The public spending watchdog is to investigate BBC severance packages after it emerged almost 200 senior managers received pay-offs of more than £100,000 each in the past three years.
The National Audit Office (NAO) will examine the situation after MPs said pay-offs for senior BBC figures had been "excessively generous".
The investigation was sparked after George Entwistle, the former director general, stood down over the Jimmy Savile scandal with a £450,000 pay-off.
Today an NAO spokesman said the decision to look at BBC severance packages was taken in the light of Mr Entwistle's departure.
A spokesman for the BBC Trust said: "The chairman previously suggested that it would be useful for the NAO to look not just at the package George Entwistle received, but at severance pay in the BBC more widely.
"We have received their schedule of work for 2013 and we are pleased to see that they will take this approach in a planned review for next year."
BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said the BBC had been advised it was not possible to try and get back the almost half a million pound pay-off warded to departing director-general George Entwistle. He told UK editor Lucy Manning yesterday:
"We have taken legal advice, and we would have needed I think, to be able to demonstrate that the report would have enabled us to do a summary dismissal, when he was working at the BBC, and the legal advice was we couldn't do that"
Helen Boaden, director of BBC News has returned to work today, saying it is not her job to decide if she should still be in post.
She also dismissed suggestions that the public's trust in the national broadcaster had diminished. She said:
"It is still the most trusted news organisation in this country"
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.