Advanced Television

Call It! app combats bullying in TV & film industry

October 1, 2021

New app Call It! aims to help the TV & film industry stamp out bullying, harassment, and all forms of discrimination in the workplace.

Designed to engender collective and individual accountability, Call It! seeks to empower everyone working in the film and TV industry to record incidents quickly and anonymously, providing easy access to companies ‘Dignity at Work’ Policies and procedures for formal reporting, and signposting confidential mental health support. The App enables companies and productions to monitor the safety and wellbeing of their staff by asking, How were you treated at work today?and gathering anonymised data regarding experiences of bullying and harassment.

The app is in the pilot and testing phase with select productions and organisations, aiming to roll-out industry-wide before the end of the year.

Call It! is the innovation of director Delyth Thomas (Victoria, Vera, Silent Witness) and producers Jules Hussey (Guilt, Babs, My Mad Fat Diary) and Kate Wilson (Sounds Like London, Balls, 13).

The app, built by Hull-based developers Sauce, provides a safe space for users to anonymously feedback on their day-to-day treatment at work using a traffic light system and by noting incidents of bullying or harassment including all forms of discrimination. Companies set up an account to create a QR code for their project, providing links to their Dignity at Work policies and procedures and the name and e-mail address of an appropriate point of contact to confidentially raise issues. Staff, freelancers, and volunteers associated with the project scan the QR code once, keeping multiple projectscodes stored in the app if required, and then share answers to three very simple tick-box questions every working day. The user journey is incredibly fast and efficient. The App holds no identifying information about the individuals and their feedback cannot be traced back to them. In the event of mistreatment or an incident of bullying or harassment, the App user is signposted out of the app to their employersresources and/or to existing mental health support and advisory services including the Film and TV Charity’s Bullying Pathway Service, UK Time’s Up’s resources and those of all the relevant unions and guilds.

Call It! co-founder, Wilson, said:
Our deceptively simple App is a powerful tool that can catalyse cultural change and improve working experiences in our amazing industry. We’ve adopted the (bold!) assumption that everyone working in film and TV wants to be treated well and to treat others well and Call It! makes it easier to do just that by gauging experiences, facilitating access to discreet reporting procedures and mental health support, and empowering everyone to do better and better, year-on-year. Our industry can and should be the very best place to work and thrive and Call It! can help us get there. We want everyone in the industry to work with us to make sure the App does what we intend it to do. Please get in touch with us to nominate your project or company for the pilot phase, to test the accessibility of the app, or to invest in us and support our industry-wide roll-out. We all have an important part to play.

Call It! co-founder, Hussey, added: “Our industry will only see sustainable change if we enable everyone, at every level and at any time to feel safe feeding back on how they are being treated. We also need to acknowledge best practice as well as calling out poor treatment and discrimination. Call It! is a tool which can be in the hand of everyone involved from development to distribution and empower them to say thank you – I am being treated well” or “something is wrong, and I need help” As a freelance producer Call It! will enable me to see when I need to support my team better.”

Call It! co-founder, Thomas, commented: “Bullying and harassment can manifest in so many ways – from public humiliation to the smaller daily things that chip away and chip away.  There are great industry resources in place, and yet reporting is still extremely difficult because sometimes its accumulation of the small things that is just too much.  Even on great shows, with lovely people things can happen and we wanted to ensure that every single person, at every single stage of production has a voice, is heard, knows where to go for help.”

Matt Weldon, Managing Director of Sauce, said: We are proud and delighted to have worked with Delyth, Jules and Kate on this innovative project to help tackle an important issue.  We were able to take their idea and turn it into a reality with our digital expertise by working in close collaboration with them.  Although the new Call It! app has been developed initially for the film and TV industry, it has also been created in such a way that it can be adapted and rolled out to other sectors in the future.”

Call It! is collaborating with multiple partners, including Birmingham City Universitys Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity, Bectu, the Casting Guild, Directors UK, the Film and TV Charity, the Mark Milsome Foundation, The Production Guild, Sara Pug Associates, Times Up and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) and others to develop, pilot and test the app.

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