Reflecting the ethnic diversity of the UK within the BBC workforce

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.Tony Hall, Director-General
Category: BBC; Ethnicity

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, Reflecting the ethnic diversity of the UK within the BBC workforce, 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:

  1. By the end of 2020 the Executive Committee and Divisional Senior Leadership teams to each have at least two BAME members.
  2. Introduce a policy that ensures shortlists for all jobs at band E and above include at least one BAME person.
  3. Dramatically increase BAME representation across our interview panels backed by performance monitoring.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Cultural awareness training should be compulsory for all team managers. This should be in addition to the current mandated Unconscious Bias training programme.
  9. 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.