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The EHRC defends equal pay investigation at the BBC

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has defended its investigation into historical issues of equal pay at the BBC.

The commission said although it has found no “unlawful acts of pay discrimination” it has recommended improvements to the BBC to increase “transparency and rebuild trust” with women at the organisation.

The investigation which started in March 2019, followed a number of “high profile cases” of suspected pay discrimination which led to “extensive discussions” with the BBC.

The investigation looked into suspected “historical pay discrimination” at the BBC and the systems and processes for setting pay and assessing complaints.

Evidence considered during the investigation reportedly came from women at the BBC about their experiences, and from the BBC on its processes for setting pay and resolving grievances.

The commission said it also carried out detailed equal pay analyses on a sample of pay complaints.

The report 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 reportedly has accepted that its historical practices were “not fit for purpose” and has since made “significant changes”.

The investigation unveiled inadequate “record-keeping” on how decisions about pay were made which led to “confusion and poor communication” with women making complaints.

The commission said “evidence shows some women were unsure if their complaint resolution had considered equal pay correctly” and that they were left “unsatisfied” with the outcome, leading to a breakdown of trust in the complaints system.

Caroline Waters, interim chair for Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “It is easy to see why trust between some women at the BBC and the organisation has broken down. Many women felt their voices were not being heard and have been left feeling confused as to how decisions about their pay have been made.

“This took a heavy emotional toll on those involved in the process and the strength of feeling of women at the BBC should not be understated.”

She added: “While we have not found any unlawful acts in our investigation, repairing the damage caused by these issues requires continued leadership and we hope the BBC Board takes forward our recommendations.”

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