Hall defends BBC policy on pay-offs
BBC director general Tony Hall says the corporation has "a grip on the money" it gets from licence-fee payers ahead of a parliamentary hearing examining hefty pay-offs given to senior staff.
One of his predecessors, Mark Thompson, will give evidence to the Commons Public Accounts Committee alongside BBC Trust boss Lord Patten after the pair clashed over who knew what about the excessive golden goodbyes which saw senior executives walk off with thousands of pounds more than their contracts demanded.
Mr Hall, who introduced a cap on pay-offs after starting in the top job earlier this year, told LBC 97.3: "We've put in a cap of £150,000, we've put in all sort of measures to make sure that we have a grip on the money that our licence payers are giving us. And what I now want to do is to concentrate - as our audiences and staff expect us to do - on our fantastic services."
Mr Thompson, who left the corporation last year to take over at the New York Times, has accused Lord Patten and trustee Anthony Fry of ''fundamentally misleading'' members of the committee at a previous hearing. His attack on his former colleagues came in a written statement submitted ahead of the hearing later.
At their last appearance before the committee, Lord Patten and Mr Fry told MPs members of the Trust were not always included in decision-making.
Mr Fry said there was ''some disconnect'' between what Mr Thompson had written in a letter to the Trust about deputy director general Mark Byford's pay-off, in which he apparently declared it was within contractual arrangements, when the National Audit Office (NAO) found it was not.
Mr Byford departed the BBC with a total payout of £949,000.
Mr Thompson's written evidence describes Lord Patten and Mr Fry's committee appearance as containing ''important inaccuracies'' and being ''fundamentally misleading''. He said: ''The insinuation that they were kept in the dark by me or anyone else is false.''
Lord Patten said he was ''looking forward'' to coming back before the committee and had ''no concerns'' about what Mr Thompson has said. A Trust spokesman described Mr Thompson's evidence as ''bizarre'' and said the organisation rejected ''the suggestion that Lord Patten and Anthony Fry misled the PAC''.
In another development, under-fire HR boss Lucy Adams admitted making a mistake in her evidence to the committee. Ms Adams, who announced last month she was quitting the BBC, initially told MPs she had not seen a note detailing plans for pay-offs to Mr Byford and marketing boss Sharon Baylay - but now admits she helped write it.