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BBC censured for failing to follow recommendations of Rose Review on bullying

16 January 2014

A motion from NUJ reps, addressed to Tony Hall, the director general of the BBC, has called for a new approach on bullying and harassment cases at the corporation.

The group chapel meeting said it was “disappointed and angry" that recommendations from the Dinah Rose review about dealing with bullying in the corporation are not being followed. It noted that some cases which started early last year are still not concluded .

Dinah Rose QC was brought in by the BBC to lead an investigation into harassment and bullying and make a set of recommendations. Her report was published last May.

The BBC said the review was "set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal to look at current BBC policies and processes relating to sexual harassment as well as what it is like to work at the BBC more broadly with regard to respect and appropriate behaviour for staff and freelancers".

The motion carried unanimously by the meeting of the BBC's Fathers and Mothers of chapels, said: "This M/FoCs' meeting expresses its disappointment and anger that the principles of the BBC's Respect at Work policy, as recommended by Dinah Rose QC, are not being adhered to. It further notes that Respect at Work has already been diluted to Support at Work.

"This meeting calls on  the BBC to deal with all cases within the recommended time frame of 30 days and reiterates its demand that bullying and harassment cases are handled by independent experts external to the BBC. The NUJ will continue to do all it can to protect members who have been bullied and harassed and to ensure their cases are satisfactorily resolved."

The meeting heard that, since the publication of the review, cases were taking much longer than the recommended 30 days, that perpetrators of bullying were allowed to remain in post while the subject of bullying was moved and the corporation was dragging its  heels on making decisions concerning complaints about senior figures at the BBC.

It has been a long-standing policy of the NUJ that complaints and grievances should be handled by an outside organisation. The BBC has delayed the implementation of its revised bullying and harassment policy, in order to further "explore options in terms of introducing some element of external independence" following the union’s campaign.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"The Rose review was an opportunity to look at this problem and to adopt a transparent procedure which staff can have faith in. It is not enough for the BBC to say it will bring in managers from other departments and division to investigate allegations, an outside body is needed. Indeed, despite assurances from the BBC that a more independent approach would be taken, there has been at least one case where disciplinary proceedings were heard by a manager from within the same service – totally contrary to the pledges given by the BBC last year – and where the victims of proven sexism and bullying have been cast adrift within the BBC while the perpetrator keeps his job.
“We have major cases that have been going on for the best part of last year and are still not concluded. Whether the corporation is failing to cope with the reality of dealing with complex cases involving multiple victims of bullying, or whether it can’t bring itself to make difficult decisions about those senior managers implicated, the upshot is the same – individuals who have been treated appallingly are failing to get redress and not being properly supported by the BBC in the process. This needs direct intervention from the top by the director general, and further work needs to be done to tackle the institutionalised problem that exists at the BBC despite the Rose Review and its recommendations.”

Union evidence presented to the review

Tags: , bbc, bullying, harassment, Rose Review