June Sarpong commits to ‘hardwire’ diversity and inclusion at the BBC

FILE PHOTO: June Sarpong (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images).
FILE PHOTO: June Sarpong (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images).

The BBC’s director of creative diversity June Sarpong has committed to hardwire diversity and inclusion throughout the BBC – within its creative decision making, production values and content.

The BBC’s annual plan has set diversity and inclusion as the top priority for the organisation. Its mission statement on the International Day of diversity reaffirms the BBC’s ambition to lead the way on diversity by establishing best practice for the wider creative industry.

June Sarpong said: “The BBC’s ambition is to lead the way on diversity. But it’s very important we work and learn from others – both within the broadcasting industry and in the wider world. The steps we have announced today aim to set a gold standard, which we will share with anyone who wants it.”

“My vision is for the work, insight and application of the BBC’s Creative Diversity team to flow through the veins of the entire industry.”

Under the new initiatives the BBC would establish guidance and tools to help the BBC’s creative staff and industry partners ensure diversity and inclusion is at the heart of production. A framework for auditing, setting targets and evaluating results within production to underpin the BBC’s broader Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) policies will be launched. Further, it will bring the broadcasting industry together with audiences through the Creative Diversity Festival

The Creative Diversity Unit will publish a new strategy over the summer to support these initiatives. Later this year, the BBC will also publish a detailed Diversity Commissioning Code of Practice report at the same time as the annual report and accounts, and later a new workplace D&I strategy, to cover the period from 2021 to 2023.

Vikki Cook, Ofcom’s Director of Content and Media Policy, said: “Diversity is crucial to authentic storytelling, and we’ve been urging broadcasters to widen their pool of creative talent to ensure audiences of all backgrounds are reflected both on and off-screen. We’re encouraged by the BBC’s vision for creative diversity and inclusion and look forward to seeing how its strategy progresses.”