Ofcom and the BBC – BAME Employment Ignored

 

1 Ofcom should require the BBC to provide diversity data on all people employed in the provision of its output and services; in terms of the main production centres, nations and regions; and for at least the top ten progammes in each genre.

2 Ofcom has started a consultation on detailed proposals for an operating framework for how it will regulate the BBC performance under its new Royal Charter. Consultation closing date: 17 July 17 Final documents “end of September”.

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0033/99519/bbc-performance-consultation.pdf

3 Ministers have said BAME employment OFF-screen is as important as BAME employment ON-screen.

4 The BBC Charter (14.1 Diversity) and Agreement (12 Equal Opportunities) give OFF-screen and ON-screen equal weight.

5 The Ofcom proposals do not give OFF-screen and ON-screen equal weight. Ofcom does not propose that BAME employment should be a performance measure for the BBC nor is Ofcom proposing relevant regulatory conditions.

6 Tell Ofcom BAME and diversity of employment should be included in the BBC performance measures and regulatory conditions.

Background

BBC Charter

  1. Diversity
  • The BBC must ensure it reflects the diverse communities of the whole of the United Kingdom in the content of its output, the means by which its output and services are delivered (including where its activities are carried out and by whom) and in the organisation and management of the BBC

Included in the proposed operating framework is “The BBC must ensure it reflects the diverse communities of the whole of the United Kingdom in the content of its output”. Ofcom says

“1.19.5 To require the BBC to improve its on-screen and on-air diversity, with the overall intention of ensuring that the BBC’s output and services reflect the whole of the UK. We are proposing new conditions to require the BBC to report annually on the delivery of on-screen and on-air diversity, audience satisfaction, and the steps it is taking to improve audience satisfaction among dissatisfied audience groups. We propose that the BBC must agree with us a new diversity code of practice to ensure its newly commissioned content accurately represents, authentically portrays and reflects the diversity of the UK population.”

Ignored is the part of the Clause about employment diversity which says:

  • The BBC must ensure it reflects the diverse communities of the whole of the United Kingdom in ………. the means by which its output and services are delivered (including where its activities are carried out and by whom) and in the organisation and management of the BBC

“the means by which its output and services are delivered” must mean in-house staff and out of house suppliers and production companies

“where” must mean the main production centres, nations and regions

by whom” must mean the people engaged in-house or by external suppliers

“and in the organisation and management of the BBC” adds this as an additional clarification to the other criteria.

Schedule 3 Clause 12 Equal Opportunities: This clause specifies that the BBC needs to ensure equality of opportunity when employing anyone in connection with providing any of the UK Public Services

Ofcom should require the BBC to provide diversity data on all people employed in the provision of its output and services; in the categories of the main production centres, nations and regions; and for at least the top ten progammes in each genre.

In addition, Ofcom should set and publish minimum standards for diversity which need to be met by the BBC, setting the clear expectation that the BBC will make significant progress on improving diversity. In the absence of significant progress, Ofcom should require the BBC to take further positive action in accordance with the guidance published by EHRC and Ofcom in August 2015.