Entertainment union BECTU is calling on the BBC to ensure it has a management culture that “supports those who report wrong-doing” following the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal.
Responding to the controversy surrounding the BBC in the wake of the Savile revelations, BECTU said the Corporation must move away from its current set-up, which it claims “often leaves those raising grievances feeling punished and ostracised”.
BECTU general secretary Gerry Morrissey said: “The horrors of the Savile scandal leave everyone in a state of disbelief that this persistent abuse went unreported for close to 50 years. We all have a responsibility to ensure the culture at the BBC and elsewhere is open to listening and acting on reports of wrong-doing irrespective of an individual’s status in the organisation and of his or her gender, race, sexuality or class.”
He added: “Our members want to see renewed commitments in practice to deliver equality and dignity in the workplace.”
Following the claims against Savile relating to when he was working at the BBC, the Corporation has announced three reviews, including one that will assess the “culture and practices of the BBC during the years that Jimmy Savile worked at the BBC”.
This review, led by Janet Smith, will also examine whether the BBC’s child protection and whistleblowing policies are “fit for purpose”.
In addition, the Corporation has announced a third review, which will look at its policies and procedures relating to sexual harassment.
BECTU said it would be providing evidence to the BBC reviews and echoed the Corporation’s calls for staff with information on sexual harassment and abuse to report it to the union.
BECTU added it was currently looking at its own files to see what information it holds that could be used in the BBC’s inquiries.
Meanwhile, former children’s minister Tim Loughton has called for better protection of children working in the theatre and on TV.
He said he would be introducing a Private Member’s Bill to the House of Commons aimed at improving regulations around the employment of children in the entertainment industry.
His calls were backed by Labour MP Stephen Twigg, who said there was a need to “develop appropriate measures to protect young people working in those industries”.
“We will consult with the media and entertainment industries and with local authorities to get this right, but it must be a priority,” he said.