Diversity and Inclusion

STV takes action on accessibility

2 November 2020. STV is privileged to play an important role in the lives of our viewers, our customers and our communities, and today has confirmed its commitment to take action on accessibility to create an inclusive culture for, and increased representation of, disabled people.
 
Under the Equality Act 2010, disability is defined as ‘a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities’. In their diversity in broadcasting workforce survey 2020, Ofcom outline a broad range of conditions which would fall under the definition of disability, including sensory disabilities such as visual and hearing impairments; physical/muscular-skeletal disabilities affecting co-ordination, dexterity and mobility; mental health conditions such as serious depression and bipolarity; cognitive/learning disabilities such as dyslexia, Down’s syndrome and autism; and multiple other long term (12 months or more) conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, arthritis, asthma, speech impairments and facial disfigurement. 
 
We have worked with our peer group for accessibility at STV, Access All Areas, and colleagues across the organisation, to address practical issues identified as barriers to progress and effect lasting change for disabled people in all parts of our business, both on and off screen. 
 
OUR PEOPLE
 
We are focused on equality of opportunity and improving accessibility, through provision of appropriate support and assistance to enable all of our colleagues to thrive in their working environment.  We will seek to achieve this in a number of ways.
 
  1. The population of working-age adults in the UK living with a disability is around 19% according to the most recent 2018/2019 survey data from the Department for Work & Pensions.  According to Ofcom’s Diversity in Television 2019 report, it is 6% across the UK based TV industry.  To improve representation of disabled people at STV: 
1.1. We have set a 3-year target for 12% of our colleagues to be disabled people by the end of 2023, up from 7% today.  This target will apply to all levels of the organisation reflecting the importance of representation at senior levels.  We will review our target after 3 years, by which stage we will also have new census data that will inform our review.

1.2. We will ensure that at least 25% of our placements, apprenticeships and bursaries every year are awarded to disabled people to make it easier to access our industry.  This is equivalent to approximately 8 of 32 positions.

1.3. We will continue our internal campaign, ‘What’s it got to do with me?’, to encourage colleagues to complete the Company’s diversity monitoring questionnaire annually, to support us in closing our data gap, reflect the diversity of our existing workforce, and to inform where we should focus our efforts in areas of under representation.
 
  1. To improve accessibility in our recruitment and selection processes, we have procured a new applicant tracking system and careers portal which will launch in late 2020/early 2021, and includes assistive technology enabling users to consume digital content in ways that work for them.  Our Access All Areas peer group will support user testing of the new system to identify any further access requirements that should be considered.
 
  1. In our schools outreach programme, we will focus on developing a diverse talent pipeline and inspiring young disabled people about opportunities and career paths available in our industry that can support them in reaching their full potential.
 
  1. We will convey STV as an employer of choice for disabled people by progressing membership of the Disability Confident Scheme from our current ‘Committed’ status, to ‘Employer’ or ‘Leader’ status.
 
  1. Our programme of equality and diversity training will continue to support inclusive leadership with the next areas of focus being inclusive hiring, understanding of assistive technologies and improving accessibility for disabled people.
 
  1. Through onboarding and induction processes, we will provide all colleagues with details of our internal support networks including our mental health first aider group, occupational health service, employee assistance programme, five diversity and inclusion peer groups and steering committee; as well as ensuring a focus on mandatory policy information including respect and dignity at work, and our Open Access charter outlining our inclusion strategy.
 
  1. We will review the accessibility of our ways of working, in terms of both communications and infrastructure, to identify any further support or enhancements that can be made.
 
  1. We will create regular opportunities for company-wide inclusion focused discussions to support learning for all, commencing with insights from Purple Tuesday on the social and economic case for improving accessibility for disabled people.
 
  1. Our career development programmes (Pathway and Getting On) will more deliberately target diversity amongst participants, who will also be paired with a mentor to support their continuing development.
 
  1. We will work collaboratively with partner organisations to improve accessibility for disabled people across our industry.  Current partner organisations include Enable Scotland, Inclusion Scotland and The Digital Accessibility Centre.  Future potential partners include RNIB and Action on Hearing Loss.
 
OUR AUDIENCES
 
As a public service broadcaster we have a duty to provide access services that meet the diverse needs of all of our audiences.  We will enable people with sensory impairments to enjoy our programmes by:
 
  1. Exceeding where possible our regulatory access services targets, as set by Ofcom, and expressed as annual percentages of our broadcast programming.  These are 90% for subtitling, 5% for signing and 10% for audio description.  The respective percentages achieved by Q3 2020 were subtitling 99%, signing 6% and audio description 24%.
 
  1. Reviewing access service provision on STV Player aligned to Ofcom’s recommendations to regulate improved accessibility of on demand programme services (ODPS) for those with sight and/or hearing difficulties.  These include a two year target, effective from when regulations come into effect, of: 40% subtitling, 5% audio description and 5% signing; and a four year target of 80% subtitling, 10% audio description and 5% signing. 
 
  1. Working with suppliers to ensure acquired content for STV Player is provided with access services wherever possible.  We also note Ofcom’s recommendation for ODPS providers to refresh their provision of access services at the same rate at which content is refreshed more generally.
 
  1. Actioning our Purple Tuesday Pledge, ‘To review the accessibility of STV’s broadcast and digital services to ensure an inclusive consumer experience’.  We will approach this in two parts:
4.1. Undertaking a user experience audit of the STV Player, in partnership with the Digitial Accessibility Centre, to identify and understand challenges faced by our audience in accessing our service from a wide range of platforms. 

4.2. Commissioning audience research to review content accessibility on STV Player, regional programming, STV News and current affairs programming, website and app, and our stv.tv website.
 
  1. Aligned to our commitment to improve on screen representation and authentic portrayal across all areas of diversity in the content that STV produces and commissions for its own channel and digital service, we will:
5.1. Build on our commitment to diversity and inclusion in STV News and current affairs.  Following an audit of the last 6 months of our news and current affairs programmes, in August 2020, we set targets to increase the percentage of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people appearing on screen.  We have expanded our diversity monitoring to include representation of disabled people which is underway now. Informed by the insights this will provide, we will consider how to broaden our network of contributors to increase representation of disabled people across our news and current affairs output. This relates to all categories of on screen contributors; office holders such as politicians and officials, invited voices such as experts and commentators and members of the public including case studies and vox pops; and extend the work of our partnership with BBC’s 50:50 project to achieve gender balance on screen.

5.2. Ensure that programming made for us by independent producers meets our diversity targets on and off screen.

5.3. Commission audience research to gain insights into the importance of representation and portrayal on screen, and to explore how well our audiences perceive STV to be performing.

5.4. Produce new promotional idents that reflect the diversity and culture of modern Scotland and all of the communities we serve.

5.5. Work with ITV – our partner for Channel 3 programming – to support social purpose campaigns that address and challenge societal issues and stigmas across all areas of diversity and foster an inclusive culture.
 
  1. As a producer, STV Studios will adhere to the new commissioner guidelines being drawn up by UK and international broadcasters, including the BBC’s announcement that productions for all new commissions made after April 2021, will require at least 20% of their workforce to be from under-represented groups. 
6.1. STV Studios are committed to ensuring diversity and inclusion in casting, including representation and authentic portrayal of disabled people, where disability is incidental to character.

6.2. STV Studios will sponsor the development of writers and production crew opportunities for disabled people through STV’s bursaries, placements and apprenticeships programme.
 
  1. As Scotland’s leading advertising platform, we have ring-fenced £1 million from our STV Growth Fund for advertising campaigns from Scottish businesses that champion all forms of diversity in Scotland.
 
This plan will be reviewed regularly to take account of feedback both inside and outside the organisation.