‘This is the year for action’
The BFI and Bafta have drawn up a set of behavioural principles to send a ‘zero-tolerance’ message on bullying and harassment, as Hollywood’s Time’s Up campaign gathers pace in the UK.
Commissioned in partnership with 10 industry groups, including Bectu, Equity and Women in Film & Television (WFTV), the eight principles mark the first time that film and TV groups have united to draw up pan-industry guidelines. Work is also understood to be under way to secure the support of the PSBs.
“We will be doing a series of things to reset the tone and culture of the industry to drive positive change in terms of how people relate to each other on set or in any context,” BFI head of inclusion Jennifer Smith told Broadcast.
“The independent production community is predominantly freelance, and unclear on how to report things that may have occurred. The guidelines are designed with them in mind.”
The eight principles, which are to be refreshed every six months, are accompanied by an extensive document for employers, workers and freelancers that offers practical support to prevent and respond to bullying and harassment.
The BFI will enforce the guidelines via its funding schemes, requiring all projects seeking financing to adhere to its principles and adopt its zero-tolerance approach to breaches.
The organisation, which shaped the documents via five ACAS-led workshops with key groups, is asking the backers to “endorse and distribute” the principles to their members.
One of the plan’s key recommendations for employers is to include contractual obligations to abide by the principles.
BFI AND BAFTA’S EIGHT PRINCIPLES
- Everyone is responsible for creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace that is positive and supportive.
- We recognise that harassment may be unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.
- Employers should accept their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
- We do not tolerate bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, and will ensure that processes are in place for the reporting and investigation of these issues.
- We recognise that bullying and harassment can have impacts on the productivity and long-term health and wellbeing of affected people and will provide adequate protection for complainants and victims.
- We value inclusivity, build relationships based on mutual respect and will work to give or receive feedback in a constructive manner.
- We will respect confidentiality as we understand that reporting bullying or harassment can be intimidating.
- We will respect each other’s dignity, regardless of the seniority of our role in an organisation.
However, Broadcast understands that some organisations have been sceptical of the undertaking, noting that their memberships already have “robust practices in place”. In recent weeks, Equity and the Casting Directors’ Guild both published new guidelines for members.
WFTV chief executive Kate Kinninmont said the principles are a “starting point for everyone”. “This is the year for action,” she added. “It is very important that we get these guidelines out. People are actively asking about them.”
Following the publication of the guidelines, training will be arranged in April for industry point people, known as welfare advisers, who will help their businesses deal with workplace incidents.
“The BFI and Bafta will work with experts to make training available and equip people with the skills to deal with these issues,” said Smith.