BBC Director General Tony Hall has unveiled a number of plans designed to tackle the diversity issue and ensure that the BBC of the future will “represent every family and community in the UK”.
The plans were unveiled today at Elstree Studios and include a leadership development programme, where six people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) will get experience working alongside the executive team; a£2.1m Diversity Creative Talent Fund, which is designed to increase BAME portrayal on air; a Assistant Commissioner Development Programme, which will train six ‘Commissioners of the Future’ across all genres from BAME backgrounds; and the hiring of 20 BAME graduate trainee interns, whilst continuing to work with the Stephen Lawrence Trust and the Mama Youth Project.
The BBC has also announced the creation of a Independent Diversity Action Group, chaired by the DG, which will include Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Lenny Henry, George Mpanga and Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE amongst its members. In addition, the Director General unveiled several key targets as part of this new diversity strategy. Over the next 3 years, the BBC wants on-air BAME portrayal to increase to 15%, up from the current level of 10.4%. In addition to their prior announced staff representation targets for 2017, the BBC is aiming to increase its number of BAME senior staff across TV, Radio Production, Broadcast Journalism, Commissioning and Scheduling from the current level of 8.3% to 10% by 2017 and 15% by 2020.
“The BBC gets much right on diversity, but the simple fact is that we need to do more. I am not content for the BBC to be merely good or above average. I want a new talent-led approach that will help set the pace in the media industry. I believe in this and want our record to be beyond reproach. That won’t be achieved overnight, but the package of measures I’ve put in place, alongside the support we’ll get from leading experts, will make a tangible difference”, said BBC Director General Tony Hall. “We will review progress regularly, and if we need to expand our approach even more, then we will. It is something we have to get right. My aim is for the BBC to be the number one destination for talented people regardless of their background. It’s time for action.”