Everyone has a story - the BBC's new diversity strategy

Tuesday 24 May 2011, 09:57

Amanda Rice Amanda Rice Head of Diversity, BBC

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A screenshot from the BBC's diversity web site

Today we're publishing the BBC Diversity Strategy for 2011-15, outlining our commitment to diversity in the programmes we make and the people we work with. We are also publishing the research and consultation that have helped shape this strategy and perhaps most importantly, the action plans divisions will use to implement it.

Two factors influenced this strategy: our desire to connect with all audiences to ensure licence fee-payers' feedback helped shape the strategy, and the recently introduced Equality Act 2010 - specifically the public sector equality duty which requires all public bodies to take active steps to reduce inequality. This presents the BBC with a great opportunity to bring our obligations as a fair employer together with our wider commitment to reflect the full diversity of the UK in the content we make.

For the research which we commissioned in partnership with the BBC Trust, workshops were held with the public, gathering feedback from a cross section of the UK. We also ran a consultation for staff and the public from November to January, which received almost 5,000 responses. There were a number of themes in the responses to both research and the consultation such as a desire for accurate and authentic portrayal, concerns about the use of stereotypes, and an expectation that the BBC leads by example in this area. There was a broad support for the BBC's diversity objectives, but also a desire to know how we would achieve them.

We've taken the responses in both the research and consultation on board and have worked with the BBC's divisions to lay out action plans that show how each part of the BBC will work towards these objectives.

The most exciting element for us is seeing tangible progress towards these objectives across the organisation. Following our research into the portrayal of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people across BBC services last year, we've held various workshops with production teams to encourage greater consideration of the portrayal of LGB people and to help inform issues such as the need for accurate authentic portrayal on our output. On the BBC workforce, we've had ambitious staff targets in place for some time focusing on ethnicity and disability and feel we're making good progress to reach these, but there is still work to be done particularly in relation to diversity amongst our senior leaders . We have a range of great schemes in place - just this week, as chair of the Cultural Diversity Network, we launched the Senior Mentoring Scheme, which pairs black and minority ethnic (BME) and disabled staff from across the broadcasting industry with mentors to help them build and develop the key skills to reach senior positions in the media. Also, the Journalism Trainee Scheme and 2012 Apprenticeships have brought in people from an incredible range of backgrounds that have real talent but may not have had the opportunities or experience to consider a career at the BBC before.

For the BBC, diversity is about working with a diverse range of talented people and using that diversity as a creative force to make the most original and distinctive programmes which mirror the whole audience. For the BBC, diversity is about working with a diverse range of talented people and using that diversity as a creative force to make the most original and distinctive programmes which mirror the whole audience. The new diversity strategy will help us to achieve this and I look forward to keeping you updated along the way.

Amanda Rice is the BBC's Head of Diversity

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