One Month On: Our Next Steps

In just thirty days since the release of “The Report”, we’ve been grafting harder than ever to ignite change in the Production Management department. Here's our next steps.

In just thirty days since the release of “The Report”, we’ve been grafting harder than ever to ignite change in the Production Management department. With your support, we’ve reached out to over 150 production companies, broadcasters, and industry bodies, determined to seek their feedback and collaboration. We remain hopeful that these efforts will be met with enthusiasm and drive real change for the sustainable future of our industry.

Last week it was our intention to share the responses from the first wave of organisations that have reached out, including ones from the majority of public service broadcasters.

However, after some insightful discussions with our industry peers and consulting with our friends at Bectu, we’ve decided to shift our strategy a bit. While we’re still intending to share some responses from production companies in the near future, we’ve made the decision to hold off on revealing the initial reactions from broadcasters for the time being.

We have received positive responses from major broadcasters including BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, and Sky, who have shown their interest in discussing crucial issues with us. Therefore, we’ve decided time is now needed for Production is Broken and other action groups to participate in the conversation together to encourage progress.

With regards to production companies, many of you will know from our previous post, that during our outreach, the trade body that represents over 750 production companies – Pact – issued a bulletin to its members advising them on how to respond to our requests.

We know from several ‘off the record’ messages from Production Management heads at indies, some of whom have played an active role in contributing to our research, that there was genuine frustrations internally as producers were planning their response, to then feel that they had to align themselves with Pact, due to industry pressures within the production company community.

We have been heartened by anecdotal reports of how our campaign has led to serious conversations internally with management at companies where Production Management workers had previously felt they weren’t being listened to. 

Some production companies have been inviting their staff and freelancers to question whether the findings of “The Report” ring true for them. We know these conversations have been personally challenging for some of you and for others it has still felt too hard to speak up about how you’re feeling to your senior teams.

We know how that feels. It’s hard to tell the people who are paying your wages what the flaws are of the job you are employed to do for them. Particularly as a freelancer.

It goes some way to explaining why Production is Broken has always been an anonymous entity. However, as we’ve found out this past month, that anonymity doesn’t come without its negative consequences.

We’ve been stonewalled by Pact, and a number of major industry stakeholders – who have decided to deflect from focusing on our findings, such as how 84.3% of Production Management staff and freelancers have either left the industry or considered leaving the industry at some point, in favour of focusing on who is behind Production is Broken instead.

We want to reassure everyone, we are in this for the long run. We know too well that campaigns previously have lost momentum or energy, because let’s face it, we are all freelancers and we move on to other all-consuming jobs which means something else has to take a back seat – but we also know that our department needs rescuing.

So, what next?

We have thought hard about this. We’ve consulted with colleagues, PR bods and legal dab hands. Each action we have taken has been directly influenced by the findings of the research or from feedback you’ve given us via email or over Instagram.

In “The Report”, we outlined how 85.8% of respondents told us they would be encouraged by the formation of an Action Group that works in conjunction with relevant unions and organisations to lobby for change.

So that is exactly what we want to do. We have this week submitted a formal request to Bectu’s Unscripted branch to ask for their support and assistance in moving forward. We will be asking the Unscripted TV branch if they would be willing to consider supporting and assisting with campaigning with the following proposals:

  • Pay parity – a commitment from broadcasters to ensure that at a minimum, the programme budgets they sign off are aligned with the current Bectu Unscripted rate card and a commitment in writing to ensure Production Management salary is comparative to that of Editorial counterpart roles.
  • Workload analysis – an agreement that broadcasters will consider carefully the impact of introducing new initiatives; schemes and requirements in their Editorial Specifications, that inadvertently increase the Production Management workload (i.e. mental health schemes; ALBERT requirements; diversity initiatives; regionality commitments etc), exploring the need for increases in budget to cover the additional time/staffing/resources required to fulfil these expectations
  • Promoting the career path – agreeing to use their industry influence to encourage greater promotion of the Production Management department to newcomers to the industry; consideration for a significant marketing campaign to promote what Production Management really is and dispel myths around what the job entails

We will keep you updated on the website and through our Instagram account.

Leave a Reply