Lord Patten said he had spoken to George Entwhistle, the director general, about ensuring its policies were fit for purpose after numerous claims that Savile's alleged abuse had taken place on BBC premises.
A TV apology is likely to be made by Mr Entwhistle, he added.
The call came as Tayside Police became the first Scottish force to confirm it had been contacted by one of the late Jim'll Fix It and Top of the Pops host's alleged victims.
Savile's headstone was also moved from Scarborough cemetery and broken up for scrap.
In London, Lord Patten said an independent inquiry into the allegations would be launched as swiftly as possible following a police investigation into Savile's activities.
He also said it would be good for Mr Entwistle to make a prominent apology on behalf of the BBC.
Reports suggest celebrities and former BBC staff face arrest for alleged sex offences after Scotland Yard said it had already received a range of names among 120 potential leads.
It is thought others could have conspired with Savile, who may have abused up to 25 victims over 40 years.
Lord Patten said the corporation had child protection policies, processes and guidance for all BBC staff and independents who made programmes for the corporation.
He added: "We've asked the director general to assure us that those policies are up to date and fit for purpose in that they're effective in protecting minors and under-age children.
"We've also said we want to be satisfied on the arrangements in place for dealing with sexual harassment, bullying and whistleblowing and we want to be sure those guidelines that do exist are gold standard and up to date and comply with current best practice."
He told the Broadcasting Guild it was vital to get to the centre of "the appalling allegations, the cesspit of the Jimmy Savile allegations".
Police said the investigation was on a national scale and that women who had spoken to officers described Savile as a predatory sex offender.
One victim, who is now thought to live on Tayside, has come forward to claim she was attacked by him in Liverpool many years ago.
A Tayside Police spokesman said: "A disclosure has been made to Tayside Police regarding a historical incident that happened in the Liverpool area.
"Full details will be provided to the Metropolitan Police, and support is being offered to the woman concerned."
In Salford, where Top of the Pops was once filmed, Greater Manchester Police are also investigating claims.
A spokesman said: "As part of an investigation being headed by the Metropolitan Police Service into allegations of sexual abuse made against the late James Savile, Greater Manchester Police has, to date, recorded two separate complaints.
"These are historic complaints dating back to the 1960s."
Mr Entwistle made an apology to Savile's victims and said there would be an inquiry to follow the police investigation.
Lord Patten said of the planned inquiry: "In my view, because of the understandable feeding frenzy around this story, the sooner that happens the better.
"There'll be an independent inquiry and it is inconceivable the way in which that inquiry is conducted will be established without the active agreement of the trust and myself."
Although he had read about references to Freddie Starr and Gary Glitter in the testimonies of one alleged victim, Lord Patten said he did not know of any claims against other BBC stars.