BBC promises a “new framework” on pay as it faces up to gender earnings gap

The Corporation will publish its new policy on Tuesday as it aims to address the problems over lower pay for female presenters

BBC

The BBC has promised a “new framework” on pay as it publishes its own conclusions on the money it gives male and female correspondents, presenters and on-air editors.

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This is likely to include a cap on the pay of its news presenters’ salaries, with the BBC expected to suggest a figure of £320,000 per year. It will have to be agreed with those affected and staff will be allowed to respond.

The Corporation adds that there is “no evidence of systemic gender discrimination” following an independent audit of the BBC’s policy by accountancy firm PwC and legal firm Eversheds.

“As the equal pay report for around 18,000 staff, carried out by Eversheds and PwC, concluded, there was no evidence of systemic gender discrimination,” said a senior BBC source.

However the Corporation is expected to say that there is still more to do when it offers its proposals to staff on Tuesday on overhauling and managing on-air pay.

“The BBC will replace its old pay model for presenters and propose a new framework,” added the source.

“That framework will have transparency at its heart. It will enable presenters to know where they stand and ensure they have knowledge about their pay relative to others. It will be rooted in fairness and equality. Alongside that, it will be informed by data and analysis.

“A number of BBC staff – on and off air, male as well as female – have raised issues with their pay with the BBC. We are working hard to address these.

“The BBC does not believe that there are problems at all levels of the BBC. This is not about the many.

“The BBC has more to do. That’s why the BBC will act to put right the shortcomings of the past and accept that we have got some presenters’ pay wrong.”

The BBC will publish its findings which it says it will take to “the next stage in the modernisation programme at the BBC”.

The source added: “[On Tuesday], people will see our desire to take a leadership role on the issue of pay equality for the future.

“But because we have got some things wrong, it doesn’t mean we have got everything wrong. The BBC – uniquely, among large employers – has already pledged to close its gender pay gap by 2020 and to seek equal representation across its airwaves on the same timescale.  In recent years more women have been promoted into high profile positions than ever before.

“There is a watershed moment on women’s equality and treatment that is taking place across society, across the world, and at all levels and in all industries. The BBC is acting.”

Already, senior male presenters including John Humphrys and Jeremy Vine have taken salary reductions as the BBC seeks to limit the damage of the gender pay gap story that was exposed when it was forced to make the earnings of its top talent public last summer.

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The BBC is expected to present more detail on its plans on Tuesday with an address to all staff, before director general Tony Hall and other senior managers face the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s select committee over the issue on Wednesday.