BBC payoffs 'caused by a culture of cronyism'

The Public Accounts Committee has accused the BBC of "a failure at the highest levels" in handing over excessive payoffs to senior staff.

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BBC Trust 'regrets licence fee payers were let down'

A BBC Trust spokesman said the PAC's work had "helped inform" the corporation's plan to simplify the way it was run which were announced last week.

We greatly regret that licence fee payers were let down by this episode. They are entitled to expect that their money is spent wisely. Since 2009, the trust has worked successfully with the executive to drive down senior manager pay; and we support Tony Hall's speedy action to impose a cap on severance payments in the future.

We have already announced measures that address the committee's call for more rigorous scrutiny of the BBC's performance and clarify the Charter's requirement that the BBC Executive manages the BBC while the trust represents the licence fee payer.

As part of implementing these measures, we will pursue the committee's recommendation that the trust and executive record and communicate decisions properly so that audit concerns raised in the PAC report are addressed.

In addition, the trust's scrutiny role will, in future, be much more transparent, so that licence fee payers themselves can judge how well the BBC is run.

BBC payoffs 'total £25 million'

The Public Accounts Committee has said that 150 senior managers of the BBC have between them received payoffs totalling £25 million.

Former Director-General George Entwistle was given a £470,000 payoff after 54 days in the job. Credit: PA

Chairperson Margaret Hodge said they were "dismayed to find that many of these individuals received 'sweeteners' in their severance packages that were far larger than the sums to which they were contractually entitled."

The MP also accused the BBC Trust, the corporation's governing body, of "sitting on its hands" while the pay-offs were being made.

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MPs: BBC payoffs down to 'culture of cronyism'

A committee of senior MPs has accused the BBC of putting "its reputation at risk" in handing over excessive payoffs to senior staff.

Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge cited "a failure at the highest levels" of the BBC. Credit: PA

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, said some of the justifications for the pay-offs had been "extraordinary".

She said there was "a failure at the highest levels of the BBC to challenge payments to senior managers and what appears to have been a culture of cronyism that allowed for the liberal use of licence fee payers' money".

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