Advanced Television

Broadcasters unite on inclusion passports

March 9, 2022

Seven of the UK’s main broadcasters have come together to create access and inclusion ‘passports’ that will remove barriers and support better inclusion of disabled people and other colleagues at work.

Channel 4, ITV, BBC, STV, UKTV, S4C and Paramount UK have consulted to agree a similar approach which will see broadcasters encouraging staff to communicate their adjustment needs. The access and inclusion passports, adopted from an initiative formally introduced at the BBC in 2019, will be confidential and will support conversations with line managers to  ensure disabled colleagues and others get the right support they need at work.

The passports will also be transferrable to enable colleagues to move smoothly across departments and between broadcasters, reducing the need for disabled talent and staff to repeatedly disclose their adjustment needs to each new employer or manager. Crucially, managers will be supported at each organisation to help them work with employees and their passports most effectively.

The plans will cover disabled colleagues at the organisations involved, with an ambition to introduce them into the independent production sector to also support disabled freelancers.

The project is an important milestone in collective efforts by the broadcast industry to remove some of the challenging barriers that disabled talent face when working in TV. Each broadcaster has its own plan for introducing the passports in coming months and will adapt them to meet their business priorities.  Channel 4’s passport will go beyond disability and health to support staff to talk about any circumstances which may impact life at work.

Ally Castle, Creative Diversity Lead for Disability at Channel 4 said: “Disabled talent and others have lobbied for solutions to the challenges they face which stop them thriving in the workplace, and we are now at a very good place in finding something that will really address people’s needs in our sector.

“A collaborative approach is the only way that this can really work in practice, and we are delighted with the progress made between the seven organisations on board.  It’s a really strong basis for rolling the concept out more widely across the industry, and for disabled freelancers too.”

Sam Tatlow, Creative Diversity Partner at ITV says: “Getting everyone around the table to work on a combined solution to support disabled colleagues is one really positive step towards us shifting the dial on accessibility and access in our industry. The access passport enables our disabled colleagues to take charge of the conversation when discussing what support they need, and provides line managers with the tools to engage in the conversation confidently. The more confident we all get in talking about disability the better the industry as a whole will become for disabled people joining and progressing.”

Miranda Wayland, Head of Creative and Workforce Diversity and Inclusion at the BBC, said: “We need a BBC and an industry that is accessible for all where no one is excluded or held back as a result of a disability. The passport is a positive action that is designed so that colleagues can easily share information about their disability and any particular requirements and workplace adjustments with their team leader, helping facilitate conversation or prevent having to re-explain when moving roles. We’re extremely proud to have launched the scheme three years ago and thrilled that it has been adopted and strengthened through collaboration with our broadcasting partners.”

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