ITV updates policy on work relationships in wake of Phillip Schofield furore

ITV employees have been told that the company’s policy on work relationships has been updated, months after Phillip Schofield admitted having an affair with a younger male colleague.

The 61-year-old presenter resigned from the broadcaster in May after he revealed an “unwise but not illegal” relationship while he was a host on This Morning, and was dropped by his talent agency.

This weekend, the Sunday Times reported that if ITV staff, along with freelancers, consultants, those on work experience, and contractors fail to declare a relationship then they face disciplinary action which could include termination of work.

The newspaper said that, in a new document, the broadcaster defines relationships as a friendship, sexual or romantic connection, or a family relative.

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee
ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall gives evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (House of Commons/PA)

In a statement to the PA news agency, an ITV spokesman said: “ITV has had in place a policy on relationships at work since October 2022. Like all of our people policies we keep them under review and update them periodically.

“The relationships at work policy was most recently reviewed and updated in October 2023.”

The document reportedly includes: “If a personal relationship exists between you and another colleague (whether it started prior to or during the course of your employment or engagement with ITV), both parties must disclose this to the company at the earliest opportunity.”

The Sunday Times also claimed that whistle-blowers have been told to report concerns and staff have warned: “Any form of reprisal or victimisation against anyone who has raised a concern will not be tolerated and will itself be treated as a serious disciplinary matter.”

Holly Willoughby leaves This Morning
Holly Willoughby has left This Morning after 14 years (Ian West/PA)

After Schofield’s relationship was revealed, ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall said an external review of how the company handled the affair would be led by Jane Mulcahy KC, of Blackstone Chambers.

Dame Carolyn updated MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in September to say that Ms Mulcahy has “conducted multiple witness interviews, with further interviews set to continue during the course of September”.

Earlier this month, Schofield’s long-time co-host, Holly Willoughby, announced she would also be leaving This Morning.

The 42-year-old presenter said it was an “honour to just be part of its story” for 14 years and that she had made “this decision for me and my family”.

On the programme in June, she said the revelations about Schofield had left her “shaken, troubled, let down and worried”.