Frequently Asked Questions
1. On 16 October 2012, the BBC announced that its Executive Board, chaired, in that instance, by Dame Fiona Reynolds, had commissioned an independent review by Dame Janet Smith into the conduct of Jimmy Savile. The Review is known as The Dame Janet Smith Review. The terms of reference for The Dame Janet Smith Review relating to Savile can be found here.
On 4th June 2013, the Review was extended to cover the conduct of Stuart Hall in connection with the BBC. The terms of reference relating to Stuart Hall can be found here.
Who is conducting the Review?
2. Dame Janet Smith, a former Court of Appeal judge, is chairing the Dame Janet Smith Review. However, as Dame Janet Smith has a potential conflict of interest as a result of the fact that she knows personally a former member of senior management in BBC North West at the relevant time, the Stuart Hall investigation is being chaired by the former High Court judge, Dame Linda Dobbs. Although Dame Janet and Dame Linda are being assisted by the Review team, the Reports will contain their views alone.
3. The Review will take into account the need to produce Reports that properly meet the terms of reference but also the need to do so in a manner that is fair, proportionate and cost effective.
How will the Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall investigations work together?
4. Both investigations form part of the Dame Janet Smith Review. However, Dame Linda Dobbs will conduct a separate investigation in accordance with the terms of reference relating to Stuart Hall. Dame Linda will produce a report and provide it to Dame Janet Smith in order that it may inform Dame Janet’s overall view on the culture and practices at the BBC at the relevant time. All relevant or potentially relevant documents and information provided to the Review will be made available to Dame Linda Dobbs. However, Dame Janet Smith will not have access to evidence and information gathered during the course of Dame Linda’s investigation unless Dame Linda is satisfied that there is no conflict of interest and that the sharing of the information is appropriate.
How do I get in touch with the Review?
5. The Review’s e mail address is:
The Review also has a dedicated voicemail only telephone number on which messages can be left: 0800 808 5298. Calls are returned as quickly as possible.
The postal address for the Review is:
The Dame Janet Smith Review
c/o Reed Smith LLP
The Broadgate Tower
20 Primrose Street
6. There is a separate e mail address for the investigation into Stuart Hall: firstname.lastname@example.org. Voicemails can be left on the telephone number above. Correspondence relating to the investigation into Stuart Hall should be sent to the address above but addressed to “The Dame Janet Smith Review (Hall)”.
What support do Dame Janet and Dame Linda have?
7. Counsel to the Review are Christina Lambert QC and Kate Beattie of 1 Crown Office Row.
8. The Review is being assisted by Reed Smith LLP. Reed Smith is acting both as Secretariat to and solicitors to the Review. The lead member of the Reed Smith team is Richard Spafford.
9. The Review is also being assisted by Professor Celia Brackenridge OBE, an expert in the safeguarding of children.
Is the Review a Public Inquiry?
10. No. The Review is informal and flexible so that the maximum relevant information can be obtained. It has no statutory basis and cannot require anyone to take part but relies on the voluntary provision of evidence to it and the voluntary adherence by those involved in it to its procedures.
Will the Chairs be giving interviews/comments to the press?
11. It would not be appropriate for the Chairs or the Review team to give interviews or provide comments to individual members of the press. All information released to the press will be released in the form of website updates or, if the Chairs consider it desirable, in open meetings. The Review’s website will be updated regularly with information about the progress of the Review.
Will the Review make decisions on criminal or civil liability?
12. The Review has not been established to determine the civil or criminal liability of any individual or of any organisation, including the BBC. Its remit is limited to its terms of reference.
Who established the Review and who is paying for it?
13. The Review has been established by the BBC and is being funded by the BBC.
Is the Review independent of the BBC?
14. Yes. Dame Janet and Dame Linda were appointed by the BBC but are both wholly independent of the BBC.
What contact is there between the Review team and the BBC?
15. In order for the Review to meet its objectives the BBC has agreed to co-operate fully with the Review, for instance with regard to obtaining documents, encouraging witnesses to come forward and verifying information. In deciding what documentation and other information it requires, the Review is taking into account the need to fulfil its remit in a manner that is proportionate, fair and cost effective.
16. While the Review is independent of the BBC, both the BBC and the BBC Trust will keep in contact with the Review and will be updated regularly on progress by the Review.
Will the procedures set out in this document change?
17. As far as possible, the procedures set out here will be followed by the Review. It may be necessary to amend the procedures as the Review progresses. Any amendments will be kept to a minimum.
What effect are the ongoing criminal investigations having on the Review?
18. The Review has been in close contact with the CPS and the police and in particular, Operation Yewtree during its work to date so as to ensure that the police investigations into living individuals are not affected by the work of the Review. In particular, Operation Yewtree have asked us to obtain their consent before inviting individuals to Witness Interview. The Savile investigation is unable to progress certain aspects of its work as a consequence of a need to wait, at the request of the police, before it approaches a number of potential interviewees whose evidence may be relevant to on-going criminal investigations. It is unclear whether these criminal investigations will lead to prosecutions but, if prosecutions do take place (or if there remains a possibility that they will), Dame Janet Smith may need to wait a considerable time before she can approach these potential interviewees. It may not be possible for Dame Janet to interview all of these individuals before Dame Janet’s final report is published.
19. Unlike Jimmy Savile, Stuart Hall is a living individual. Where evidence which is relevant to the Stuart Hall investigation is also relevant to any further on-going criminal proceedings relating to Stuart Hall or any other living individual, the agreement of the police and/or the Crown Prosecution Service to the Stuart Hall investigation considering that evidence may be required and, as a consequence, there could be some delays to the investigation’s progress.
How long will the Review take?
20. Publication will take place as soon as possible. As soon as a date for publication is known, an update will be provided.
Where will the documents and evidence come from?
21. Many of the documents required for the Review are being provided by the BBC who are co-operating with the Review in collating the necessary documentation.
22. There will also be documentation and information held by individuals outside the control of the BBC. The Review invites anyone with relevant documents to contact the Review team using the e-mail or postal address above.
23. Where appropriate, the Review team will attempt to contact those whom it believes may have relevant information and ask them to provide evidence to the Review.
24. The Review is also liaising with the police, the Department of Health and others who may have information or evidence that would be helpful to the Review. If necessary or appropriate, information or evidence received by the Review may be shared with other inquries, reviews or investigations.
Who would the Review like to speak to?
25. Details of who the Review would like to hear from can be found here.
How is the Review contacting potential witnesses?
26. The BBC has appealed to its staff and former staff to assist the Review where they have relevant information. The appeal for witnesses has been publicised by the BBC and by the press. There are also appeals for witnesses on the Review’s website. The Review has attempted to trace relevant witnesses where appropriate.
How is the Review taking evidence from witnesses?
27. There are a number of ways in which evidence is being taken. A witness may provide a written submission. A witness can prepare a submission or ask a solicitor to do so if they wish. It may be, however, that the Review team will ask for more information or ask for additions to be made to the submission if we think it would be helpful. Alternatively, a member of the Review team may contact the witness by telephone and then prepare a note based upon the information provided in the call.
28. If we think it would be helpful for the witness to discuss the information provided with the Chair and other members of the Review team, the witness may be invited to a Witness Interview. In the case of any witness who may be subject to criticism or about whom criticism may be inferred, then, if appropriate, this will be drawn to his or her attention and comments invited.
29. Those attending Witness Interviews will also be given information regarding the procedures for the Witness Interviews in advance.
Is attendance at a Witness Interview compulsory?
30. Taking part in the Review is entirely voluntary. However, if we have asked a witness to come to a Witness Interview and he or she decides not to do so, the Review may not be able to give the same weight to any evidence provided by that witness. In addition, a decision by a witness not to attend might be noted in a Report produced by the Review.
Will evidence be taken in public or in private?
31. Much of the information received by the Review concerns private matters of a sensitive and personal nature. The Review needs to ensure that it protects vulnerable witnesses, minimises the risk of prejudicing on-going police investigations and encourages witnesses to come forward. Accordingly, Witness Interviews are being held in private.
Can witnesses be accompanied by a family member or friend when giving statements/being interviewed?
32. Yes. Witnesses can bring one friend or family member with them or, if they prefer, a solicitor.
Can witnesses claim expenses or costs?
33. If a witness is asked to attend a Witness Interview, the Review will refund the witness for his or her reasonable standard class travel costs (and those of one accompanying friend or family member) if travelling on public transport or for reasonable fuel costs. Unfortunately, the Review cannot generally refund any other costs, including solicitors’ fees or costs.
Can witnesses have legal representation?
34. Witnesses can attend with a legal representative, provided notice of his or her identity has been provided in advance. However, the Review cannot generally refund solicitors’ fees or costs.
Will interviews be recorded?
35. Transcripts of evidence given at Witness Interviews are being taken but it is not intended at present that they will be published. However, they will be used to compile all Reports of the Review. These Reports will be made public by the BBC.
How will the information gathered by the Review be used?
36. The Review keeps the information it gathers and in most cases will store it electronically. The information may be shared with the BBC. We may also share the information with organisations such as the police, for instance, in the interests of the prevention of crime, of public protection or of overriding public interest.
What will happen if the Review intends to criticise or make an adverse finding regarding an individual?
37. If the Review intends to include an adverse or critical statement in a Report about any person or organisation, he, she or they will be informed in writing of that. At least the gist of the statement will be provided and an opportunity to comment or make representations will be given.
38. Reports will be in a form decided by the Chairs and will have attached to them such documents as the Chairs consider necessary.
39. Redactions to attachments and the Reports will be at the Chairs’ discretion, but are only likely to arise in limited circumstances e.g. where a contempt or legal privilege issue is raised by a document, where the document contains personal irrelevant information or sensitive information (such as the identity of a victim) or where there are legal issues relating to journalistic sources.
Is there an organisation witnesses can speak to in confidence about inappropriate sexual conduct or abuse?
40. The Review recognises that many of those contacting us are re-living experiences which are very painful and difficult. We are enormously grateful to all those who feel able to assist us and recognise the great courage required to do so in many cases.
41. The Review has been consulting with the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), to assist those who may require support either with speaking to us or support more generally. We would encourage anyone who feels that he or she needs help or assistance to contact NAPAC’s free, confidential Support Line on 0800 085 3330. Further information about NAPAC can be found at http://www.napac.org.uk. Alternatively, witnesses can contact the NSPCC on its free helpline: 0808 8005000 or the Lucy Faithfull Foundation on its free helpline: 0808 1000 900.