Sir Lenny Henry Centre to review BBC’s £112 million Creative Diversity commitment

The BBC has commissioned the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity (LHC) to review its three-year Creative Diversity commitment of £112m.

The BBC’s commitment of at least £100m of existing TV commissioning budget and £12m in Radio covers content broadcast between April 2021 – March 2024, with the criteria and definitions established in consultation with the LHC in 2020.

The commitment is the biggest financial investment in on-air inclusion in the industry. Within the first two years the BBC had invested a total of £128.5m into TV & Radio content – exceeding the original creative diversity commitment.

Focusing on industry impact, LHC researchers will explore whether the BBC’s three-year commitment to accelerating the pace of change has improved access for underrepresented production talent, particularly in leadership roles.

Jessica Schibli, BBC Head of Creative Diversity, says: “We’re pleased to have commissioned the Sir Lenny Henry Centre to carry out this independent review to assess the impact on the sector, of our three-year creative diversity commitments for representation both on and off air.

“We look forward to the LHC sharing its insights. Alongside other inputs, this will inform our creative diversity strategy to ensure we serve all audiences through authentic and inclusive content.”

Professor Diane Kemp, Director of LHC and Professor of Broadcast Journalism at Birmingham City University, says: “This is important work that will offer insights not just to the BBC but to the wider industry, all with the objective of helping to deliver greater diversity in the media.

“Inviting an external, independent organisation to review the success of a project is a good indication that any findings and recommendations will be taken seriously,” added Professor Kemp.

The LHC review will examine how the BBC’s creative diversity commitments have been received by the production sector and evaluate whether it has established a legacy for continued impact.

It will include quantitative and qualitative analysis, including surveys and interviews with key stakeholders. Researchers will also consider other factors impacting inclusion in the media.

Findings from the assessment will be delivered to the BBC and published on the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity website.

The LHC, established in 2020, has become increasingly influential within the media industry.

It advised Channel 4 on its Black to Front Project, which builds on the broadcaster’s commitment to improve Black representation on screen and more widely in the TV industry.

An independent body, the LHC was also shortlisted for a Times Higher Education award for Outstanding Contribution to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in 2021.

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