but I got the very strong impression, when George Entwistle came before us a few weeks ago, that he had this feeling, as he set up these independent inquiries, he did not need to crisis-manage the crisis. What lessons have you both taken from this crisis in how the BBC manages crises?
Lord Patten: I think that Tim has with him in place-and I am not saying there were not good people around before-some very good people. It feels as though somebody is responsible. It feels as though somebody is in charge. It feels as though somebody is there who knows what they are doing.
Tim Davie: There are a number of considerations here. One of the key learnings is that it is incredibly difficult to be at the centre of a crisis and manage a crisis-and glorious hindsight is always a wonderful thing, isn’t it?-but that puts pressure on individuals and has shaped some of my decision making in terms of who is doing what. I think that is an important consideration.
In terms of support systems for the job I am currently doing, I had to beef those up, and the ability to have an active radar and proper conversations, and also not to rush-if you talk to the wise people who have been managing the BBC in the past, and hear their calls around some of these big journalistic endeavours-along with a degree of calm is essential. They are some of the learnings and that is what we have tried to put in place in these quiet few months that I have been managing the BBC through.
Q313 Tracey Crouch: Lord Patten, you have spoken very generously of George Entwistle’s time at the BBC and his achievements, and you also said that perhaps a man should not be judged on just one Select Committee appearance. Could you have, or should you have, supported George Entwistle better in his role as DG, and do you think this is where the gap of not having a deputy DG really shows?
Lord Patten: On the second point, maybe. On the first point, look, when we appointed him, there was a completely bizarre piece in, I think, The Sunday Times, saying it was a "coup" by me so that I could run the BBC. The criticism initially was that I was trying to run the BBC. The criticism subsequently is that I have not been running the BBC. Without being able to do the splits, I really cannot manage both sides of the street. I have been trying to operate within the clear Charter guidelines; not necessarily easy, but I think that is what I have been trying to do. He was the Trust’s candidate. Tony Hall is the Trust’s candidate, and I am greatly looking forward to working with him. If I had tried, every time George Entwistle moved, to second-guess him or to tell him what to do, I would have been guilty of the "coup" of which I was accused.
Q314 Tracey Crouch: As a former Chairman of the Conservative Party, you will recognise that one of the roles is to support your leader-in this case, it was the Director-General of the BBC-as well as possible. I just sense from your response earlier that you did not really want him to go, but you did not want him to stay, either. That was not really unequivocal support for the Director-General.
Lord Patten: His departure was in his interests and in the BBC’s, I’m afraid, and I say that with very considerable reluctance. I am not sure I ever saw my relationship to the Prime Minister in quite the way that you describe, but I am grateful to you for knowing a bit about my obituary. I think that was the last time the Conservative Party won a general election.
Q315 Mr Sutcliffe: Can we move on to the future of the BBC? I reflection that we perhaps should have been talking about the celebration of the Olympics and the wonderful coverage that the BBC had done of the Olympics, and we are in the sad state that we are. Two quotes from the annual report strike me. One was from Helen Boaden that said, "The public sees the BBC as the leading source of accurate, noteworthy and impartial news. That’s a prize we guard carefully and never take for granted. We work hard to earn the trust of the audiences every day".
Then you, Lord Patten, said, "When I became Chairman last year, I said that at its best the BBC is a broadcasting organisation whose quality and integrity are unique". Trust has gone. The quality, perhaps, is still there, but the integrity has gone. How are you going to rebuild the BBC in terms of its relationship with the public?
Lord Patten: That is the biggest task we have. Trust in the BBC has taken a knock. It is still the case, I think, that the BBC is trusted more than any news organisation, but that is not a statement of complacency, because we have shot ourselves in the foot. We have to rebuild that trust, with the encouragement even of some of the media. There is a very good article by the editor of The Times today about Leveson, and he refers to the quality of BBC journalism and programmes in that.
Q316 Mr Sutcliffe: Going a bit further, in the sense of you being a seasoned politician who has been around for a long time and done fantastic work over your career, was there any time during this whole process that you have thought about your own position, in terms of whether you are the right person to be Chairman of the Trust?
Lord Patten: Yes, but I must be one of the few people who was asked to resign even before I had been appointed. That is what Mr Davies managed to do.
Q317 Philip Davies: My judgment was better than yours in appointing people.
Lord Patten: I am not sure about that.
Philip Davies: I think it was.
Lord Patten: Since you do not think the BBC should exist.
Philip Davies: No, it should exist, but just with a subscription.
Lord Patten: No, but I think, Mr Davies, unless somebody is forging letters, you have written to Ofcom, saying that the BBC is not a fit organisation to hold a broadcasting licence.
Philip Davies: I did consider it.
Lord Patten: That seems to me like a way of saying the BBC should not exist. Anyway, back to the question. I think my job is to work with Tim and Tony Hall and others to try to rebuilt the reputation of the BBC as the greatest broadcaster in the world. The BBC has been one of the greatest national institutions in this country. It is part of our national psyche, our national culture and our national sense of civic responsibility. We can be smug and complacent and, occasionally, as we see, disastrously inaccurate, but most of the time I think the BBC represents many of the best qualities in this country, and anybody who rubbishes the BBC should be forced to watch Italian or French or American TV for a week or so. If you want Italian TV with "bunga bunga" and the Prime Minister deciding who should run it, so be it.
Tim Davie: Just to interject, I do want to make a point. I think we are very sensitive to the issue you are talking about. We are concerned about trust, although you do not see a wholesale collapse; you see a knock at this point. Disaster territory for the BBC is a kind of arrogance that it will automatically come back, and the BBC, even if you look at the last few years, has been remarkably good at building and securing trust when other public institutions have had significant issues. It is a global phenomenon, and the BBC has done a remarkably good job of maintaining trust. Part of it is the debate within ourselves that we see that is often awkward but critical to us.
In terms of the approach for the organisation now, it is really straightforward. Very clear. Robust day-to-day output, so deliver on the ground flawlessly and make sure we do not make mistakes. Secondly, we need to build trust, which you touched on earlier with regard to management. As an organisation, I think our instincts are slightly better than our reputation, but it is no good me sounding off on that. We need to be more transparent, slightly more humble, and show the British public what they are paying for and show that it is genuinely good value. We are absolutely committed to doing that, and we know we have a rather large mountain to climb in that regard, but if you talk to the team, the top 100 individuals in the BBC, with all the pressures they get as well, there is absolute commitment to do that.
Q318 Mr Sutcliffe: I agree with that, and I go back to this confidence thing, having a good relationship with the BBC in Yorkshire and the people who represent the BBC up there. You are going through a programme at the moment of reductions in district offices and things like that. In Bradford, which is the fourth largest metropolitan district in the country, you are going to take the studio out of the National Media Museum, which will kill the National Media Museum, but also withdraw the BBC’s input into that museum. How can that decision be taken, purely on cost savings, without an impact on the community?
Tim Davie: I think we are looking at the impact very sensitively. We have to find £700 million of savings, so it is not a popularity contest. We are going to have issues where we make choices, and I am aware of the situation in Bradford. I know it is a very tough decision and cutting those district offices is difficult, but I have to trust the English regional management to say, "Okay, if you are making savings"-that is the choice they have made.
Q319 Mr Sutcliffe: This is a central decision, not a regional decision. This is a central decision taken on the closure of district offices for the understandable reason-
Tim Davie: No, I understand. I meant at the top level of the management of England, as opposed to a local decision within Yorkshire, which I understand. I understand the point.
Q320 Mr Bradshaw: Can I ask you about the balance of those savings? It has been suggested to us by the National Union of Journalists that that has shifted from the original intention in Delivering Quality First of 20% savings-10% in greater productivity, 8% in scope reductions and 2% in increasing commercial revenue. Then, in the more recent National Audit Office report into the BBC’s spending, it talks of 65% efficiencies and 35% scope reductions, so the implication is that you are looking for more savings in efficiencies, i.e. cutting programme budgets, rather than reducing what you do. This goes back to the age-old problem of whether you are trying to do too much and spread it too thinly, and Newsnight’s budget has been pretty much halved over the last seven or eight years.
Tim Davie: Newsnight has not been halved, to be fair. Not quite. Newsnight has gone from about £11 million to £8 million. I understand there is a fair debate being had about the level of resources, but just so we are clear.
Q321 Mr Bradshaw: Yes, but can you address this issue of the balance of reductions and whether that has changed?
Tim Davie: Yes, it is 65%-35%, and 10% and 8% in terms of, productivity and scope. I think there is a real appetite, as we go into the next round of budgeting and look at the last two years of the savings programme, for us to keep focused on scope as much as efficiency. You are absolutely right to raise this. Naturally, organisations of our type go to salami-slicing. It is the route of least resistance. It is often easier in the short term and more painful in the long term for making choices. Our record, even at 65%-35%, which I know sounds somewhat pitiful, is significantly better than previous history, when we have almost gone entirely to any efficiencies and dealing with ongoing inefficiency.
In my previous life in radio, we made a decision, which was instead of providing independent news provision for Radio 1 and 1Xtra, we would halve that and just deliver one. That is a really tough call for 20 individuals and a deliberate reduction in scope. The Asian Network we have rescoped completely to focus on doing less. Do I take your challenge that we should be making those types of decisions? Yes. Do I think the balance of 65% to 35% is okay for now? Probably, but I would like to see it move more in the scope direction and not see that further eroded, so I take the challenge. We have pretty good plans-I say pretty good, it is more than that. We have utterly firm plans in the divisions for the next three years. The final two years of the three-year plan, as we go into the Charter, is an area where I need to bring more focus, and I will be running the budget meetings with that in mind as we go through the next few months.
Q322 Mr Bradshaw: Is quality first? The language has changed in the Audit Commission report, from "Putting quality first" to "Maintaining quality wherever possible".
Tim Davie: By the way, one of the things I would like to do, and I am sure Tony Hall agrees with me, is about the amount of jargon we are sinking in-it is unbelievable. Job titles and all of this, do not help with the point I made earlier about the transparency of the BBC. Bluntly, I don’t think we have done ourselves any favours in this area. Whatever you call it, quality programmes come first, and we cannot be in a position where we are compromising that. We just can’t. I would rather do less and do it well than spread ourselves too thin.
Q323 Mr Bradshaw: You have talked twice now about transparency, and Lord Patten told the story of his encounter with Eddie Mair. One of the complaints you often hear from BBC programmes, particularly when the BBC is in a hole or in a crisis, is the reluctance of the BBC itself to put anybody up to be interviewed by their own programmes. Would you like that to improve?
Tim Davie: I think we should be putting people up.
Q324 Philip Davies: Lord Patten, how do you think you should be measured in your job as to whether you are being successful or not?
Lord Patten: I think I should be measured when people look at the period of my chairmanship of the Trust and ask themselves whether the BBC is making better programmes and delivering better value for money.
Philip Davies: How is it going?
Lord Patten: In terms of better programmes and value for money, with the exception of the recent pay-off, it has been going pretty well. When I sat in my office in August and considered the Olympics, and when I watched Parade’s End, when I watched last night the excellent programme on Hitler by Laurence Rees and Ian Kershaw, I thought, "This is a broadcaster of which I can be proud", and I want to go on supporting it as best I can.
Q325 Philip Davies: You said earlier that you did not become aware of the Jimmy Savile Newsnight issue until 28 September. Why was that? Why did you not become aware of it until then? It had been widely reported in the press back in January and February, so why were you not aware of that?
Lord Patten: I think there were three reports that were included in the great wad of press cuttings that we receive every day, and I think I am right in saying that at least two of those, though I have only reread them recently, said that the reason for dropping the programme had been editorial. I think I am also right in saying the ubiquitous freelance journalist, Miles Goslett, says that he took the Jimmy Savile programme to seven newspapers before he could find The Oldie to actually report it, and most of our national papers did not report it at all. If I was not sufficiently minded to pursue it, neither were the majority of newspapers.
Philip Davies: With respect, it is your job to pursue it. You are the Chairman of the BBC Trust. Those newspapers are not the Chairman of the BBC Trust. It was in the papers.
Lord Patten: You continually, and, I am sure with some subtle objective in mind, confuse the role of the Chairman of the BBC Trust with the job of Director-General of the BBC.
Philip Davies: You are supposed to be the regulator of the BBC.
Lord Patten: When the Director-General of the BBC has an editorial matter of concern, he raises it in his weekly meetings with me. He equally comes to the monthly meetings of the Trust with his colleagues, and I would have expected those stories, had he thought them to be significant, to have been brought to my attention then.
Q326 Philip Davies: Did you read your press cuttings that you refer to, that had it contained back in January and February?
Lord Patten: I flicked through them.
Philip Davies: So you did not read them properly? If you did, you would have known about it. You cannot say you did not know about it until 28 September if you had read about it in January and February.
Lord Patten: Presumably, if I had noticed them at all, would have forgotten them, or treated them as, I repeat, the majority of newspaper editors appear to have treated them.
Q327 Philip Davies: What did you do when you found out about it?
Lord Patten: About the Jimmy Savile case? I immediately got on to the Director-General and found out that he was consulting the police about how to pursue matters, and had also asked for an investigation of all the BBC’s internal documents to see if they could find any references to Savile’s alleged behaviour.
Q328 Philip Davies: What other meetings took place around that time with other people, with other trustees, when you found out?
Lord Patten: We have had several trustees meetings in the last few weeks alone. We have had, I think, 12 in the last month, but I can send you a list of all the Trust meetings that we have had.
Q329 Philip Davies: You said earlier that you spent at the beginning three days, and more latterly four days, a week working as the Chairman of the Trust.
Lord Patten: I said working in BBC premises.
Philip Davies: Working in BBC premises. Can we have a copy of your itinerary on a regular basis about the work you do, how many hours you spend, where you are doing your work, because-
Lord Patten: Certainly not.
Philip Davies: Why not?
Lord Patten: Because I think it is a thoroughly impertinent question.
Q330 Philip Davies: Do you not think licence fee payers are entitled to know how much specific time you are spending working on their behalf?
Lord Patten: I think you are entitled to know how much time I am spending, I think you are entitled to put down Freedom of Information requests for how many days I spend in the office or how many days I spend doing other thing, but if you think I am going to do a diary for you in order to satisfy some populist pursuit of somebody you did not want to run an organisation that you do not want to exist, you are kidding yourself. What is the role of it? Do you want to know my toilet habits? What else do you want to know?
Philip Davies: Lord Patten, I know it is difficult for you to refrain from being patronising. I think you described yourself as "smug and complacent" earlier. I wouldn’t have disagreed with that description either.
Lord Patten: I didn’t describe myself as that.
Q331 Philip Davies: If you can just refrain from that for a few moments and answer the questions that are put to you, it is a perfectly reasonable point. I do not know how many other jobs you have. You have declared 10 on your declarations of interest. The Guardian claims you have 13. I am not entirely sure if you would like to clarify exactly how many other jobs you have, is it 10 or is it 13? Are you a member of the International Board of Overseers for Istanbul’s Sabanci University? Is that your job? Did The Guardian make that up?
Lord Patten: No. If you look at the latest declaration.
Philip Davies: I have the latest from you here. There are 10 jobs here that you do. It is perfectly reasonable, given that you have been presiding over a shambles of the BBC over the last few months-you might be indifferent to anybody asking you any questions about your role.
Lord Patten: I am not. I am in-
Q332 Philip Davies: It is perfectly reasonable to say, have you been putting in the hours, putting in the yards that you should have done as the Chairman of the BBC Trust? You might think that is a ridiculous question. Many people are asking that question. It is perfectly fair to ask, if you have been spending all of this time-you said at the time when you came before that you saw big jobs as seven-day-a-week jobs-how much time you are spending there. It lists all these other jobs you have. Tell us how much time you spend on all the other jobs so we can make an assessment as to whether or not you are putting in enough time at the BBC.
Lord Patten: All right. Jobs for which I am remunerated involve 12 meetings a year, and even if it involves travel to some of them and reading papers, I would guess that is less than 20 days a year. In addition to that, I am Chairman of the British Council’s annual UK-Italy Conference, which takes place over a weekend and has one day preparatory in January every year. I was asked by the Government to chair the UK-India Round Table, which meets at a weekend and has one day preparatory to that. I am a member of The Tablet Trust, which meets on an evening in June or July, and I am afraid there is occasionally a dinner afterwards. I am Chancellor of Oxford University, a post that was held by Harold Macmillan when he was Prime Minister and by Roy Jenkins when he was leader of his party in the House of Lords, and that does involve quite a lot of ceremonial duties principally in June and September, and at other times of the year there are other responsibilities as well.
Q333 Philip Davies: You have given the impression to me today that you didn’t really know about what was going on, that you didn’t even think it was your job to know what was going on. All the jobs where everything has gone wrong were the Director-General’s, nothing to do with you. When something was your responsibility, you have handed it over to some other inquiry. It seems to me you have been treating this as some kind of sinecure post-a grand title, which I am sure would have appealed to you, as Chairman of the Trust-which does not really involve a great deal of work. Fortunately for you, the Government has just created another sinecure post you might want to consider yourself for. It is called the Groceries Code Adjudicator. You might want to move across to that one instead. It gives the impression that you didn’t really want to put in the hard work. You thought this was something that you could get paid a decent amount of money and not do a lot of work for, and nothing that you have said today has changed my perspective on that.
Lord Patten: That doesn’t surprise me.
Philip Davies: What do you say to that?
Lord Patten: I don’t have anything else to add.
Philip Davies: You do not recognise that description at all?
Lord Patten: No, I don’t.
Q334 Philip Davies: Do you think that the people’s trust in the BBC is a key role of the Chairman of the Trust?
Lord Patten: It is very important, and I am delighted that trust in the BBC, despite recent events, is greater than trust in any other news organisation.
Philip Davies: How has the trust in the BBC gone since you took over as Chairman of the Trust?
Lord Patten: It has fallen because of the recent problems.
Philip Davies: Do you not believe you should take responsibility for that?
Lord Patten: I think I should share the responsibility for rebuilding that trust.
Q335 Philip Davies: You have spent a fortune recruiting somebody who was already under your nose, but you did not mind spending a fortune to recruit that person. Then you have spent a fortune paying him off. He was your choice. Do you not take any responsibility for that decision?
Lord Patten: I am not sure that this Socratic dialogue with you is getting us very far. I think I have answered all the questions.
Q336 Philip Davies: I want you to answer this one. Do you take responsibility for spending a fortune recruiting somebody who was already under your nose, and then spending a fortune paying them off because they were not up to the job? Are you not going to take responsibility for that?
Lord Patten: The fact that George Entwistle was already a member of the BBC’s Executive and was recruited after we had looked at people from other organisations around the world does not mean that it was not reasonable to pay money for a search that is regularly done, including by one or two newspapers who have criticised us for doing exactly what they have done recently.
Philip Davies: Are you going to take responsibility for all of that?
Lord Patten: I take responsibility as Chairman of the Trust for those things for which the Trust is responsible. I take responsibility for, for example, working with local MPs to help save local radio. I take some responsibility for making sure that we invest more money in children’s broadcasting. I take responsibility for shifting more resources into World News so that there will be a more quality programme internationally. I take responsibility for bearing down on senior pay. I take responsibility for helping to drive the improvement of BBC Two. I take responsibility for those things and many more, but I also recognise my share of responsibility when things go wrong.
Q337 Philip Davies: Given that trust in the BBC has plummeted since you took over, given that you have wasted so much money, why do you not resign?
Tim Davie: BBC trust has not plummeted, just so we are clear. We have seen a marginal decline in trust. What is the exact question on this about?
Philip Davies: It is about trust in BBC journalism. It has halved.
Tim Davie: I am asking for the exact question that I am responding to in terms of that survey you are waving at me.
Lord Patten: Which is the survey?
Tim Davie: What is the question being asked?
Philip Davies: The question is the percentage of voters who trust BBC news journalists.
Mr Bradshaw: It was in The Sun. It is halved.
Tim Davie: In terms of trust, we are the overall trusted media provider, we are marginally down at 53%, and the next is ITV at 9%, and then it goes through a long tail. I do not want to be complacent. We have taken a hit on trust. Our overall trust levels at this point are higher than they were in 2008, and we can provide those data. The situation is still pretty heart-breaking for some of us who have been at it for a few years, really delivering-if you look at our radio services, if you look at the quality of our television programmes, we are very proud of what we have delivered over the last few years-because we have taken a knock. There is no assumption in my mind that we have an automatic, God-given right to get that trust back, but the idea that trust has wholesale collapsed in the BBC, frankly, is just not borne out by the facts. Newspaper surveys in the last two weeks have trust falling. Of course it has. We know that will give you a high number. That is not the message we get, bringing it to the public.
Philip Davies: This is annual, this is year by year.
Tim Davie: Let us have a look at the robustness of the survey, and I am more than happy to respond to it.
Q338 Chair: We are going to have to stop at any moment, but I have one last question.
Lord Patten: Can I just add a point? It was raised by Ms Crouch earlier, and we are only ever as good as the people who provide us with this sort of information. I am told that all BBC staff got an e-mail confirming Tony Hall as Director-General, which was sent at 12.05pm, and an e-mail to all Westminster MPs was sent at 12.24 pm, but it is possible that, because of our esteem for members of the Committee, we sent an e-mail to you a bit before.
Chair: I have the e-mail I received, which is timed at 12.15 pm, which is after, therefore, the staff.
Tim Davie: Chairman, if I may just deal with one of my answers that, at the time, was a bit wobbly. It was on legal costs for disciplinaries. I have had confirmation, looking into my files, that we will not pay legal costs on disciplinaries. We will pay for the inquiries, but just to be clear, we will not pay for disciplinaries. Thank you.
Q339 Angie Bray: On the Trust itself, it would seem over the last few months that it has not really successfully defended either the interests of the public or the interests of the Corporation with a great deal of vigour. I think there will be some suggestions that in that sense it has been a failure. What would you say to that?
Lord Patten: I would say to that that we had coped with a crisis that was an inheritance of the past. Nobody is, I assume, accusing us of being responsible for Jimmy Savile’s behaviour from 1964 to 1994 or whatever. I would say that we had responded to that with inquiries more rapidly than, for example, the National Health Service has responded to similar allegations. I would say that we unfortunately had to dispense with the services of one Director-General, but had done so pretty expeditiously, and had recruited another, who is widely accepted as a very good choice, very rapidly. I do not think that is a bad way of having handled things, but we have been hugely helped throughout that process by having such a very good and safe pair of hands as Acting Director-General.
Q340 Angie Bray: While you have two independent reviews under way and the Executive Board has been the one that commissioned the MacQuarrie review of Newsnight, what exactly has the Trust done? I think a lot of people are confused. What is the Trust actually doing? A lot of this goes back to the Executive Board.
Lord Patten: I can run through-
Angie Bray: Are you happy with this division, the split? Looking forward, do you think there perhaps might be a better way of setting up a better construction?
Lord Patten: I am sure we will have a lot of opportunities for discussing BBC governance in the future. The Committee knows that, having spent five years of my life in Brussels, I get a bit world-weary about discussions on institutional issues and governance, but I am sure we will be involved in that in the run-up to the next Charter renewal and licence fee. I very much hope, and indeed I am confident, that by that time trust in the BBC and its journalism will have recovered substantially, and when that happens, though I am sure Mr Davies will want to give me the credit for it, I will insist that the credit belongs to the Executive of the BBC and the people who work for it.
Q341 Angie Bray: The key player going forward is going to be your new Director-General, Tony Hall. Just a few questions about that, if we may. He obviously failed to win the appointment on two previous occasions when he put his name forward for the job as Director-General, so what makes him the right man now, when he wasn’t the right man then?
Lord Patten: He was not appointed on one occasion when Greg Dyke was appointed, which did not end well.
Angie Bray: There was a previous occasion, was there not, also when-
Lord Patten: No.
Angie Bray: I think there were two occasions.
Lord Patten: I don’t think so. I think there was only one. When we began the process of looking for a new Director-General, which led to the appointment of George Entwistle to follow Mark Thompson, he was one of the first people I talked to, and I tried to persuade him to apply for the job then.
Q342 Angie Bray: George Entwistle was then your second choice, to that extent?
Lord Patten: This is a real issue, when you ask somebody to apply for a job, and they are already doing a job they really like, and they fear that the fact that they have applied will leak, and they worry, perhaps-I am not saying this was the case with him-about the reputational damage that does. It is very difficult. The reasons he gave for not applying then were, first of all, he thought that it required a younger generation, which is a point he made then, and secondly that he was greatly enjoying his job running the Royal Opera House, and he was running the Cultural Olympiad, which he did fantastically well. When you are 68, 61 does not seem to be past it, and I think he has concluded, I am delighted to say, that this time the BBC is so important to him that he is prepared to give up a job that he loves and has done very well in order to come and do it. I think he sees part of his job as to build a proper team around him so that the next time that we have to find a Director-General, we do not have some of the challenges that we had this time.
Q343 Angie Bray: What is he going to bring to the job that George Entwistle was unable to bring to the job?
Lord Patten: Experience outside, and a combination of experience as a very good and strong journalist. There was an interesting piece about him by Steve Hewlett in The Guardian yesterday, and Steve Hewlett’s experience working with him, his experience of working within the BBC and in journalism, his experience in running one of our great cultural iconic organisations at the Royal Opera House, and his experience in opening up the opera house to much younger audiences, to socially more diverse audiences, and of course his work on the Cultural Olympiad. One of things that is always a challenge for the BBC is to manage both to encourage reach and to continue to challenge people with quality, and to challenge people in the way that has been an important part of this country’s cultural tradition, where there has been, happily, a belief that the average man and woman is a great deal better than the average. It is what helped to produce the Third Programme in the first place. It is what introduced people to poetry and music for the first time. It is a really important part of our intellectual history in this country, and I just hope we will not trash it.
Q344 Angie Bray: He is costing even more money in terms of salary than George Entwistle, I understand.
Lord Patten: He is going to get the same salary as George Entwistle.
Q345 Angie Bray: He is on £530,000 because he is also continuing to take a pension from the BBC, even though he is back working there again. I think some people might find that slightly strange; he is having a pension with the very organisation he is working for.
Lord Patten: Look, you can’t run the BBC on the basis that people’s statutory employment and pension entitlements should not apply to them because they are working for an organisation that is funded by the licence fee. He has contributed to his pension, for heaven’s sake. I could make comparisons with the political sector, but I will not.
Q346 Mr Bradshaw: Have you decided not to split the roles of Director-General and editor-in-chief?
Lord Patten: Yes.
Q347 Mr Bradshaw: Why?
Lord Patten: My view is that, while he will want to think very hard about the team around him and about responsibility for our news and journalism, having two emperors, like the Roman Empire, east and west, I simply do not think would work, because ultimately there has to be one person who takes responsibility and takes the rap, which is what has happened in George Entwistle’s case.
Q348 Angie Bray: He is starting in March next year?
Tim Davie: Yes.
Lord Patten: He is starting at the beginning of March.
Angie Bray: Decisions in the meantime are being taken by Mr Davie?
Lord Patten: Indeed.
Angie Bray: Those decisions will stand, regardless, or are you working with him already?
Tim Davie: Of course. Common sense will apply, won’t it? This is not beyond the normal in some ways, which is, I will run the organisation and I have executive authority until March. Any decisions that have a long-term implication, I will be getting the input of Tony Hall. We have already had a couple of meetings. Tony and I know each other well. I think that will work. We will just apply common sense. I think it is fairly straightforward.
Q349 Chair: In the case of the previous Director-General, who did carry the title editor-in-chief, as indeed do you, the Newsnight programme was not brought to his attention. It is hard to think what is thought worthy of bringing to his attention if that was not. Is there not certainly a suggestion that it is simply not possible for one man now to do both those jobs effectively?
Tim Davie: I can answer on the practical side of this. I absolutely think you need a team of people. Let’s face it, for many years, the BBC was successfully run-we had our moments-with Mark Thompson as a clear editor-in-chief and Director-General, and with Mark Byford underneath him, who could begin to judge issues. This is a judgment, and it is an editorial organisation that is based on judgment. What is clear is the referral processes and those that are of corporate importance need to come to the Director-General, and one of the first things I have done, for instance, is clearly list the 15 or so things that are on the radar that I think have a corporate implication, and I have the system running. This is about clarity and simply putting the right people in with a simple process. It is not impossible to deliver it. It requires the right leaders and the right clarity. Unfortunately, in the haze of the last few weeks, that was lost, and with fairly dire consequences.
Q350 Chair: You are confident that you are capable of fulfilling the functions of editor-in-chief, as well as overseeing?
Tim Davie: Absolutely.
Q351 Chair: Would you consider an appointment of a Mark Byford-type position as Deputy Director-General?
Tim Davie: I think that gets into the long term. The BBC needs, just like any organisation, a small, experienced, high-quality group of people where the trust and the relationships are well developed-again, this is not anything that is not normal among well-led organisations-with a clear leader. I will put that in place, and I will work with Tony. I am not going to put anyone in place in these jobs without the backing or input of Tony. It just doesn’t make any sense. It would be crazy.
Chair: I think that has exhausted the Committee. Can I thank you, Lord Patten and Mr Davie, very much for your time?
Tim Davie: Thank you very much.
Lord Patten: Thank you very much, and of course, if you want our input after the Pollard report or any subsequent developments, we would be delighted to come.
Chair: We will be in touch.
Lord Patten: Thank you very much.