The BBC has moved to allay fears raised by the post facilities community about the hiring of former BBC Factual and Learning (F&L) relationship manager, Andrew McKerlie by The Farm Group's new facility, Uncle, writes Sam Espensen.

McKerlie joined in August as facilities manager from the BBC where he had held the post of F&L relationship manager. His job at the corporation was to improve relationships with suppliers and support the production community within the department in making procurement decisions.

Several facilities, which refused to be named, claimed to have raised individual concerns about a conflict of interest with the BBC, although the BBC would not confirm or deny this. However, it issued the following statement: "We are satisfied that Andrew McKerlie's departure from the BBC to The Farm does not represent in any way a conflict of interest or give The Farm an unfair advantage. McKerlie did not have the line authority to allocate work from specific production units to specific suppliers."

Following the announcement of McKerlie's appointment, more than 20 facilities met to discuss their worries. One facilities manager said: "The main fear is that McKerlie, in his role at the BBC, was privy to confidential information about other facilities that could prove advantageous to The Farm Group."

The BBC said: "We appreciate in a highly competitive market it is important that procedures are fair and are seen to be fair, we are always happy to talk to suppliers about any concerns they have."

It added: "It would be wrong to suggest any inappropriate behaviour by any staff - past or present - and we will continue to ensure the process is administered in a fair, open and equitable manner."

The Farm Group's co-founder Nicky Sargent said: "The Farm has always in the past, now and in the future, only wanted to win work on quality of service, and for no other reason."