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The BBC has launched a new diversity and inclusion strategy with a target for 2020 of increasing the representation of women on screen, on air and in leadership roles to 50%.
Some 48% of BBC employees are women and women occupy 41% of senior roles. The broadcaster says it wants to have a workforce “at least as diverse, if not more so, than any other in the industry” by 2020. To achieve this it will set new on-air portrayal targets for disabled people, women, ethnic minorities and LGBT people and develop new diversity commissioning guidelines.
It also plans to create a centre of excellence for the commissioning and development of diverse programmes and programme-makers based in Birmingham.
Other proposals include unconscious bias training for recruiters, launching a new partnership with job centres across the UK to ensure all BBC roles are advertised to those who need them most, recording socio-economic information from all new recruits for the first time, if submitted voluntarily, names-blind applications for all core roles, ensuring at least 10% of apprenticeship places are taken by people with disabilities and giving pre-application training to potential staff from under-represented groups.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission welcomed the move and said targets needed to be backed by action. Lord Holmes of Richmond, Commissioner at the EHRC, said: “The BBC has a unique role to play in bringing about change across the industry and society as a whole. The new diversity targets announced are welcome and I’d like to congratulate Tony Hall on his leadership and commitment to ensuring that the BBC reflects the nation on and off screen.
“However, one of the issues raised by many in the past is a lack of follow through to announcements of targets. Tony Hall and the rest of the BBC leadership team need to ensure that this isn’t just another announcement which doesn’t deliver significant and lasting change.”