BBC expands BAME representation with senior adviser strategy

June Sarpong

The BBC is expanding its commitment to BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) representation, with plans to appoint a pair of advisers to senior levels of the corporation.  

Key leadership groups at the BBC will each receive two internal advisers, with at least one of the appointments knowledgeable of BAME issues. They will serve 12-month terms alongside their existing roles.

Applications are to open in January and appointments will be made in early 2020.

According to the BBC, the new strategy will allow the public broadcaster to “nurture and develop new leaders to extend the range of our thinking”.

The BBC previously committed to ensuring at least two BAME members on every senior leadership group by the end of 2020.

This target has already been achieved by a number of teams, including the executive committee, radio and education and finance.

Elsewhere, dedicated HR resources are in place to help BAME staff apply for senior roles – a strategy that has helped grow representation across BBC News – while in May, the BBC will also lead a celebration of BAME talent with the Creative Diversity Festival, curated by director of creative diversity June Sarpong, who was hired by the corporation in October.

Director-General Tony Hall said: “Diversity of thought is so important to us. We can’t be the creative, inclusive organisation we want to be if we’re not representative of the whole of the UK. We’re making some good progress, but we want to do more, particularly in relation to senior leaders across the organisation. So we’ve decided to take immediate action to promote a generation of talented leaders who’ll bring the diversity of thinking we need.

“The changes we’re making will help shape a culture of creativity in this organisation that will make us second to none – a culture that can seize the opportunities of our rapidly changing world. We need people from different backgrounds with different ideas and approaches who feel confident and empowered to work together to help shape our vision for the future.”

Sarpong added: “These bold inclusive steps are part of a much wider long-term effort by the BBC to ensure that all talent regardless of background can progress and contribute to the best of their ability. The Creative Diversity Festival will leverage the convening power of the BBC to bring together the best BAME creatives with the industry as a whole and deliver real results and change – it will be a vibrant event where ideas from BAME talent can be bought and sold. I look forward to working with people across the creative industry to help make inclusion the norm.”

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