BBC Studios Production is introducing four new steps to improve its diversity and inclusion both on- and off-screen, including a requirement that all new series must have least 20% of its workforce come from a diverse background.
The “inclusion rider,” as it’s being called by BBC Studios Production, says that a fifth of on-screen talent and productions teams for all new BBC and third-party UK commissions must come from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, have a lived experience of a disability, or be from a low-income background. In addition to the minimum threshold, at least one senior role on scripted and unscripted production teams must also come from one of these groups.
This policy is effective immediately, and will apply to every new commission across content types. This practice also extends to BBC Studios staff, and will put diversity at the forefront of its own hiring practices.
LGBTQ+ talent is also included as part of the on-screen inclusion rider, but not off-screen since BBC Studios has already exceeded that target, the studio said in a release.
The other initiatives include: funding a new year-long trainee assistant producer program for the next generation of content makers; a mentoring program aimed at under-represented talent at the assistant producer or script editor level; and the creation of a short film for schools explaining all of the behind the camera roles in drama, entertainment and factual TV.
BBC Studios is also working on a diversity and inclusion plan for its entire workplace, which will launch in January.
This follows ViacomCBS UK’s “no diversity, no commission” policy in July, which was later rolled out across the entire company. ViacomCBS Networks International requires that production companies adhere to diversity guidelines before budgets are signed off and productions are approved to begin.