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NUJ responds to BBC Pollard report

19 December 2012

The NUJ notes with concern that the Pollard report identified fundamental failings of the management culture at the BBC, especially BBC News.

The NUJ believes that confirmation by the BBC Trust of “long term failings” in the attitudes of senior management is a positive step forward to tackling what the union believes to be a deep-rooted problem. It welcomes the confirmation from the Trust that “change must start with the people at the top behaving differently” including “embracing criticism”.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“The NUJ agrees with the Trust’s view that the top priority for incoming DG Tony Hall is reform of BBC management culture – this is vital and long overdue. For far too long the NUJ has dealt with regular complaints from members on this very issue – now at last the scale of the problem is finally recognised which gives the BBC an opportunity for meaningful and genuine change for the better.”

Pollard identified a “Silo mentality” (163) which “hinders leadership and proper taking of control”  because there is a “reluctance to step into someone else’s territory, and a person who does would be criticised”.  This goes a long way to confirming the NUJ’s view of a dysfunctional management system that is often in denial and refuses to engage, especially on personnel issues of direct concern to our members.

Pollard says the BBC must have (90) “editorial executives who inspire confidence and loyalty in programme staff”. Too often this is not the case. Too often our members feel intimidated and unable to express problems openly for fear of victimisation, harassment and intimidation. This is shown by the significant volume of evidence being submitted to the parallel enquiry into BBC practices by Dinah Rose QC, which was demanded by Lord Patten in October.

Pollard (82) says that in future “there shouldn’t be a rigid and unapproachable structure”. That remains our perception of current reality.

Tags: , bbc, broadcasting, Pollard, harassment, management