BBC Boss: We're Working To Rebuild Trust

The acting director-general of the BBC has said he has begun the job of rebuilding trust in the public broadcaster.

Tim Davie told Sky News: "The key here is absolutely to have a very clear line of journalistic control to me. This is about establishing clear lines of responsibility in our journalism and delivering the output we trust and I think I'm in a good position to do that.

"We've really got to work at getting grip in the BBC.

"It's been a really troublesome time and my job has to be get a simple organisation in place that can deliver the trusted journalism you're talking about and take action. And that's what I'm here to do.

"You've got to remember that the BBC has built trust in a time when many organisations have lost trust. Now we've had a major problem over the last few weeks. I need to grip that, but the people I'm putting in charge I absolutely trust and they are very strong journalists.

"We need to rebuild trust and that is what I'm going to do."

His comments came after the BBC's director of news, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell, stepped aside over the crisis at the corporation.

Their moves followed the resignation of director-general George Entwistle at the weekend in response to a botched Newsnight report which mistakenly implicated former Conservative treasurer Lord McAlpine in the North Wales children's home scandal of the 1970s and 1980s.

Newsnight was already the subject of an inquiry, by former head of Sky News Nick Pollard, after dropping a report last year which would have examined sex abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile.

In a statement, the corporation said: "To address the lack of clarity around the editorial chain of command, a decision has been taken to re-establish a single management to deal with all output, Savile-related or otherwise.

"Helen Boaden has decided that she is not in a position to undertake this responsibility until the Pollard review has concluded.

"During this period Fran Unsworth will act as director of news. In line with this decision, Ceri Thomas will act on a temporary basis as deputy director in place of Stephen Mitchell."

The organisation said it wanted "to make it absolutely clear" that neither Ms Boaden nor Mr Mitchell had anything to do with the failed investigation into Lord McAlpine and they expect to return to their positions after the Pollard report.

Karen O'Connor has been made acting editor of Newsnight after Peter Rippon, who was responsible for the decision to drop the Savile investigation, stepped aside last month.

In another development, Iain Overton, the man whose Tweet alerted the public to the Newsnight programme wrongly linking Lord McAlpine with child abuse, resigned as editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Mr Overton had tweeted that a joint report by the Bureau and the BBC was to be broadcast "about a very senior political figure who is a paedophile". His message was retweeted 1,574 times.

Although the programme did not name the politician, it led to speculation on the internet about Lord McAlpine.

Meanwhile, Culture Secretary Maria Miller told the House of Commons that the National Audit Office has the power to undertake a value-for-money review into Mr Entwistle's pay-off - a full year's salary of £450,000 in lieu of notice after just 54 days in the post.

Under the terms of his contract Mr Entwistle was entitled to only six months' pay but the trust said the additional payment had been agreed as a reflection of his continuing involvement with the various BBC inquiries now under way.

Earlier, Downing Street said the Prime Minister David Cameron thinks the amount was "hard to justfiy", though it was a matter for the BBC Trust to decide.

Ms Miller said: "If the National Audit Office decides to review this decision, I would expect the BBC to cooperate fully.

"It is in the long-term interests of the BBC to have a period of stability.

"The BBC must address whatever failings there have been in the editorial process, particularly in Newsnight, in order to restore public confidence.

"The BBC Trust must get the right director-general in the post, and Lord Hatton has indicated that he will do this as quickly as possible."

She added: "Ultimately, the only organisation that can restore confidence in the BBC is the BBC itself."

Labour's Harriet Harman, the shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport, said nothing should "trespass on the BBC's independence".

"The next victim of this crisis must not be the independence of the BBC," she said.