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BBC sets out plans to become industry gold standard for workplace diversity and inclusion

The BBC will create the most inclusive and diverse workforce in the media sector, under ambitious plans announced today.   

The 2021-23 Diversity and Inclusion Plan will create a more diverse leadership team, boost career opportunities for people from all backgrounds, overhaul recruitment processes and increase accessibility for disabled staff. 

At the heart of the plan is a significant boost in the number of apprenticeship places offered in the coming years providing more opportunities for talented individuals from all backgrounds to join the Corporation. 

As the UK becomes more diverse than ever, the plan will help ensure its workforce reflects the communities it serves.

workplace diversity

Measures in the plan include:

  • The biggest ever growth in entry-level opportunities with the boost in apprenticeship places also being offered at mid-career level. 
  • An overhaul of recruitment, including an outreach programme focused on engaging communities that are underrepresented in the BBC’s workforce.
  • Developing a diverse senior leadership including the introduction of a high potential leadership programme with significant diverse membership.
  • New inclusive behaviour training and toolkit to tackle non-inclusive behaviours among all staff and leaders, and improve listening and decision-making on issues related to diversity.
  • Improved accessibility, including increased consultation with disabled staff when making decisions around policies, working practices and the BBC’s services.

The proposals follow an extensive review of the BBC’s working practices, including consultation with staff from across the organisation – from entry-level positions to senior leaders – as well industry experts and agencies representing diverse groups. The proposals also build on the progress and achievements made over the last four years through the previous diversity and inclusion plan.

The new plan will enable the BBC to meet the 50:20:12 workforce targets – announced in September 2020 – in the next three to five years. That’s 50% women; at least 20% black, Asian or minority ethnic; and at least 12% disabled employees.

Tim Davie, the BBC’s Director-General, says:

“We must – from top to bottom – represent the audiences we serve. We have made some big improvements, but we want and need to go further.

“This plan will ensure we are a modern, progressive, welcoming organisation where our staff are supported to deliver outstanding creative work and background is no barrier.

“Having the right mix of people, ideas and experiences at the BBC will mean we continue to provide world-class content for everybody.”

The new plan is delivered by the BBC’s Workforce Diversity & Inclusion team, led by Anne Foster, Head of Workforce Diversity & Inclusion, who joined the BBC in October 2019.

Anne Foster says: 

“I am passionate about working to create a BBC that reflects the diversity of the UK and is somewhere people feel proud to work.

“Every aspect of our plans are shaped by extensive consultation with staff to ensure we can lay a strong foundation for a modern, transformed BBC.”

The Diversity and Inclusion Plan is part of a BBC-wide strategy to ensure its workforce reflects the public it serves and that creative teams who make BBC programmes also reflect modern society.

The BBC’s Creative Diversity Report 2020 published last December, led by the BBC’s first Director of Creative Diversity June Sarpong, focusses on better representation on screen and in content production.

Next month the BBC will be speaking to the industry on how it can support the broadcaster’s commitment to spending £100m of its TV commissioning budget and £12m of its Radio commissioning budget on diverse content.   

The BBC will host an industry day to outline the criteria which will define how production companies and programmes makers can qualify for this ring-fenced commissioning spend. This will be held on 17 March, with invites being sent to TV and Radio suppliers shortly.

Also today, BBC Studios has published its Diversity and Inclusion plan, which details how it will meet the BBC Group target of 50:20:12 in production and across its global offices over the next three years. 

The ‘Valuing difference’ strategy is designed to make long-term changes to the way BBC Studios operates, to ensure an inclusive culture and generate creative ideas which authentically reflect modern Britain. It includes on-screen initiatives already announced such as the Inclusion Rider for all new BBC Studios productions, and a new year-long Trainee Assistant Producer Programme (TAPP) to develop the next generation of content-makers.

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