BBC commits to more inclusive workplace for staff with disabilities

UK pubcaster the BBC plans to take more action to help staff members with disabilities succeed in the workplace following a review of current working conditions and employee supports. The review, ...
November 6, 2018

UK pubcaster the BBC plans to take more action to help staff members with disabilities succeed in the workplace following a review of current working conditions and employee supports.

The review, involving staff and the BBC’s Ability network, is the last in a series of reviews aimed at making the BBC a more supportive and inclusive organization for its staff, including reports that looked at LGBTQ, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic diversity.

Included in the review were points of strength, including the BBC’s open culture in relation to disability, with 94.4% of employees having disclosed whether or not they have a disability — of more than 2,000 BBC employees, 10.4% of the workforce and 9.5% of leadership have disclosed a disability as defined by the UK Equality Act. Meanwhile, initiatives like the Elev8 program and the new Writers Access Group aim to successfully mentor and develop staff with disabilities across the BBC.

In addition, the BBC has expressed interest in further supporting employees with disabilities, with director general Tony Hall signing up to the Creative Diversity Network’s Doubling Disability initiative and pledging to increase the numbers of disabled staff and freelancers on production teams.

Those employees with disabilities who participated in the review said they would benefit from hearing from disabled role models at senior levels and from more awareness among line managers about the diverse nature of disability. Transparency around disability also came up as a concern, with disabled staff requesting a more detailed picture of the nature of the disabilities employees have disclosed and greater co-ordination around disability initiatives.

The reviews recommendations include the following:

  • Increasing the BBC’s target for disability in its workforce from 8% in 2020 to 12% in 2022
  • Collecting more detailed data on the nature of disabilities disclosed by BBC employees
  • Including disabled employees in all development and leadership programs
  • Ensuring recruitment processes and trainee and apprenticeship schemes provide specific support for disabled applicants, which is made clear when people apply for roles
  • Introduce a centralized “BBC Passport” to inform managers about the support each person needs
  • Mandate disability awareness training for all team managers

All recommendations have been accepted by the BBC’s executive board.

“This project has given us a unique opportunity to hear from disabled colleagues across the BBC, to understand their concerns, aspirations and how we can make the BBC the best organization for them,” said Anne Bulford, deputy director-general and project sponsor at the BBC, in a statement. “We are committed to creating a vibrant, diverse organization that values difference and capitalizes on the talents of everyone who works here, and supporting the career progression of disabled staff is essential to achieving this.”

“These five reviews exploring BBC culture and the career progression of employees across our workforce have provided an opportunity for colleagues to work together, share their views and ideas and shape the action we are taking now to create a more inclusive BBC,” added Tunde Ogungbesan, BBC head of diversity, inclusion and succession.

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is the Associate Editor at Realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.