Individual should have ‘appropriate powers and cross-departmental oversight’ 

The Commons culture, media and sport committee has backed the establishment of a ‘freelancers’ commissioner’ to represent workers in the creative industries, including the TV sector.  

In its Creator Remuneration report, published today, the committee states that freelancers’ pay and working conditions are in decline because they lack a single voice representing their interests to government, and they have historically lost out on major policy initiatives from government interventions and support.  


“We recommend that the Government appoint a Freelancers’ Commissioner with appropriate powers and cross-departmental oversight to advocate in the interests of creative freelancers and address wider issues around contracts and working conditions,” it states. 

Committee chair Caroline Dinenage said: “If creators are no longer to be the poor relations, the government needs to play catch up by plugging the gaps in outdated copyright and intellectual property regulations and ensuring that there is a champion for the rights of freelancers, who make such a vital contribution to their industries.” 

Directors UK backed the call, with chief executive Andy Harrower stating: “Having someone advocate across government in the interest of creative freelancers is a step towards accountability and away from the poor working conditions and unfair practices our members face.”

The report notes that others in the creative sector have already called for the advocate role to be set up to support the workforce, with the idea previously being endorsed by the all-party parliamentary group for creative diversity, following the 2021 Creative Majority report
Commissioner-style roles exist within government in various forms, including individuals and bodies lobbying for underrepresented groups, but industry voices who contributed to the research in the new report agreed the main remit of such a role would be to provide advocacy and expert knowledge of how the freelance sector intersects with the creative industries within government.  

Some also suggested a commissioner should be given policymaking oversight and intervention powers in areas where freelancers are affected, such as pay, taxation and benefits, and employment rights.  

In addition to creating the role, the committee also urges the government to implement the DCMS-sponsored Good Work Review to address the poor working conditions experienced by many creators, including inconsistent use of contracts, uneven responses to bullying, harassment and discrimination and a lack of proper support, training and development.  

Royalties and residuals 

The report also addresses the “persistent declines” in secondary payments going to creators as a result of the rise of streaming, which means TV productions are “exploited more widely and for longer”.  

A specific problem it raises is the fact that UK creators – unlike those in 45 other countries - do not have the right to remuneration for private copying, whereby individuals can use digital devices to download, copy and share content. 

The report also recommends the government works with the creative industries to introduce a statutory private copying scheme within the next 12 months, which, at minimum, safeguards reciprocal payments from abroad.  

Currently, it reveals, payments from other countries may be lost due to a lack of reciprocity with the UK, with some countries specifically prohibiting payments in countries where there are no statutory private copying schemes.  

The committee launched its inquiry into creator renumeration in autumn 2023, and collected evidence through a series of sessions with academics and advocacy bodies. 

Harrower said: “For the committee to recognise the importance of fair remuneration for the use of directors’ work, and set a 12 month timeline on the fund’s implementation, is recognition of the contribution directors make to our economy…There can be no excuses for these recommendations not to become reality. We will hold the government to this.”