ITV, Sky, BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are the first UK broadcasters to announce their support for the establishment of the proposed new Independent Standards Authority (ISA), committing immediate financial support for the next stage of its development.
The proposals for the ISA, which have been developed by Time’s Up UK in consultation with the creative industries, led by Caroline Norbury OBE, Chief Executive of Creative UK, are designed to ensure that anyone who has suffered abuse, harassment and bullying can receive confidential advice, mediation and crucially, investigation into complaints.
Dame Heather Rabbatts, Chair, Time’s Up UK, said: “It is well known that concerns are often not raised until after Film & 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.”
Caroline Norbury OBE, Chief Executive, Creative UK, said: “The UK’s creative industries are rightly recognised as a global superpower. It is incumbent on all of us working in the sector to ensure our work practices and culture are of the highest standards. The ISA will be one of the ways we ensure that those who are the most vulnerable in our industry are supported and, that those with the most power to make change, have the tools and infrastructure to facilitate that change”.
The next stage - which the creative industries will fund - is to design the remit, structure and funding arrangements for the ISA.
Commenting on the announcement Carolyn McCall, CEO, 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. ITV is supporting the establishment of the ISA to ensure these gaps are filled and that everyone’s voice is heard.”
Alex Mahon, Chief Executive, Channel 4, 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. Together with the work that is already being done by Channel 4 and our production partners individually to tackle this issue, the proposal to establish an Independent Standards Agency is a positive to 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 & Chief Executive Officer, UK & Europe, 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.”
Tim Davie, BBC Director-General, says: “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.”
The ISA already supported by the BFI, BAFTA, BECTU, the PMA and the Casting Director’s Guild and is now finalising this consultation period with TV and Film and will be making further announcements shortly.