The Creative Diversity Network (CDN) has launched its new diversity monitoring system Diamond, which aims to help broadcasters and producers increase the diversity of those working on and off screen in the TV industry.
 
The CDN the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Sky have worked together to develop the system, in conjunction with PACT and Creative Skillset, and these broadcasters will be using Diamond from launch, with Channel 5 due to join very shortly.
 
The launch is going ahead despite the threat of a boycott from TV union Bectu, which has expressed concern that Diamond will not publish enough diversity data about individual programmes.
 
Diamond gives the broadcasting industry the ability to monitor two things. First, it will measure the ‘actual’ diversity of the people working on a programme, both  on and off screen. And second, it measures how an audience might ‘perceive’ the diversity of characters and contributors on-screen.
 
Every individual working on or off screen on all UK-originated productions for the participating broadcasters will be asked to add information on their gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation and gender identity to a confidential, encrypted system.  
 
Production companies will also enter information about the perceived diversity characteristics of on-screen characters and contributors – allowing the industry to monitor how people from different backgrounds and with different personal characteristics are portrayed on screen.
 
This aggregated, anonymized data will then be used by CDN and Diamond’s participating members to monitor the diversity of the industry’s workforce. An initial set of data will be released publicly by CDN in 2017, which will provide the first benchmark statistics on diversity.
 
Bectu wants Diamond to release more data about individual programmes. In July, the union proposed publication of monitoring data for all productions broadcast in the 18.00-22.30 slot that employ more than 50 people. The union said it only required one set of data for whole series rather than separate data for each programme in the series.
 
Amanda Ariss (pictured above), Executive Director of the Creative Diversity Network said: “CDN is absolutely committed to transparency – Diamond goes further than any other system worldwide in publishing diversity monitoring data. We are still working on exactly what the published reports will cover but we are already committed to publishing detailed data broken down by broadcaster, genre, and types of job. We expect Diamond to be able to look more closely at how individual channels, genres and areas of the workforce are performing as the system evolves.
 
“We will continue to talk to BECTU about how we can work together to ensure that the ambitions set out for Diamond become a reality.”
 
Ariss added: “Despite the efforts already being made, the UK’s broadcast industry still does not reflect the diversity of the UK and as a result we are missing out on brilliant creative talent. By establishing an accurate picture of diversity in the industry, Diamond will help broadcasters and producers better focus their efforts and resources to achieve the results we all want to see.”
 
Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said: "This Government is committed to improving equality and tackling inequality. Whilst BAME representation in the UK’s creative industries is increasing twice as fast as the rest of the UK workplace, we want to see greater social mobility and diversity across this and across the arts sector.
 
"The launch of project Diamond is a clear example of how the UK’s broadcasting industry is leading the way. Together with industry we want to see diversity continuing to improve both on and off screen, and this world-first initiative is a step forward to achieving that."
 
John McVay, Chair of the Creative Diversity Network and Chief Executive of Pact added: “Diamond is an incredibly ambitious project – as far as we know no other broadcasting industry anywhere in the world has developed a cross-industry data collection and publishing process like it. I’d like to thank all the broadcasters, producers, developers and others who have worked so hard to deliver the system.”
 

Staff Reporter