Intimacy Co-ordinators, Safeguarding Officers & Complaints Bodies: Bectu Issues Bullying Blueprint

Unseen on Screen
Unseen on Screen campaign

UK broadcasting union Bectu has produced six demands to tackle bullying and harassment, including all shows having a Safeguarding Officer, Intimacy Coordinator and the creation of a pan-industry complaints policy and external reporting body to examine historical issues.

Some of the demands (copied in full below) chime with the BBC’s newly-introduced on-set guidelines communicated to producers over the summer, which were revealed exclusively by Deadline last month and are being enforced on all new BBC shows.

Bectu is also asking for all staff to undergo training on equality, diversity and inclusivity and for “clear, enforceable contractual obligations” to be established around working conditions and bad behavior.

Under Bectu’s plan, the industry would forge both a policy for processing complaints of bullying and harassment and an external body to examine unresolved historical complaints.

Bectu head Philippa Childs described them as a “blueprint for how the industry can tackle this endemic issue.”

“Broadcasters, production companies and studios must put their money where their mouth is in the fight against bullying and harassment and implement real measures that will lead to long-lasting change,” she added.

The plan comes with Bectu this week publishing daily anonymous testimony from people who have been bullied in the UK non-scripted sector and is delivered six months after the allegations of harassment made by 20 women against Noel Clarke,  which he denies.

Deadline revealed Tuesday that global millennial network Insight TV has paused all work with UK indie Spark Content following an investigation into bullying by the company’s CEO Marc Hayward, allegations that Hayward partly denies.

The demands

1. All productions should hire an intimacy Coordinator to oversee consent and facilitate safe practices during scenes where intimacy is performed. Intimacy coordinators should: 

  • Liaise, consult and coordinate with HOD’S during the preproduction phase and on set 
  • Advocate for cast and crew 
  • Oversee informed, specific and continued consent 
  • Help to facilitate actions performed by the cast 
  • Support cast and crew who feel emotionally unregulated on set during scenes with intimacy. 

2. Productions should always have a Safeguarding Officer on set to log and direct concerns, take reports of bullying and harassment and provide general support in preventing misconduct.  Safeguarding officers should be trained on workplace bullying and harassment and have a clear knowledge of a productions policy.  

3. Before a production starts, all staff, including new entrants and freelancers, should be required to undergo training on Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity, equal opportunities and relevant workplace policies. In addition, HOD’S should be encouraged to take leadership and management training. 

4. The film and TV industry must establish Clear and enforceable contractual obligations must be established to ensure dignity at work. This should include minimum standards on working conditions that promote safe working spaces and discourage bad behavior. 

5. The film and TV industry should establish a policy for processing complaints of bullying and harassment that has clear avenues for resolutions.  

6. The film and TV industry should establish an external reporting body to look at unresolved historical complaints. The body should initiate investigations into bullying and harassment and offer advice and assistance to victims and productions. 

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