S4C: Committee of MPs calls on government to appoint new chair for Welsh-language broadcaster | UK News

A committee of MPs has recommended the government appoint a new chair for Welsh-language broadcaster S4C.

The chair of the Welsh affairs committee has written to the culture secretary after an evidence session with current S4C chair Rhodri Williams and the lead non-executive board member of the unitary board, Chris Jones.

Sian Doyle was sacked as chief executive of the public service broadcaster in November after an investigation into the organisation’s culture.

The report – conducted by commercial legal firm Capital Law – said Ms Doyle’s leadership style was “dictatorial” and found she was “creating a culture of fear”.

Ms Doyle was admitted to hospital last month following her dismissal.

In a statement released at the time, her husband said she had “suffered a sustained pattern of retaliation, unfair treatment, and bullying at the hands of the chairman of S4C”.

Mr Williams denies the allegations.

“It has been suggested in some of the comments that have been in the press that this is something that I’ve driven, that I’ve made decisions. I would refute those allegations completely,” he said.

Mr Williams insisted while giving evidence to MPs on Wednesday that it was “the right decision” to dismiss Ms Doyle.

Sian Doyle Chief Executive of S4C takes part in a discussion to celebrate 40 years of the Welsh language
Sian Doyle

In his letter to Lucy Frazer, committee chair Stephen Crabb noted “an absence of cultural leadership at board level”.

Mr Crabb said “urgent work” was required to update HR policies.

“We are concerned at the approach Mr Williams and the board took in seeking advice and reaching assurance in relation to key decisions it made,” he added.

He said the committee remained “concerned about the ability of the current leadership to oversee the changes required to rebuild trust at all levels of the organisation and with its wider stakeholders”.

The committee was not satisfied “different complaints made against specific individuals had been handled equitably and with proper consideration of the fair treatment of all those involved”.

The recommendation of the committee is for the government to appoint a new chair, “given the importance of S4C and the scale of the challenges”.

An S4C spokesperson said the broadcaster had nothing further to add to the chair’s previous comments.

Sky News has asked the department for digital, culture, media and sport for its response.