An investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into historical issues of equal pay at the BBC has found no unlawful acts of pay discrimination and has recommended improvements to increase transparency and rebuild trust with women at the organisation.
The investigation started in March 2019 following publicly reported high profile cases of suspected pay discrimination and after extensive discussions with the BBC. It looked at suspected historical pay discrimination at the BBC and the systems and processes for setting pay and assessing complaints.
Evidence considered during the investigation came from women at the BBC about their experiences, and from the BBC on its processes for setting pay and resolving grievances. We also carried out detailed equal pay analyses on a sample of pay complaints.
The report has identified a number of areas where improvements can be made to rebuild trust with women at the organisation and increase transparency around decision-making and communications. The BBC accepts that its historical practices were not fit for purpose and has made significant changes since 2015.
The investigation has found inadequate record-keeping on how decisions about pay were made, leading to confusion and poor communication with women making complaints. During the course of the investigation the BBC had to conduct further searches for evidence as a number of documents were missing or incomplete in case files. This creates a risk of potential pay discrimination at the BBC with the organisation unable to justify how decisions were reached.
Evidence shows some women were unsure if their complaint resolution had considered equal pay correctly and they were left unsatisfied with the outcome, leading to a breakdown of trust in the complaints system.
Evidence points to a complaints system that took too long to resolve cases. Some women did not feel that the process was suitably independent, and felt that it had heightened their anxiety and stress. BBC employees must have trust in the independence of a complaints process and know cases will be resolved in a realistic timetable, with clear communication from beginning to end.
Equality and Human Rights Commission interim Chair, Caroline Waters, said: