LONDON - The BBC said Thursday that it would overhaul its bullying and harassment policy following a report ordered in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
The changes will ensure that there is greater focus on informal rather than formal conflict resolution, but also that the time it takes to hear complaints is reduced by two thirds, it said.
"Grievances will now be heard using managers from outside the division where the issue has arisen," the BBC said.
The U.K. public broadcaster also said that it "will be removing derogatory statement restrictions, also known as "gagging clauses," from future BBC contracts."
The news came in conjunction with the publication of the "Respect at Work Review" launched in the wake of the Savile scandal. The report looked at "current BBC policies and processes relating to sexual harassment, as well as what it is like to work at the BBC more broadly with regard to respect and appropriate behavior for staff and freelancers."
The review was prepared with the help of Dinah Rose alongside the BBC’s human resources department. The inquiry reported 37 sexual harassment complaints in six years.
Separately, the BBC said it would end the use of "gagging clauses" in new contracts. However, it said it would continue to use confidentiality agreements where appropriate.
“I have been very impressed by the integrity and determination with which the BBC has undertaken this important piece of work," Rose said. "The BBC's senior management has been willing to listen to difficult and uncomfortable messages, and to accept criticism, and has sought to make practical and effective recommendations for the future."
Said BBC director general Tony Hall: "Our staff are our greatest strength, and this report shows that they are proud to work for the BBC and that we have a culture based on values that are strongly held.
Parts of this report do however make uncomfortable reading."
Among the criticism raised by the report: Some staffers are fearful of raising complaints; people management is good, but needs to be more consistent; and "the BBC needs to be clearer about the behavior it expects from managers, staff, freelancers and talent."
Hall argued that the announced changes "show our commitment to change."
He said: "We need to be honest about our shortcomings and single-minded in addressing them. I want zero tolerance of bullying and a culture where people feel able to raise concerns and have the confidence that they will be dealt with appropriately. I also want people to be able to speak freely about their experiences of working at the BBC so that we can learn from them."
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