Statement following Pact’s advice to Production Companies

Yesterday, the trade body for a number of UK production companies - Pact - advised its members not to respond directly to Production is Broken's findings. Here is our response.

Since the release of “The Report”, Production is Broken has been moving forward with the published next steps outlined in the closing summary of the research. In recent weeks, we have been encouraging conversation with broadcasters; production companies and industry bodies to address the issues raised by “The Report.”

As part of our first phase of outreach, we approached industry organisations including the trade body for a large number of independent production companies – Pact. We were seeking their response to the findings and to seek clarification on their expectation of how improvements can be made for Production Management.

Yesterday, we received messages from Directors of Production; Heads of Production and other Production Management colleagues that are part of a Pact distribution list. They wanted to make us aware that Pact were emailing it’s members, advising them how to respond to Production is Broken‘s requests for a response to “The Report.”

As part of our ongoing commitment to full transparency with the Production Management department, we have included a copy of the email below.

We were disappointed to see Pact were incorrectly informing members that they had responded to our requests for engagement, when this wasn’t the case. We enquired further with Pact to ask for a response and they have since provided the following statement for us to share:

"Pact has raised issues around the work/life balance and remuneration of all production managers with all the PSBs. Most recently, last month with the BBC. We have also liaised with the Production Managers Association on these issues.

Pact isn’t able to respond to anonymous queries but is happy to engage in person to discuss any legitimate concerns.

We negotiate with representatives of all the Unions and Guilds, and understand that their views and arguments in those discussions must not be a barrier to future employment. We will respect Production is Broken in the same way. If it gives greater confidence, we can give a confidentiality undertaking. But we do need to know who we are in discussion with."

We would like to thank Pact for providing a response, and fielding queries from production companies. We understand their preference to engage in person with the team behind Production is Broken. We also appreciate that compared to other organisations that Pact are used to working with, Production is Broken is a bit of an outlier.

We are a group of Production Management freelancers that have been formed totally independently. We receive no funding or sponsorship, and have full-time jobs alongside the voluntary efforts we make to improve our department.

However, the response to our research last Autumn of almost 1000 Production Management staff and freelancers, further proved what we had felt first-hand. Our department is in crisis.

The organisations charged with the responsibility of ensuring the wellbeing and retention of Production Management workers, including Pact, have been unable to give the issues due attention.

This is not a new issue, some of these issues have been in existence for over a decade. If these industry bodies in their current form worked, there wouldn’t be a need for a group like Production is Broken.

We welcome Pact’s willingness to engage on behalf of production companies. However, we have been very clear that we operate as an anonymous collective of freelancers, due to concerns of negative consequences from speaking up about these issues.

“If these industry bodies in their current form worked, there wouldn’t be a need for a group like Production is Broken.”

We understand production companies’ obligation to align themselves with Pact but would encourage companies to consider whether a trade body whose elected council lacks any members with Unscripted Production Management experience, can provide the response that production company staff and freelancers deserve.

Pact acts in the best interests of production companies and not of the staff and freelancers who have spoken out in our research.

We are providing an opportunity for production companies to provide a response instead, that is representative of the culture of their company.

Equally it is an opportunity for freelancers too, to observe which companies are willing to set themselves apart to change the future of Production Management, and which are keen to play an active role in those improvements.

With 84.3% of respondents having either left Production Management or considered leaving the department, it’s clear that the current way of dealing with these issues is not working.

In their statement, Pact made reference to liaising with the Production Manager’s Association on issues raised. Our research found that 85.2% of respondents were not members of BECTU, BAFTA or PMA. Our findings show these organisations do not represent the majority of our department – and any lines of communication that may exist between Pact and the Production Managers Association are not legitimate avenues for change, in their current form, due to their low levels of representation (the PMA’s website states they have only 168 members).

Faith in industry bodies is low, and although Pact wasn’t explicitly included in our research, it should be considered that Pact do not have ‘on the ground’ experience with the issues raised by our research, raising questions on why production companies would fall back on Pact to provide their response.

The group behind Production is Broken met last night to discuss our next steps and following advice from an independent consultancy, we remain committed to engaging in an anonymous capacity with Pact and industry organisations.

However, we will be reaching out to Pact to address their concerns around further communication with us and suggest the engagement of an intermediary representative as a potential solution, to open a line of communication between both parties. It is unlikely this will be established before the preliminary deadline for first responses of Monday 6th March.

We welcome the responses of any production companies that would like to outline their position, independently from Pact and thank all of those that have already provided responses.

Production is broken. Let’s fix it.

Leave a Reply