Television broadcasters are in a unique position. Not only are they large employers in their own right but through their broadcasting output they are able to influence public opinion and attitudes. Diversity and within that, disability, are subjects taken very seriously by the major British broadcasters.
The BBC for example, makes sure that diversity is part of its inherent operation through the Diversity Action Plan which sets out how they meet objectives against their diversity strategy. Each division within the corporation is required to recognise and develop its own plan.
ITV meanwhile were original members of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme which was designed to show organisations how recruiting and retaining disabled talent would help their businesses; in fact, they hosted the DWP Disability Conference when it was launched in 2014.
It has also been reported that ITV prefers not to have figures or targets but instead allows a ‘social partnership’ to exist so that commissioners “play a full part in maximising the growth of diverse talent and increasing diversity on screen”.
Each broadcast organisation treats diversity slightly differently with Channel 5, for instance, suggesting on their website that they “absolutely get how important diversity is to our organisation and we actively seek to attract individuals from all sections of our community” adding that: “We recruit, manage and develop you on the basis of your merits and the requirements of your role, and if you have a disability we will work with you to ensure we make reasonable adjustments.” Channel 5 is also part of the industry body, the Creative Diversity Network.
Sky follows the lead of the ‘Big I.D.E.A’ which stands for inclusion, diversity, equality and accessibility. It’s the central hub for the diversity industry, forward-thinking employers, and jobseekers to communicate. The Big I.D.E.A is powered by DiversityJobs.co.uk.