BBC boss admits evidence error

The BBC's outgoing head of HR, Lucy Adams, has admitted making a mistake in her evidence to a committee of MPs investigating excessive payoffs to senior staff. Former Director General Mark Thompson claimed "inaccurate statements" were made to MPs.

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Lord Patten told MPs to call Thompson over payoffs

Lord Patten told a Public Accounts Committee that they would need to speak to the previous Director General Mark Thompson when he was questioned about payoffs.

Referring to his own lack of knowledge over the payments in July, Lord Patten told MPs: "If you call a previous director general of the BBC I will be as interested as you are why we didn't know."

Lord Patten appearing at a Public Accounts Committee about BBC staff pay-offs in July. Credit: PA Wire

At the time Mr Thompson claimed that the BBC Trust was aware of the scale of hefty pay-offs made to former staff.

BBC Trust: Mark Thompson's claims are 'bizarre'

“This is a bizarre document.

We reject the suggestion that Lord Patten and Anthony Fry misled the PAC [Public Accounts Committee.]

We completely disagree with Mark Thompson’s analysis, much of which is unsubstantiated, in particular the suggestion that Lord Patten was given a full and formal briefing on the exact terms of Mark Byford’s departure, which in any event took place before the current Chairman’s arrival at the Trust.

It remains the case, as noted by the NAO [National Audit Office] in its original report, both that the Trust under the Chairmanship of Sir Michael Lyons was told that these payments were within contractual terms and that the Trust did not have a role in the approval process.

The Trust has already published its own account of events, which took place well before Lord Patten’s arrival, and we look forward to answering fully and openly further questions at Monday’s PAC hearing.

For Lord Patten and Anthony Fry the overriding concern remains the best interests and good standing of the BBC.

– BBC TRUST

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