BBC publishes landmark report on BAME career progression and culture

The aim of the project has been to review career progression and culture for BAME employees at the BBC, identify gaps and best practice and make recommendations to the Executive Committee that will result in significant change.

The BBC has published a landmark report on career progression and culture for staff from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background at the corporation.

The report has been produced by a team of staff from across the BBC, working with project sponsor Tim Davie (Chief Executive Officer, BBC Studios) and programme director Tunde Ogungbesan (BBC Head of Diversity and Inclusion).

The aim of the project has been to review career progression and culture for BAME employees at the BBC, identify gaps and best practice and make recommendations to the Executive Committee that will result in significant change.

The report has been subject to unprecedented levels of staff engagement. The report team held special focus group sessions as well as individual meetings and received feedback from over 200 BBC members of staff. This work culminated in a series of nine recommendations that are detailed below. The BBC’s Executive Committee have accepted all the report’s recommendations unconditionally.

The recommendations focus on five areas: increasing ethnic diversity of leadership teams; building a solid and sustainable BAME mid and senior leadership pipeline; enhancing accountability and trust; developing a modern, agile and culturally intelligent workforce, and reviewing areas with specific ethnic diversity issues. The recommendations are:

  • By the end of 2020 the Executive Committee and Divisional Senior Leadership teams to each have at least two BAME members.
  • Introduce a policy that ensures shortlists for all jobs at band E and above include at least one BAME person.
    Dramatically increase BAME representation across our interview panels backed by performance monitoring.
  • All development and leadership programmes to have significant BAME representation as part of their overall cohort. Inclusive leadership should be added to part of all leadership programmes.
  • Accountability for Diversity and Inclusion targets and BAME career progression should be incorporated into senior leadership team objectives and progression reviews. Progress should be outlined as part of future annual reports. Build a solid and sustainable BAME mid and senior leadership pipeline. As part of this, there should be development programmes for candidates, backed by robust succession planning across the BBC. This should be in place by the end of the financial year.
  • The Executive Committee should undertake a review of staff rotation to broaden the experience and knowledge base and explore what else can be done to make the BBC workforce more agile.
  • Develop specific action plans based on further analysis of all divisions with less than 10% BAME representation or below par employee survey results including, Radio, Newsrooms, Newsgathering, English Regions and the World Service.
  • Cultural awareness training should be compulsory for all team managers. This should be in addition to the current mandated Unconscious Bias training programme.
  • The BBC should introduce a ‘Statement of Intent’ on Diversity and Inclusion. All staff would be required to abide by it. The statement should be published alongside the BBC’s Annual Report.

This document forms one of a series of five reports announced by Director-General Tony Hall that are examining what can be done to improve career progression and culture at the BBC for BAME, women, disabled staff, LGBT staff and those from different social backgrounds. The other four reports will be published by this Autumn. There is likely to be some overlap on recommendations on training, development and recruitment, and we will draw those recommendations together to ensure we can implement them as an effective package to drive change.

Tony Hall, Director-General says: “This is an excellent report based on an unprecedented level of engagement from staff. They are a range of proposals which we believe will transform the BBC. By better reflecting the broader population we will make better programmes that reflect the lives interests and concerns of everyone.

“The proposals build on our existing initiatives, which have been making a difference, but this is now a real chance to accelerate change in an unparalleled way.

“Today’s report is a huge step forward. There no question of whether we implement it. We will. This is a great opportunity. We will grasp it.”

The BBC already has a diversity and inclusion policy in place, which includes 15% targets for the percentage of BAME staff across the BBC and in leadership roles by 2020.

The BBC also has a large number of initiatives in place to help improve diversity across the corporation. These include a commitment to trainee and apprenticeship schemes to encourage staff from a wide variety of backgrounds to enter the BBC; the Clore leadership programme – which develops executives from a BAME background; an Assistant Commissioner Development Programme, which aims to support commissioners and executive producers from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to train at the heart of BBC content; and a £2.1million diversity development fund to support and accelerate on-air projects with diverse content or talent.