1. ITV Report

'Cavalier' payoff for BBC boss was 'reward for failure'

MPs have delivered a scathing assessment of the way the BBC paid off former Director General George Entwistle at the expense of the licence fee payer.

Former BBC Director General George Entwistle outside BBC Broadcasting House after announcing his resignation in November Credit: Press Association

George Entwistle received £450,000 when he was forced out of the job after just 54 days. The sum was twice what he was entitled to, as set out in his contract.

He resigned following a series of scandals at the BBC involving Jimmy Savile, and the false allegations made in a Newsnight report about Lord McAlpine.

This is the package former BBC Director General George Entwistle received when leaving the corporation:

  • Lump sum of £450,000, twice what he was contractually entitled to
  • 12 months private medical cover
  • Contribution to the cost of his legal fees
  • Public relations advice to deal with press interest

The Public Accounts Committee said this "cavalier use of public money" was out of line with public expectations and what is considered acceptable elsewhere in the public sector.

Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, said there were a total of ten people who had left the BBC over the past few years who had walked away with over £250,000. She said some of the sums "beggar belief".

The Public Accounts Committee says the Comptroller and Auditor General offered to carry out an immediate examination of the package awarded to George Entwistle, but the BBC Trust turned the offer down. That meant Parliament was unable to hold the Trust to account for its use of public money.