BBC statement as DEPHER CIC founder James Anderson criticises investigation

The BBC has defended its investigation into Burnley-based DEPHER CIC following claims from its founder over 'doctored photos'.

James Anderson set up DEPHER CIC, which stands for Disabled and Elderly, Plumbing and Heating Emergency Response, in Burnley seven years ago. Its aims were to help the most vulnerable in society by offering boiler and plumbing services.

The community interest company often installs boilers free of charge and gives out free food for those in need, using donations from the public and celebrities such as Hugh Grant, with the Notting Hill actor donating £75,000 to his cause

However, a BBC investigation has stated the company 'faked stories of helping people' and that the social enterprise 'used vulnerable people's photos without consent'.


Mr Anderson told LancsLive that 'mistakes were made' but denied several of the broadcaster's allegations. Although it was announced his British Citizen Award has now been rescinded..

A spokesperson said his actions "did not align" with the awards' values, adding: "We pride ourselves in recognising individuals across the UK who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on their communities and charities."

The Fundraising Regulator confirmed to LancsLive an investigation into the community interest company is currently underway.

Today (May 17), DEPHER founder Anderson issued a statement claiming he would be sending a complaint to media regulator OFCOM.

He said: "We are investigating the posts that the BBC used on the interview. We will be sending a complaint to OFCOM today... The full interview on the issues with Joyce was not shown, they only shown small snippets of the interview, also only 2 photos were shown that involved Joyce, but many more were used on the article."

The BBC did not wish to comment on specific claims made by Anderson, but issued a statement on the investigation.

A spokesperson said: “The investigation is made in line with the highest editorial standards and is firmly in the public interest. The allegations have been thoroughly and independently investigated, and we include interviews with a range of people. Mr Anderson’s position, including his apologies, is referenced throughout.”