S4C apologises after report reveals 'unacceptable behaviours' at broadcaster

The broadcaster has apologised for what has been described as "unacceptable behaviours" at the network.

The Welsh language broadcaster S4C has apologised to "those who have had to tolerate unacceptable behaviours" in the workplace following a damning report into its working environment.

Capital Law, a law firm based in Cardiff, undertook a fact-finding exercise into the culture at S4C following serious concerns raised by the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (BECTU) in April this year.

At the time, no specific allegations were made, but more than 90 current or former S4C staff, or staff at organisations S4C works with, have contributed to the report.

In a statement in response to the Capital Law report, The S4C Authority said: "The report paints a picture of a very difficult working environment for many at S4C.

"Participants described an unsettling workplace, with some individual members of the senior management team behaving in an inappropriate way and with an approach that directly impacted the well-being of staff.

"As members of the S4C Authority, we would like to say sorry to those who have had to tolerate unacceptable behaviours in the workplace and for the upset that this has caused.

"We would like to thank you for your openness and honesty in sharing your experiences, enabling the failings highlighted in today’s report to be identified."

Last month, S4C's chief executive Sian Doyle was sacked after an investigation into bullying allegations at S4C, but before the report had been published.

Sian Doyle described her dismissal as "an unprecedented lack of governance for a public body."

Ms Doyle described her dismissal as "an unprecedented lack of governance for a public body."

She also called for the UK Government to step in amid the turbulence at the broadcaster.

Today's statement from The S4C Authority went on: "Participants recognised that change is needed at S4C and that the senior management team were intent on delivering an ambitious vision for the channel’s future.

"It appears however, that the way this was shared by some with staff and the approach to managing change across the organisation was insensitive.

"This often led to conflict and insecurity rather than creativity and a positive, inclusive transformation.

"It is clear that many S4C staff have been unhappy at work and that our organisation did not seem to have appropriate working practices in place to be able to deal openly and appropriately with staff concerns."

The statement continued: "The S4C Authority is committed to ensuring that S4C is a place where our colleagues are happy and safe – a place where they feel able to perform at their best and thrive.

"We recognise that significant work is required to put in place new ways of working that will allow S4C to build a positive future with a supported and creative workforce.

S4C is the only Welsh language television channel in the world Credit: S4C

"To do that, we need to restore confidence and trust amongst our staff, who have such a crucial role to play in the future success of the organisation.

"Integral to that success is leadership focused on collaboration and communication.

"As an authority, we decided that this would require new leadership at S4C, and we will shortly make further announcements about that process.

"We will work with colleagues, including the management and transformation teams and the recently-established staff forum, to encourage an open discussion and sharing of ideas on better ways of working.

"The interim leadership team has already made positive changes to enable better and more open communication within the organisation and we are thankful to them for their work at this time.

"They will continue to ensure that we have support for staff in place in the coming weeks.

"We have striven to put the well-being of S4C’s staff at the heart of our decisions throughout this process.

"It has been a complex and difficult matter to navigate with difficult decisions based on complex legal issues.

"Care has been taken to limit public statements that could lead to further conflict, and we will need to continue to carefully consider what information can be shared to respond to further questions.

"We will, of course, provide as much information as possible about the process as part of the ongoing scrutiny of the S4C Authority.

"We have shared this report with the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Welsh Government and look forward to parliamentary scrutiny in due course."

Llinos Griffin-Williams said: "As the Report makes clear, it was commissioned by the Chairman of S4C Rhodri Williams and he has been the key decision maker in all aspects of the report.

"I made a complaint against him in July which was upheld following an independent external investigation, he made a unilateral decision to sack me in October and I am bringing an employment claim which is highly critical of him. Capital Law who produced this report are instructed by S4C in relation to my employment claim.

There is no evidence of bullying by me in this report. The criticism of me in the report relates to poor communication and cancelling meetings by a small number of people. It has been published to the world in yet another attempt to undermine and humiliate me.

"I was not given notice of the publication of this report by S4C and not given a chance to respond to its contents. As the report suggests the Chairman himself has been implicated yet remains in post, DCMS must now intervene to preserve the future of S4C.

"The idea that this is an independent, fair and rigorous report is a fallacy. Once again there is a substantial lack of any duty of care or due process."

S4C say no further comments will be made.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…