CANDIDATES for the BBC’s top job will be subject to greater scrutiny in a bid to avoid a repeat of the conflict of interest row which led to the resignation of Richard Sharp.

Sharp left after failing to declare a connection to a £800,000 loan for ex-prime minister Boris Johnson.

The deadline for applications to replace Sharp in the £160,000 a year role passed last Monday.

In an information pack seen by The Observer, candidates are asked to provide not only “interests that might be relevant to the work of the BBC” but also those which “could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest”.

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Candidates are also being asked to “reflect on any public statements you have made, including through social media” and are told there will be “searches of previous public statements and social media (and) blogs”.

Speaking to the newspaper, one source said the guidance puts the “responsibility” firmly on candidates to declare fully anything which might be a conflict of interest.

In Sharp’s (below) resignation statement, he said he had made an “inadvertent” error over a “potential perceived conflict of interest”.

The National: Richard Sharp

The commissioner’s report into Sharp criticised parts of his appointment process in 2021 but also press leaks that he was ministers’ preferred candidate – which the commissioner said “may well have discouraged people from applying”.

A search firm has reportedly approached leading figures including, it is understood, Snap chair and Channel 4 non-executive director Michael Lynton, BBC acting chair Dame Elan Closs Stephens, former Tory MP and ex-culture minister Lord Vaizey, FA Women’s Super League chair and C4 non-executive Dawn Airey and Arts Council chair and BBC senior independent director Sir Nicholas Serota.

It is not known how many have actually applied for Sharp’s old job with a longlist of candidates to be sifted on October 5 and interviews expected to end on November 10.

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The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “The BBC Charter sets out how the chair will be appointed.

“This will be a fair and open process run in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments.”