BBC launches new diversity targets

Floella Benjamin and Lenny Henry Floella Benjamin and Lenny Henry are part of a new panel to advise the BBC on diversity

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The BBC says it wants on-air representation of people from black, Asian and other ethnic minorities (BAME) to rise from 10.4% to 15% in the next three years.

As part of new plans announced by director general Tony Hall, BBC News has also set targets to reflect the diverse populations of London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester.

Speaking at the BBC's Elstree studios in London, Hall said he wanted the BBC to be the top career destination for talented people, regardless of their background.

"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."

Development programmes

The BBC will also launch a new £2.1 million fund to improve the portrayal of people from BAME backgrounds.

The money will be prioritised from other budgets to support BAME staff, writers and other talent.

The BBC said the fund would "fast track great ideas and projects onto screen".

The new plans also include:

  • a development programme that will train six "commissioners of the future" to work in comedy, drama, factual, daytime and children's programming.
  • a one-year development programme for young people from diverse backgrounds.
  • a senior leadership programme where six people of BAME background will get experience of working with the BBC executive team
  • 20 paid graduate internships for people supported by the Creative Access charity
  • increasing the BAME proportion of senior level staff (grades 10 - SM1) from the current 8.3% to 10% by 2017, and 15% in 2020

Hall also announced the appointment of an independent group to advise on diverse representation at the BBC.

Nihal at the decks Radio presenter Nihal will also be on the advisory group

It will include actor Lenny Henry, Asian Network presenter Nihal and former Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

The former children's presenter Baroness Floella Benjamin and ex-footballer Jason Roberts will also be part of the group.

In a speech at Bafta earlier this year, Lenny Henry said BAME representation in the broadcast media was "appalling" compared to their size within the British population.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey also gathered members of the broadcasting, film and performing industries in January to discuss BAME representation.

The BBC will announce plans for improving disability representation in the near future.

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