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UK broadcasters back new authority to tackle bullying within creative industry

The companies’ bosses say they are ‘committed’ to creating working environments that focus on ‘respect and diversity’ in all areas of production.

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UK broadcasters back new authority to tackle bullying within creative industry (Nicholas Ansell/PA)

UK broadcasters back new authority to tackle bullying within creative industry (Nicholas Ansell/PA)

UK broadcasters back new authority to tackle bullying within creative industry (Nicholas Ansell/PA)

The UK’s five major broadcasters have backed the next stage of development for an Independent Standards Authority (ISA) to strengthen efforts to tackle bullying and harassment within the creative industry.

The companies, which include ITV, Sky, BBC, Channel 4, and Channel 5, say they are “committed” to creating working environments which focus on “respect and diversity” in all areas of production.

Proposals for the ISA have been developed by Time’s Up UK in consultation with the creative industries, led by Caroline Norbury OBE, chief executive of Creative UK.

The body aims to ensure that anyone who has suffered abuse, harassment and bullying can receive confidential advice, mediation and, crucially, investigations into complaints.

It is well known that concerns are often not raised until after film and TV productions have ceased where broadcasters and production companies no longer have remit to address them. Dame Heather Rabbatts

Ms Norbury described the UK creative industry as “a global superpower” and said it was important to make sure work practices and culture was “of the highest standards”.

Dame Heather Rabbatts, chair of Time’s Up UK, said: “It is well known that concerns are often not raised until after film and TV productions have ceased where broadcasters and production companies no longer have remit to address them.

“In this grey space many suffer in silence.

“Nor is there any process, especially where there are multiple allegations.

“The ISA will conduct expert led investigations where both sides can be heard by an independent panel of skilled investigators working to the highest standards of legal confidentiality.”

The BBC is committed to creating an inclusive working environment focused on respect and diversity and free from bullying and harassment. Time Davie, BBC Director General

The next stage of the ISA’s development will be funded by the creative industries and will include design of the remit, structure and funding arrangements for the body.

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Tim Davie, BBC director general, said: “The BBC is committed to creating an inclusive working environment focused on respect and diversity and free from bullying and harassment.

“It is vital we work together across the industry to end all forms of inappropriate behaviour and we support the next stage of developing the Independent Standards Authority.”

Carolyn McCall, chief executive of ITV, said: “ITV is committed to creating an environment where those who work in our industry or appear on our shows are treated fairly, with respect and feel included.

“The primary responsibility for that has to be with the production companies that make our shows but it’s clear that the structure of our industry can lead to gaps in support and protection or uncertainty about how to raise issues.”

Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon said: “Everyone has a right to be their genuine selves at work and feel safe so that they can progress their careers without fear of being bullied or harassed.

Everyone has a right to be their genuine selves at work and feel safe so that they can progress their careers without fear of being bullied or harassed. Alex Mahon, Channel 4 Chief Executive

“The proposal to establish an Independent Standards Agency is a positive step towards ensuring that the creative industry collectively takes responsibility to eradicate bullying and harassment once and for all.”

Stephen van Rooyen, executive vice president and chief executive officer, UK & Europe, of Sky, said: “Protecting the cast and crew who work on our productions is of paramount importance, that’s why Sky has a set of robust procedures in place.

“However, more can and must be done to protect on and off screen talent from circumstances that may not be covered by our processes.

“We are keen to play our part alongside our UK broadcaster partners to support and help shape the formation of the ISA, ensuring we do everything in our power to stamp out bullying and harassment and raise standards across our industry.”

Ben Frow, Channel 5’s chief content officer said: “We want all of our productions to be safe and welcoming places for the people who work on them, free of bullying and harassment.

“We have already put in new measures to address this issue alongside our production partners but we recognise the industry as a whole can and should do more, and so we are supportive of the work to establish an Independent Standards Authority.”

The ISA is already supported by the BFI, BAFTA, BECTU, the PMA and the Casting Director’s Guild.


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