The BBC has paid no compensation to the victims of disgraced former presenter Stuart Hall, despite his conviction for multiple sex crimes facilitated by his employment with the Corporation.
On 16th April 2013 Stuart Hall, a well known BBC personality in the north of England and latterly nationwide, pleaded guilty to 14 offences of indecent assault at Preston Crown Court. The offences, against thirteen young women aged 9 to 17 years old, took place between 1967 and 1986.
Offences against eight of the thirteen young women, aged between 10 and 17 years old at the time, were directly related to Stuart Hall's employment with the BBC. Some of these crimes were committed at BBC properties, others were committed during the production of BBC programmes elsewhere.
It is worth highlighting, for the record, that many more young women made allegations against Hall that were not subject to formal legal proceedings. Given his pedigree, we are in little doubt that he committed many of those offences too.
Hall's crimes were investigated as part of the Dame Janet Smith Review into the BBC's wider practises and culture at the time of Jimmy Savile's prolific offending. Dame Linda Dobbs, the retired High Court Judge tasked with pursuing the Hall line of investigation, concluded that bosses at BBC Manchester were aware of his inappropriate conduct, but chose not to act.
One boss is said to have joked with Hall that he would need to buy a new bed for his dressing room when the BBC moved its operation from the old Piccadilly Gardens studios to a brand new facility on the city's Oxford Road.
Using the Freedom of Information Act 2000 we asked the BBC to provide information about the number of Savile and Hall victims it had paid compensation to. We also asked it to provide information about the value of those compensation payments.
The BBC, which responded very late, eventually directed us to a web page with details about payments to Savile's victims. It also said it held no information about payments made to Hall's victims.
Given the tardiness of the BBC's response, we complained to the Information Commissioner's Office. The ICO wrote the BBC instructing it to respond within 10 working days and we eventually received a response after 9 working days. We have asked the ICO to issue a Decision Notice against the BBC, which we will upload in due course.
The full text of our request appears below:
Their Reference Number:
Request by FOI By Proxy (sent 20th November 2016):
I am making this request under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Former BBC employees Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall committed multiple sex crimes, many of them against children, on BBC premises.
In accordance with section 1 of the Act, please provide the following information held by the BBC to date:
1. The number of alleged victims of Jimmy Savile that the BBC has paid compensation to.
2. The total amount of compensation paid to those alleged victims disclosed in response to point 1 above.
3. The value of the largest compensation payment made to an alleged victim of Jimmy Savile.
4. The number of alleged victims of Stuart Hall that the BBC has paid compensation to.
5. The total amount of compensation paid to those alleged victims disclosed in response to point 4 above.
6. The value of the largest compensation payment made to an alleged victim of Stuart Hall.
In accordance with section 11 of the Act, please provide your response in electronic format to the return email address associated with this request.
Many thanks for your help with this matter.
On behalf of FOI By Proxy
Response by the BBC (received 24th January 2017):
The BBC directed us to this web page for information about compensation payments made to victims of Jimmy Savile.
A summary of that information is as follows:
- 44 claims were received, of which 36 were settled and 8 rejected.
- The amount of compensation paid was £907,000.
Compensation payments were made from the Savile Compensation Scheme, which the BBC made a partial contribution towards. The NHS and Savile estate also contributed towards the scheme.
The BBC told us that the largest individual payment it had made as part of the scheme was £63.500.
The BBC also said it held no information in relation to compensation payments made to the victims of Stuart Hall.
You can view the BBC's response here.
The ICO Decision Notice, once available, can be found here.