Outrage at BBC over apparent admission that ITN high fliers were taken on after closed recruitment process - Press Gazette

Outrage at BBC over apparent admission that ITN high fliers were taken on after closed recruitment process

There has been outrage among some BBC journalists over the corporation’s apparent admission that two rising stars from ITN were taken on in this week after a closed recruitment process.

It was announced this week that ITV News UK editor Lucy Manning would be joining the BBC as a special correspondent and ITN senior news editor Ed Campbell would be joining as special correspondents editor.

The appointments come as BBC News prepares to make 500 redundancies.

After concerns were raised by an insider, Press Gazette asked the BBC whether Manning and Campbell’s positions were formally advertised, whether there was a formal interview process and for a comment on the suggestion they were not taken on in an “open and fair process”

This was their response: “We ensure we fill roles competitively using a variety of different recruitment methods. On occasion, on-air reporters or other key editorial staff have been recruited for in a different way, but always within the proper recruitment process.”

One insider told Press Gazette: “There is only one recruitment process that me and my colleagues know is competitive and that's a recruitment process.

"There is widespread outrage in the BBC Newsroom about the BBC's cavalier disregard of its duties to be open and fair in its recruitment. This is nothing less than cronyism."

Press Gazette has been sent a copy of the BBC’s own recruitment policies which state:

"Vacancies should be filled via a competitive selection process, using fair and robust job-related criteria. Recruitment and selection processes should be accessible to all…"

They also sate:

"All continuing vacancies, plus vacancies of three months or more, should be advertised internally across the BBC.

"There are very limited circumstances in which the above rules can be disregarded."

Under the heading of "Appointments without competition" the BBC guidelines state: 

"In certain circumstances, it may be appropriate or practical to fill a vacancy without a  competitive selection process. The rationale for doing so should include an assessment of the  potential impact, and approval sought in advance from a senior member of the divisional HR  team. 

The circumstances in which an appointment may be made without competition are as follows: 

• If there is a suitably qualified employee seeking redeployment, provided this does  not involve a promotion.

• Where the BBC has committed to reinstate an employee on return from a BBC role  overseas, on return from a secondment to another organisation, or on return from a  career break, provided that this does not involve a promotion. 

• Where there are overriding operational considerations of an exceptional nature. 

• Where a similar vacancy has been advertised so recently (normally within 4  months) that the field of candidates has not changed, and is therefore known to the  hiring manager.  

• Where there has been no substantial change to the principal responsibilities of a role, but it has been re-graded as a result of an evaluation process.


Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette