It seems that at long last the Pollard report into the BBC’s handling of the Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile will arrive at the corporation today (Tuesday 18 December).Once that is confirmed we can assume that any challenges from those to be criticised in the report have been resolved one way or another.Until then there must still be the chance of a procedural hitch and a further delay.
The report will be considered alongside the findings of the internal disciplinary procedure chaired by Roger Mosey into Newsnight’s handling of the allegations against a ‘former senior Conservative’.That assumes there have been no last minute appeals.Today the BBC is also expected to apologise in court to Lord McAlpine.
Some of the key people in today’s decision-making are:
Tuesday morning meeting of BBC executives
Acting Director-General Tim Davie is being heavily lobbied inside the BBC by both executives and some key presenters to avoid sackings over ‘McAlpine’.
Dame Fiona Reynolds,the senior independent non-executive on the BBC Executive Board, was in the chair when the Board commissioned the Pollard report.George Entwistle had been ‘recused’ from that decision-making because of a potential conflict of interest.She only took up the post this year and is unknown to most people at the BBC
Tuesday afternoon meeting of the Trust
Lord Patten chairs the BBC Trust meeting when they consider the recommendations from the executive.He will have an eye on both the internal and external perceptions of the decisions which have been made after the two separate processes.
Alison Hastings is one of the most experienced Trustees and the Chairman of the Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee.
Richard Ayre,like Alison Hastings, is a trustee with considerable journalistic experience,in his case inside BBC News. When he was on the Ofcom Content Board he was a consistently independent voice.
The decisions made at these meetings should be announced on Wednesday morning unless there is some procedural hitch.The Pollard report,the Mosey findings and the original McQuarrie report into ‘McAlpine’ will also be published.But the ‘defendants’ are still not expected to be allowed to speak publicly.
At the moment my money is on no sackings over McAlpine but that doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a story in it.On ‘Savile’ there continues to be internal concern over the fate of Deputy Director of News,Steve Mitchell,who-the Sunday Times reported -may retire.Those who report to Mitchell have written to Tim Davie to support him.No news of any lobbying on behalf of Peter Rippon and his mistaken blog.People seem more confident about the future of Director of News,Helen Boaden.