Five months after FoI question, BBC still hasn't revealed number of staff made redundant then rehired

The BBC has failed to answer a Press Gazette Freedom of Information request asking about the rehiring of staff who have received redundancy payments from the corporation.

An FoI was sent to the corporation on 7 September last year after a whistleblower suggested the practice was widespread within the corporation.

Between 2012 and 2014, the BBC announced more than 600 redundancies – 415 in 2014, 75 in 2013 and 140 in 2012 – would by made across its news division under the Delivering Quality First scheme. On 31 December 2011, BBC News had a headcount of 7,665. On 31 December 2015, this figure had been reduced by 310 to 7,355, according to Freedom of Information documents. 

Nearly six months – or 115 working days – after Press Gazette's FoI request was sent, the BBC has failed to provide an answer. The statutory limit for answering FoI requests is 20 working days, meaning a response was due on 5 October.

A BBC spokesperson said: "We are responding to over 90 per cent of FoI requests within the statutory time frame, however on occasion some requests can take longer to process."

The request asked: 

Can you please tell me how many BBC staff members have so far been made redundant (either voluntarily or compulsorily) under Delivering Quality First? Please break this information down by financial year.

Can you also tell me how much redundancy payment these staff received in total? Please break this information down by financial year.

And finally can you tell me, of those made redundant, how many have returned to carry out work for the BBC? Please state whether these people have been given staff contracts, temporary contracts or have just carried out freelance work. Please also break down by financial year.

A BBC insider told Press Gazette: "Individuals who were made redundant under DQF and who received payouts have come back to work at the same desks, doing the exact same work in News…

"If a manager wants to give you a big payout then bring you back doing the same job it's very easy for them to do so."

Press Gazette has asked  the BBC on several occasions to answer this FoI question, but no answer has come.

The results of an internal BBC survey, seen by Press Gazette, show the issue of recruitment practices at the corporation is one of the primary concerns of staff. 

Some 38 per cent of those who filled in the survey agreed with the statement: "There are fair, open processes for filling internal vacancies."

In 2014 the BBC, in common with other news organisations, reported how more than 4,000 staff made redundant by the NHS in England had been rehired.

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