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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Dame Janet Smith Review Nears Publication

The Dame Janet Smith Review has announced that its final report is nearing publication.

The inquiry, which explores the BBC's culture and practices at the time of the Savile and Hall sex abuse scandals, has been delayed several times since it opened in 2012.

Dame Janet's review findings were originally expected last spring, but were delayed at the request of the Metropolitan Police amid concerns they would prejudice ongoing investigations.

The BBC has spent around £7m on the Dame Janet Smith Review to date.

According to media sources, the completed report "tears the BBC apart" and reveals "a culture of abuse". The report is expected to confirm that BBC bosses had grave concerns about the conduct of Savile, but failed to act on them. Alarmingly, it is also set to claim that BBC whistleblowing procedures are so ineffective, that even today the Corporation could have paedophiles in its midst.

BBC bosses are said to be terrified at the prospect of Dame Janet's highly critical findings derailing Charter renewal negotiations. With the next Royal Charter not coming into force until 1st January 2017, there were concerns that the BBC could selfishly try to sit on the completed report for another whole year.

Earlier today, the following statement was published on the Dame Janet Smith Review website: "The Review has been informed by the Metropolitan Police that it is no longer concerned that publication of the Report could prejudice its ongoing investigations.  The Review is carrying out final checks in advance of delivery to the BBC and publication. Publication should take place within 6 weeks."

That announcement signals the removal of the final barrier towards publication, which is now expected to take place in March.

Coincidentally, or probably not, it appears that a copy of the completed report has just been leaked to investigative website Exaro. That is probably the real reason for progress towards publication. The BBC is now resigned to the fact that the genie is out of the bottle, so there's no point stalling or denying culpability any longer.

The website has published several articles summarising the report's key findings. It has also published extracts from the actual report. Exaro has reiterated its opinion that the BBC has been fully aware of the report findings, despite numerous denials - indeed text within the report confirms that viewpoint.

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