BBC apologises to family of young person over handling of Huw Edwards complaint

Huw Edwards.
Huw Edwards. Credit: PA

The BBC has apologised for the way it handled a complaint against its presenter Huw Edwards.

A review found there is a need for "greater consistency" in how non-editorial complaints at the corporation are processed.

A complaint about Edwards was originally made by the family of a young person to the BBC in May 2023, however BBC senior leadership was only informed of the issue on July 6, the review said.

BBC Group chief operating officer Leigh Tavaziva said the corporation has since apologised to the complainant.

The BBC said it tried to contact the complainant twice before The Sun newspaper published an exclusive story detailing the allegations that a BBC presenter paid a young person for sexually explicit photos.

Edwards was named by his wife, Vicky Flind, as the presenter in question, and said he was receiving in-patient hospital care and was suffering "serious mental health issues".

The Metropolitan Police said at the time the allegations were made that no criminal offence had been committed by the BBC presenter.

Ms Tavaziva said: "Although our existing processes and systems are, on the whole, working effectively, this review shows that we need to join them up better to ensure no matter how a non-editorial complaint comes into the BBC it is escalated swiftly, when needed, and dealt with by the right people.

"Where the review identifies process improvements we accept those in full, and we are delivering on an action plan with a number of enhancements already in place.

"The report identifies specific process shortcomings in the presenter case. The initial complaint in this case was not escalated quickly enough to senior management and we have apologised to the complainant for this."

BBC director-general Tim Davie ordered a review to "assess how some complaints are red-flagged up the organisation", in the wake of the allegations last year.

Huw Edwards was named by his wife as the BBC presenter whom the allegations had been made against. Credit: PA

He also ordered an additional "factfinding investigation".

The review, led by Ms Tavaziva and carried out by Deloitte, highlights failures in the complaints process, saying that the initial complaint about Edwards was not logged on the relevant case management system so could not be seen by senior figures.

There was also no documented process for contact and follow-ups with the complainant, so when attempts to make contact were unsuccessful, the course of action was not clear.

Additionally, the report flagged that some employees interviewed said they would feel nervous about raising a complaint with the BBC, particularly if it was about a more senior member of staff or a high profile figure.

"These employees said they have lower levels of confidence in how robustly the complaint will be handled if it is a grievance relating to another member of staff or talent, particularly where there is an actual or perceived power discrepancy between the complainant and the subject of the complaint," the report said.

To allow for "greater consistency across teams in how non-editorial complaints are dealt with", the report suggested "better use of technology to manage non-editorial complaints and work to ensure there is a complete picture of all cases across teams dealing with them; as well as work to ensure sufficient resources across specialist teams dealing with non-editorial complaints, to manage the workload in a timely manner without impacting on staff welfare".

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