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January 2016

Amanda Ariss OBE Executive Director Creative Diversity Network

Moving Forward

This is going to be an exciting year for CDN with Diamond diversity monitoring going live and a host of other projects in development. We’ll be keeping you up to date with all our activities through our monthly newsletter.

2015 was a landmark year for CDN with the creation of our first permanent staff team alongside a new Board of senior industry figures in April. Highlights of the year include our June Industry Careers Day, seven excellent executives taking up roles in our Commissioner Development Programme, hosting a networking event at the Edinburgh TV festival with Creative SkillsetOpen Newsrooms Day in October and November and partnering with Bafta to host Lenny Henry “18 months on….” in November

We also invested a lot of energy in developing a new strategy to take CDN forward over the next three years.

The 2016-2018 strategy will focus on three goals

1 – Using Diamond monitoring data to help build real change in TV

2 – Retaining diverse talent, so people from under-represented groups who come into the industry don’t get stuck, grow disenchanted and leave

3 – Increasing the representation of disabled people in the industry


6th DCMS Diversity Roundtable
Ed Vaizey MP chaired the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s sixth Diversity Roundtable on January 22. The roundtable, which took place in Birmingham, gave the Minister an opportunity to remind panellists of the key message in his recent Guardian article: there is no good reason why we can’t see greater diversity on our screens and no reason for this not to happen as quickly as possible. Ed was joined by CDN’s Amanda Ariss and diversity leads for the BBC, C4, ITV and Sky and representatives of the British Film Institute, the Arts Council and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Discussion focussed on what has changed since broadcasters launched new diversity strategies in 2014 and how organisations across the sector can work more effectively together on initiatives such as talent databases. Amanda underlined the importance of the TV industry focussing its efforts on changing business as usual practices in areas like hiring.

Diamond, the new industry-wide diversity monitoring system will be going live in the next few months. At a time when challenges on diversity are growing in prominence, Diamond will allow us to answer the key questions “Who’s on TV?” and “Who makes TV?” with greater confidence and precision than ever before. Diamond is a ground-breaking project: as far as we know no other broadcasting industry in the world has developed a cross industry approach where competing broadcasters collect and publish diversity data together.

Training on using Diamond started this week, and there are free places on offer for 1500 people between now and June. Production companies can book training and access the newly published Diamond Guidance Notes from
Diversity News
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission published its Triennial report to Parliament on titled “How Fair is Britain?” in October 2015.
2 of the challenges identified are of particular interest with regards to diversity, namely:

  • Improving the evidence and the ability to assess how fair society is and
  • Encouraging fair recruitment, development and reward in employment.

With Project Diamond, the CDN hopes to tackle the first challenge in our industry, and we will continue to work on the latter with our members and other partners.

In other news, ACAS has released a guide for employers on hiring disabled people, and the Government has issued guidance on recruiting and retaining trans people.

D.I.V.E.R.S.E Festival
Following Idris Elba’s keynote speech to Parliament on Diversity in the Media on 18th January, Channel 4 held its D.I.V.E.R.S.E festival on the 19th January with a stellar line up of broadcasters, actors, actresses and policy makers addressing the key issues facing the UK broadcasting industry. Channel 4 also unveiled new research on gender representation in TV, with some sobering statistics on the state of gender equality on our screens.

From Jessica Hyne’s impassioned ‘no labels’ speech to an unexpected appearance by Sir Lenny Henry, the mood was determined and pragmatic with broadcasters outlining their commitment to initiatives and action to make UK television, behind and on screen, reflective of modern Britain.