BECTU and Writers’ Guild boycott Project Diamond TV diversity scheme
BECTU and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain are to boycott the broadcast diversity initiative Project Diamond, accusing it of not being transparent enough.
BECTU has been threatening to boycott the scheme since its inception last year, if it did not publish equality monitoring data for individual programmes or series.
The initiative, which is managed by the Creative Diversity Network on behalf of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, captures equality monitoring data of all those working on programmes.
It has said that it will publish data for genres and job grades, adding that it cannot release any further information for data protection reasons.
However, the unions are claiming that the current system will fail to bring about any significant improvement in minority ethnic representation within television.
BECTU head Gerry Morrissey said: “By far the biggest problem is the attitudes and hiring practices of the gatekeepers. Too many hirers are unable to believe that minority ethnic professionals are capable of doing the job, no matter how much experience [they have] or how successful [they are].”
He added: “To address this Project Diamond must publish the equality monitoring data by production so that we can identify who has a diverse crew, and can learn from their example, and who does not, so we can work with them to improve. Without this any BAME new entrants will find that their entrance is via a revolving door.”
WGGB acting general secretary Ellie Peers added that Project Diamond was a “golden opportunity for positive change”, but only if it is transparent.
The unions will not be suggesting that equality monitoring forms not be filled out, but said they will not be supporting the initiative and will continue urging the broadcasters to reconsider.
A spokesman for Project Diamond said: “CDN and all the broadcasters have examined closely over the past few months BECTU’s proposals and have come to the conclusion that given the considerable legal complexities and practical constraints involved we are unable to provide the data they’ve requested.
“Safeguarding privacy and data security are paramount concerns for Diamond. The collective legal view is that releasing the data BECTU has asked for, even on a confidential basis, could put this at risk. We have offered BECTU a place on the Diamond production users’ group, which will play an influential role in shaping Diamond as we move forward, which they’ve decided to decline, and have offered to share the CDN Diamond reports with them in advance of publication.”