BBC accelerates diversity plans

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The BBC has outlined further plans to better represent audiences, invest in diverse talent and lead change in the creative industry, whilst making impact in communities around the UK.

The work builds on the Creative Diversity Commitments made earlier in the year, and will be supported by the Creative Diversity Unit, under June Sarpong, the BBC’s first Director of Creative Diversity.

Among the plans, which will feature in a wide ranging report published next week, the BBC is announcing:

  • A new Disability Content Panel made up of creatives with a lived experience of disability from inside and outside of the BBC who will work with the BBC’s Creative Diversity Unit to support authentic portrayal in the BBC’s output
  • Support for our teams and programme makers to have greater connection and engagement with our audiences, especially those from underrepresented groups
  • Providing our commissioners and producers with further tools that supports their editorial decisions around the diversity agenda, developed in partnership with BBC Audiences
  • Investment in diverse talent both on and off screen through bespoke progression programmes
  • Working with existing industry partners to explore a central diverse talent database
  • Initiatives to support how local talent and businesses can work with BBC productions across the UK

These plans enhance the BBC’s continued investment in diversity and notable success in improving on screen representation. In the last 12 months, this has included I May Destroy You, Small Axe, Crip Tales and extensive coverage of the 25th Anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act.

The forthcoming Creative Diversity Plan is complementary to the BBC’s commitment to building a truly diverse and inclusive culture for staff, and a new Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to follow in early 2021, which will set a gold standard for inclusion at the BBC as well as provide more detail on the 50:20:12 targets.

Tim Davie, BBC’s Director-General, said: “Diversity and inclusion is mission-critical for the BBC. It’s a central component of our mission to provide value to all audiences. Across the BBC, our focus has been on making sure that everyone – across the UK, from all backgrounds and communities – can feel that the BBC is for them. It’s about being relevant to every part of society, and delivering value to every household. We have a responsibility to reflect and serve all audiences.”

June Sarpong, BBC’s Director of Creative Diversity, added: “How we respond to the challenge of creating a more inclusive organisation will determine whether the BBC can deliver value for all audiences into our future. This feels particularly pertinent as we approach the BBC’s centenary in 2022. I am proud of our plans to create a more inclusive BBC and I look forward to supporting our creative teams to take ownership of this work.”

Throughout 2020 the Creative Diversity Unit has delivered a body of work including a series of virtual events which have brought together leading creatives to discuss solutions to inclusion.


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