Diversity and Inclusion

Commitment to positive change

6th July 2020.  STV has set out a renewed commitment to using its privileged position as an employer, public service broadcaster and producer to address the longstanding and systemic issue of racism and improve the representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people both on and off screen.
CEO Simon Pitts outlined a comprehensive action plan that will see the Scottish producer-broadcaster more than double the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues at STV by 2023, improve on screen representation in the programmes STV makes for itself and others, and ring-fence £1m from the STV Growth Fund for advertising campaigns that champion diversity in Scotland, with a particular focus on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic diversity.
Simon Pitts, said: “The death of George Floyd and the chain of events it has set off around the world, including in Scotland and the rest of the UK, has highlighted the scale of racism that still exists in our society.
“As a company we have been making progress on diversity through the STV Open Access Charter, with our Diversity & Inclusion Committee and our network of peer groups all empowered to make impactful and lasting changes. However we can and must do more. In particular it is clear from the views and experiences of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues both in the wider TV industry and in our own organisation that we are not going far enough, fast enough.
“We believe actions speak louder than words. Our action plan is intended to be a catalyst for sustainable, long-term, positive change and we will measure our progress against it. We have worked with our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Peer Group at STV to draw up these new commitments and although they will inevitably not address every issue, we will review them regularly, listen to feedback, and evolve our response accordingly.
“We are determined to drive lasting change in all parts of our business - both on and off screen - for our people, our audiences, and our partners.”
Action Plan: STV’s commitment to positive change 
We will ensure equality of opportunity for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues and an inclusive culture with zero tolerance of racism.
  1. We are setting a new 3-year target to more than double the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues at STV by the end of 2023.
  • In Scotland at least 8% of our team (including full time staff, fixed term contractors and freelancers) will be Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic by 2023, up from 3.6% today. The Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic population in Scotland is around 4% according to the most recent official Census data from 2011, though this clearly varies by Scottish city and region.
  • In London the target will be at least 33% by 2023, up from 15% today. This reflects the greater diversity in London where c.40% of the population are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic according to the same Census data.
  • These targets apply to all levels of STV and we will publish our progress every year. We understand how important it is to have role models at senior levels in the organisation.
  • We will review these targets after 3 years with a view to increasing the target to 12% Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues by 2025 in Scotland, and 40% in London. By that stage we will also have new Census data that will inform our review.
  1. We will continue to ensure regular opportunities for company-wide discussion to increase understanding of the societal issues faced by our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues and support learning for all. We will take a similar approach with our other diversity and inclusion priorities.
  1. We will continue our programme of equality and diversity training for all colleagues.
  1. Our career development programmes (Pathway and our new programme Getting On) will more deliberately include Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues. These programmes focus on career acceleration, improving retention and increasing diversity in senior roles. Participants will also be paired with a mentor to support career progression and development.
  1. We will change our hiring processes and will expect that shortlists contain at least one Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidate. If this is not the case we will pause the recruitment and selection process and assess how we can broaden the search.  This will support change in the diversity of our employee profile and will require a concerted outreach programme as we build a wider network of partner organisations to support our resourcing and recruitment.
  1. We will also share our STV Open Access Charter with all prospective candidates and ask all candidates for managerial positions to outline their approach to ensuring diversity and inclusivity in their teams.
  1. To make it easier for young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds to access our industry, we will ensure that at least 25% of our placements, apprenticeships and bursaries every year are awarded to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates.  This figure was 13% in 2020 from 30 positions.
  1. As a company we have zero tolerance of racism and we will always call out and act upon any incidents of racism in our workplace and in our programmes. We will also ensure that mental health support is in place for any victim of racism so that they can be confident and secure in pursuing any complaint.
  1. We will appoint a dedicated diversity advisor, reporting to the STV CEO who, alongside STV’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and network of peer groups, will advise, challenge and help shape STV’s future diversity strategy.
  1. In terms of partnerships, we will work collaboratively with Creative Access, Pact, Mama Youth, the Creative Diversity Network, Bectu Black Network, the BAME TV Task Force and others to support our learning and understanding and to promote Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic representation and diversity across our industry.
We will use our position as a public service broadcaster in Scotland and the programming we produce for others to improve Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic representation on screen and ensure our output reflects the lives of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic audiences. As a PSB we will always strive to represent the cultures and voices that make Scotland the place it is, and as a producer we will create content that is relevant, relatable and representative of all members of our audience.
  1. We will work with ITV – our partner for Channel 3 programming – to drive change in the industry, with a view to raising awareness of racism in society through our programming, improving Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic representation on screen, nurturing diverse talent, and commissioning more programming from producers who are led by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic creatives.
  1. A new network promotional campaign in response to the Black Lives Matter movement will begin on STV in July 2020.
  1. In the content that STV produces, commissions and acquires for its own channel and digital service, we will set new targets to improve the representation and portrayal of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic voices on screen in a number of ways:
  • Building on the successful work of our 50:50 gender initiative, and following a recent audit within news and current affairs to establish a baseline for current on-screen diversity in our news programming, STV commits to double the percentage of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people appearing on STV news programmes to at least 8% by the end of 2021.  For Scotland Tonight, the current level of diversity of 12% contributors over the past six months being Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic has been established as our benchmark and will be the minimum target going forward.  These targets will be under regular review and include all categories of on screen contributors; office holders, e.g. politicians and officials, invited voices such as experts and commentators and members of the public including case studies and vox pops.  
  • We will publish commissioning guidelines to ensure that any regional programming made for us by independent producers meets our diversity targets on and off screen including for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic audiences.
  • We will create new promotional idents for our channel that reflect the diversity and culture of Scotland including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic audiences.
  • We will recruit at least one Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic continuity announcer to our roster.
  1. As a producer we will ensure that we improve Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic representation in the programmes we produce for other channels:
  • STV Productions strongly welcomes and will adhere to the new commissioner guidelines being drawn up by UK and international broadcasters. For example, the BBC have announced that for all new commissions made after April 2021, all producers they work with will need to commit to at least 20% of their workforce being from under-represented groups.
  • We will make a renewed commitment to working with third parties (including Screen Scotland) to sponsor the development of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic writers, performers and production staff, as well as playing a full part in STV’s bursaries, placements and apprenticeships programme. 
  • We will expand our pilot partnership programme with secondary schools in London to schools in Scotland, focusing our efforts on schools with a significant Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic cohort.
  1. In terms of advertising, we will ring-fence £1 million from our STV Growth Fund for advertising campaigns from Scottish businesses that champion diversity in Scotland, with a particular focus on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic diversity.
This plan will be regularly reviewed and we are committed to acting on feedback on our diversity and inclusion strategy from inside and outside the organisation.