DIAMOND DIVERSITY REPORTING: “IF IT WAS THAT EASY, DARLING, EVERYONE WOULD BE DOING IT”

Posted: February 20, 2017

The Diamond diversity monitoring system (Diamond) has been live since 15th August 2016.  From this date, programmes commissioned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky are subject to Diamond, created to collect and monitor diversity information for the industry in order to better understand who appears on television and who is making television. The initiative has been developed by the Creative Diversity Network (CDN­).

Business impact

Broadcasters and producers subject to Diamond must ensure that they adhere to its requirements when engaging both on and off screen talent.

Overview

Television production companies will only be expected to fill out Diamond forms for programmes commissioned after 15th August 2016. Ongoing or continuing programmes will be expected to use Diamond from a date agreed between the production company and the broadcaster on a case-by-case basis.

The UK broadcasters involved are BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky. Channel 5 is now also on-board and is looking to join the Diamond system in due course.

Currently Diamond does not collect diversity data for news and sport; however the intention is to include these in future. Drama, current affairs or documentary programmes are included.

Data collected

  • Individuals working both on and off screen on UK originated programmes will be encouraged to share information on their gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability by inputting such data into Diamond (Actual Diversity).
  • Diamond has been developed within the Silvermouse platform, the web-based system used by broadcasters and production teams to store production paperwork.
  • It will be the responsibility of production management teams to oversee completion of the forms that detail the Actual Diversity of their crew and cast.
  • Contributors must complete the form themselves, except for people aged less than 18 years, where the parent or guardian will be asked to complete the form on the minor’s behalf.
  • No one else can see a contributor’s data and individuals do have the right to opt out of Diamond if they wish.The production management team will also record ‘perceived diversity’, i.e. how an audience may perceive the diversity of characters and contributors on screen.
  • Diamond reports will be anonymised and no identifiable data would be published.

Data protection

Data that the new diversity monitoring system wishes to compile covers a lot of sensitive personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998 (Act) such as racial or ethnic origins, physical and mental health, sexuality, in addition to personal data under the Act such as an individual’s name, address and age. Where the data collected by Diamond is personal data governed by the Act, the CDN and individual broadcasters will be ‘data controllers’ (Data Controllers).

Collected data will be held securely, in an encrypted format within the Silvermouse system. Silvermouse is the data processor and will act only on the instructions of the Data Controllers. The Diamond process operates so that production companies do not access, handle or store personal diversity data and the data will not be transferred outside the EEA. Diamond reports will be anonymised so no identifiable data on cast, crew and contributors’ ethnicity, disabilities and/or sexuality will be published. Although, such anonymised data and report can be used to monitor improvements both on and off screen by the UK TV industry.

Contractual requirements

Wording agreed by the broadcasters and Pact must be included in all engagement documents which will provide for contributor consent to use their email address to trigger the diversity self-declaration form process. Pact has provided precedent clauses to be included in organisation’s own agreements. Pact has negotiated an indemnity in respect of Diamond from the broadcasters to producers provided that this precise wording is used in the relevant agreements.

In line with data protection law, if a contributor does not wish to participate in Diamond, they may indicate this by striking out the Diamond clause in their contract or other documentation, or by replying to the Diamond awareness email to say they do not wish to participate.

Lisa Logan