Project Diamond data shows there is still a mountain to climb on TV diversity

28 January 2021

The latest Project Diamond data shows a disappointing lack of progress on improving diversity in broadcasting. While there have been some improvements for on-screen representation, the trend appears to be in the opposite direction for a number of under-represented groups off-screen.

Head of Bectu, Philippa Childs said:

“The latest Project Diamond figures make for very disappointing reading. While it is right that the broadcasters have set targets for diversity, the data published today shows they are failing across the board. If broadcasters are to stand a chance of meeting their targets, they must take action now.

“Bectu is recommending that broadcasters immediately commit to publishing Project Diamond data at programme level for all productions with a workforce greater than 50. We are also calling on them to work with us to establish an independent body for reporting racism, as set out in the Race to be Heard report.

“We will be raising the report with the broadcasters as a priority.”

Going backwards

The figures are particularly bad for BAME representation, with the number of BAME people working in senior production roles dropping from 12.1% to 10.7% and BAME writers falling from 9.1% to 6.5%. Offscreen contributions across roles have dropped in all but two genres, shrinking by almost a third in drama.

While the Project Diamond data provides a useful overview, it would be a much more effective tool for change if broadcasters would agree to programme level data being published, as Bectu and other unions have spent five years calling for. This would shine a light on the good work happening on some shows, and crucially which areas need help.

In December, Bectu published the ‘Race to be Heard’ report which calls on broadcasters, unions and industry stakeholders to form a new independent body to tackle racism in the industry. A commitment from broadcasters to establish such a body would provide some confidence that the industry takes the issue seriously and is willing to take action.

The data is also disappointing elsewhere, with off-screen female representation falling to below 50% and disability representation sitting at 5.8%, some way off the UK average of 17%. It is encouraging that LGB representation at a senior level has increased, sitting well above the national average.

Action needed

The data published today is for the year up to 31 July 2020 and as the report states, the full impact of Covid-19 on diversity in TV productions will not be understood until the next report.

If the data continues to worsen, broadcasters should ask themselves why it is underrepresented groups that pay a heavier price when opportunities become more limited.

Despite Broadcasters public commitments to improve diversity in the light of the Black Lives Matter movement this report shows that there has been no real progress.  It is welcome that some broadcasters have set targets to improve diversity, but the data released today provides significant evidence that far reaching change is required if they are to have any chance of meeting those targets.

Bectu is recommending the following steps to all broadcasters:

  1. Publish data from Project Diamond at programme level for all productions that have a workforce greater than 50 so that we can identify good practice and success
  2. Establish an independent body for reporting racism in broadcasting, as set out in Bectu-commissioned Race to be Heard report.

Read more about Bectu’s call for an independent racism body in broadcasting

Download our Race To Be Heard report

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