The BBC board says it will carry out a review to check the effectiveness of the publicly-funded broadcaster’s editorial policies and governance after a damning report into how it secured a 1995 interview with Princess Diana.
“As a Board we believe that the BBC is a different organisation today, with different and stronger governance, as well as improved processes,” the board said in a statement on Monday.
“Nevertheless, Lord Dyson’s report speaks to historic failings of oversight and these should be reflected upon. We must not just assume that mistakes of the past cannot be repeated today – we must make sure that this is the case.”
The inquiry by former senior judge John Dyson into the 1995 interview with Diana provoked widespread criticism of the broadcaster, including an unprecedented rebuke from Diana’s eldest son Prince William.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the BBC must act fast to restore trust after the Dyson report.
He said the government would not “stand idly by” after the report which concluded journalist Martin Bashir had used deceit to gain Diana’s acquiescence, and then BBC bosses later covered up his wrongdoing.
“We will not make knee-jerk reforms, but will use the mid-term charter (in 2022) to determine whether the governance and regulatory arrangements should be strengthened,” Dowden wrote in the Times on Monday.
He said “the BBC can occasionally succumb to a ‘we know best’ attitude that is detached both from the criticism and the values of all parts of the nation it serves”.
“Groupthink in any organisation results in a lack of challenge and poor decision making,” he said. “That’s why cultural change must be a focus for the Director General and new Chair on the back of the Dyson report.”