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Huw Edwards resigns from the BBC

22 Apr 2024 7 minute read
Huw Edwards. Photo Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Huw Edwards has resigned from his high profile newsreader role and left the BBC on “medical advice”.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Huw Edwards has today resigned and left the BBC. After 40 years of service, Huw has explained that his decision was made on the basis of medical advice from his doctors.

“The BBC has accepted his resignation which it believes will allow all parties to move forward. We don’t believe it appropriate to comment further.”

Apology

The BBC previously apologised to the family of the young person at the centre of the Huw Edwards furore after a review into how non-editorial complaints are handled at the corporation.

A report, commissioned in the wake of the scandal, has found a need for “greater consistency” in how complaints at the corporation are processed.

The family of the young person originally complained about Edwards to the BBC in May 2023 and the BBC said it tried to contact them twice before The Sun published an exclusive story detailing the allegations he paid a young person for sexually explicit photos.

Review

However, BBC senior leadership was only informed of the issue on July 6, the review said.

The BBC has since apologised to the family, BBC Group chief operating officer Leigh Tavaziva said.

She said: “Although our existing processes and systems are, on the whole, working effectively, this review shows that we need to join them up better to ensure no matter how a non-editorial complaint comes into the BBC it is escalated swiftly, when needed, and dealt with by the right people.

“Where the review identifies process improvements we accept those in full, and we are delivering on an action plan with a number of enhancements already in place.

“The report identifies specific process shortcomings in the presenter case. The initial complaint in this case was not escalated quickly enough to senior management and we have apologised to the complainant for this.”

After the story emerged last year, BBC director-general Tim Davie ordered a review to “assess how some complaints are red-flagged up the organisation”.

He also ordered an additional “factfinding investigation”.

Huw Edwards (Credit: BBC)

“Failures”

The review, led by Ms Tavaziva and carried out by Deloitte, highlights failures in the complaints process, saying that the initial complaint about Edwards was not logged on the relevant case management system so could not be seen by senior figures.

There was also no documented process for contact and follow-ups with the complainant, so when attempts to make contact were unsuccessful, the course of action was not clear.

The report says: “The case was not logged on the incumbent case management system (Perspective) contemporaneously, meaning that there was no opportunity for wider visibility of the case within the BBC; and there was no documented process for contact with the complainant and/or follow-up, such that when initial attempts to contact the complainant were unsuccessful, the steps to be taken were not sufficiently clear and the process followed was not documented.”

The report also said that some employees interviewed said they would feel nervous about raising a complaint with the BBC, particularly if it was about a more senior member of staff or a high profile figure.

It said: “These employees said they have lower levels of confidence in how robustly the complaint will be handled if it is a grievance relating to another member of staff or talent, particularly where there is an actual or perceived power discrepancy between the complainant and the subject of the complaint.”

The report added there is a need for “greater consistency across teams in how non-editorial complaints are dealt with, regardless of the route by which they are received and then reviewed”.

“Mental health issues”

It suggested “better use of technology to manage non-editorial complaints and work to ensure there is a complete picture of all cases across teams dealing with them; as well as work to ensure sufficient resources across specialist teams dealing with non-editorial complaints, to manage the workload in a timely manner without impacting on staff welfare.”

In a letter to BBC News, the young person at the centre of the Edwards controversy said via lawyers nothing inappropriate or unlawful happened with the-then unnamed presenter.

Edwards has been absent from screens since the story first broke and his wife previously said he was receiving in-patient hospital care and was suffering “serious mental health issues”

Vicky Flind, said her husband was “suffering from serious mental health issues” and had been receiving treatment in a statement.

At the time, the Metropolitan Police said no criminal offence had been committed by Edwards and that no further police action would be taken “at this time”, allowing an internal BBC investigation to resume.

In a message to staff, BBC director-general Tim Davie said that the corporation’s “immediate concern is our duty of care to all involved”.

Support

After Edwards was named as the presenter at the centre of the allegations, multiple BBC colleagues and high-profile media personalities spoke out to support him.

One former editor of The Sun said the newspaper had “inflicted terror” on the newsreader “despite no evidence of any criminal offence” and now faced “a crisis”.

David Yelland, who was in charge at the paper from 1998 to 2003, wrote on Twitter: “I wish @thehuwedwards well.

“The Sun inflicted terror on Huw despite no evidence of any criminal offence.

“This is no longer a BBC crisis, it is a crisis for the paper. Huw’s privacy must now be respected.

“Social media also needs speedy reform.”

In his internal memo, Mr Davie said the words from Ms Flind were “a reminder that the last few days have seen personal lives played out in public”.

“At the heart of this are people and their families,” his message said.

“This will no doubt be a difficult time for many after a challenging few days. I want to reassure you that our immediate concern is our duty of care to all involved.”

High profile

Father of five Edwards was the BBC’s highest paid newsreader, with a pay bracket of £435,000–£439,999, putting him fourth on the top 10 list, the corporation’s annual report revealed on Tuesday.

The presenter was last seen on BBC One’s News At Ten on July 5 when he co-presented a special edition live from Edinburgh as the King was honoured in the Scottish capital – and sources have made it clear to PA that Edwards, 61, has not resigned from the BBC.

The statement from his wife, a TV producer who has worked on BBC’s This Week politics show and Robert Peston’s ITV programme, Peston, to the PA news agency said: “Huw is suffering from serious mental health issues.

“As is well documented, he has been treated for severe depression in recent years.

“The events of the last few days have greatly worsened matters, he has suffered another serious episode and is now receiving in-patient hospital care where he’ll stay for the foreseeable future.”

She said that once the presenter, who has worked for the BBC for four decades, was well enough, he “intends to respond to the stories that have been published” and added that her husband was first told there were allegations “being made against him last Thursday”.

Ms Flind asked for privacy for the family and said: “I know that Huw is deeply sorry that so many colleagues have been impacted by the recent media speculation.

“We hope this statement will bring that to an end.”

In a statement on Twitter, Peston praised Ms Flind as “the kindest and most decent woman”.

“It has been difficult to feel what she and her family have been going through – and to read her statement that Huw has been hospitalised with acute depression,” he said.

Edwards has previously spoken about his mental health, revealing in a documentary in 2021 he had bouts of depression which have left him “bedridden” since 2002.


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Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
1 month ago

Huw Edwards was ‘convicted’ without any evidence or trial, mainly in the name of selling a few more newspapers. The issue has also been poorly handled by the BBC and after the man has given decades to the organisation. Our society seems, these days, to find people guilty before a court of law does, it’s wrong. The gutter press needs more regulating.

Gwynedd
Gwynedd
1 month ago

surely you should refer to him as ‘Huw Edwards’ or ‘Mr Edwards'[ throughout , as you do for other people mentioned in this report.

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