Tony Hall unveils action plan to tackle on and off-air BAME representation at BBC

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.Tony Hall
Date: 20.06.2014     Last updated: 20.06.2014 at 23.10
Category: Corporate
Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, today announced ambitious new plans to address the on and off-screen representation of the Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community at the BBC.

Speaking to members of Creative Access at the BBC’s Elstree Studios, he said that the BBC of the future should represent every family and community in the UK and be the number one career choice for young people with creative ideas, whatever their background.

To make this real, he announced:

  • a new top level leadership development programme
  • commissioning funding and training
  • more training internships alongside the BBC’s existing apprenticeships
  • stretching targets to make sure the BBC delivers on its new commitments

The Director-General also announced the appointment of a new Independent Diversity Advisory Group to ensure the BBC’s work remains relevant and effective.

The BBC hopes that taken as a package these measures will help drive change in the wider industry and contribute to better representation of BAME audiences on screen and off.

Tony Hall said: “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.

"We will review progress regularly, and if we need to expand our approach even more, then we will. It is something we have to get right. My aim is for the BBC to be the number one destination for talented people regardless of their background. It’s time for action.”


The Director-General is launching his own senior leadership development programme for six talented people from BAME backgrounds. They will get experience working right at the very top of the BBC working directly with and learning from the Executive Team. They will receive additional training and support from the respected Clore Leadership Development Programme. The ambition is for those selected to become senior leaders in the industry.


The BBC will establish a new £2.1m Diversity Creative Talent Fund. To start with, it will address the specific challenge around BAME portrayal in our programmes. It will support the development of ideas across all genres. BAME writers, talent and production staff will be encouraged to get involved. This money will be re-prioritised from other budgets and will come on stream from 1 September. It will help fast track great ideas and projects onto screen.

The BBC will launch an Assistant Commissioner Development Programme to train six ‘Commissioners of the Future’ to work in comedy, drama, factual, daytime and children’s programming. There will be a 12 month paid, work and learn development programme, targeting promising young people from diverse backgrounds.

New talent

The BBC announced that it would be taking on 20 BAME graduate trainee interns from the successful Creative Access Programme. BBC HR will also further improve its approach to talent recruitment and management to ensure it is best in class. The BBC will continue the successful work it is already doing with the Stephen Lawrence Trust, the Mama Youth Project and its own apprenticeship schemes.

On and off-air targets


In the next three years we want to see on-air BAME portrayal increase from 10.4% to 15%.



The BBC already has a series of targets for staff representation that it aims to achieve by 2017 (see notes below). In addition, the BBC is today announcing targets to increase its BAME senior level staff (grade 10 – SM1) in the most relevant areas of TV and Radio Production, Broadcast Journalism and Commissioning and Scheduling from 8.3% currently to 10% by 2017 and then to 15% by 2020. BBC News has set local targets in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leicester to reflect the population.


Independent challenge and advice

A small group of respected experts will join a Independent Diversity Action Group, to be chaired by the Director-General. The panel will comprise:

  • Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson
  • Lenny Henry CBE – Actor and writer
  • Nihal – Asian Network Presenter
  • Tanya Motie – Former BBC One and BBC Three Channel Executive
  • Daniel Oudkerk QC – Barrister
  • George Mpanga – Writer and performer
  • Jason Roberts MBE – Footballer
  • Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE– Actress, presenter, and broadcaster

They will advise and support the BBC on diversity.

Notes to Editors

The BBC will continue to develop initiatives and work with the Creative Diversity Network and Creative Skillset. We will make further diversity announcements in due course including on disability issues.

The BBC currently runs a number of existing schemes specifically designed to attract and develop BAME talent:

- Television is working in partnership with Mama Youth Project which works with young people from predominantly BAME and socially diverse backgrounds to fund a programme of production skills training and work experience. This year we supported around 20 young people.

- We are also working in partnership with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust (SLT) and ran a 3-month programme aimed at 19-23 year olds – targeting young BME talent, non-graduates with no media work experience. Earlier this month 11 young people graduated from the scheme and the goal is to convert some of the participants – via open and fair selection process – into Production Scheme trainees and apprentices. The current Production Trainee Scheme is 38% BAME and the Production Talent Pool is 22% BAME.

- To increase the number of BAME employees in the leadership pipeline we are providing a mentoring scheme for lower to mid-grade BAME staff to which launched in Spring 2014. This is a similar model to the Elv8 scheme for disabled staff which was launched in June 2013 and has already resulted in four promotions.

- Building on the success of the Expert Women programme to address the under-representation of women as experts on air, the BBC has launched BAME Expert Presenter Days which will train members of BAME communities who are highly regarded experts in their chosen field.

Full details of all the BBC’s other training and apprenticeship schemes are available here

 Existing targets for staff representation to be achieved by 2017 are:

BAME all staff - 14.2%

BAME Leadership – 10%

Creative Access is a charity founded in 2012 to help the under-representation of the ethnic minorities in the media. The charity offers one-year paid internships with leading companies across the creative industries.

Founded in 2003, the Clore Leadership Programme is an initiative of the Clore Duffield Foundation, which aims to strengthen leadership across a wide range of creative and cultural activities. The programme offers customised fellowships, fortnight-long short courses and one-week courses for emerging leaders. It is supported by a wide range of funding partners, in particular the Clore Duffield Foundation and Arts Council England.

BBC Press Office