Recent allegations of sexual misconduct and other unacceptable behaviour on set in the TV industry have given us all reason to address what is and is not acceptable during production. This is a moment for the UK’s TV and Film industry to take stock and ensure we are doing all we can to prevent future occurrences of misconduct, and support those who have concerns they wish to raise.
It’s our belief that Sky already has good and appropriate policies in place on our sets, but recent events have shown us that we could and should do more. We believe the cast and crew of every production commissioned or produced by Sky and Sky Studios, has the right to work in a safe and supportive environment. Now is the time for us all to take a firm stand and ensure there is no ambiguity whatsoever about behaviours, work culture and the professional standards we expect on our productions.
Today we have written to our independent production partners to advise them of Sky’s enhanced safeguarding measures, which will begin to roll out on future productions from now.
Our processes at present include confidential services for anyone working on our shows to report incidents; oversight of all equal opportunities, anti-harassment and bullying policies from our production partners; and the provision of information on how the production will deal with mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Additionally, we ensure that responsibility for safeguarding and enforcing these policies is understood and owned by production teams. We strongly encourage senior leaders on scripted productions, including Heads of Department, and Managers to attend ScreenSkills Leadership & Management Training prior to production (although this is not currently mandatory).
Below are details of the changes we are rolling out from today on all future Sky productions.
Safeguarding Representative: The Production Company will continue to have responsibility for sharing, championing and enforcing our existing policies. We will also now require every production to have a named Safeguarding Representative, who will support production with information on policies and routes to report issues. The role of Safeguarding Representative may be someone with an existing role on set who is given additional responsibility for safeguarding. The Safeguarding Representative will be an individual with appropriate training on bullying and harassment in the workplace. They will have clear knowledge of Sky’s and the independent production companies’ policies in these areas, and they will direct any issues that arise accordingly.
Mandatory Respect in the Workplace training: Everyone working on a Sky production, including cast and crew, will have to complete a mandatory online training module, Respect in the Workplace, which details the level of behaviour we expect in the workplace. In addition, on our scripted productions we will continue to work with ScreenSkills to offer free leadership and management training to all Heads of Department and leaders on set. We now require all leaders to complete the training before a production starts (or on an annual basis). We are in discussions to also roll out similar training on our unscripted productions and are working with ScreenSkills on this.
Clear information on how to report concerns: In addition to printing details of Sky’s confidential service, Sky Listens, on call sheets, each production will now be required to prominently display details around the workplace of how to report any concerns, including; private spaces, such as toilets and trailers; and public spaces, such as canteens and break spaces. This should include details for Sky Listens, the Film & TV Charity’s support line and the new, on-set Safeguarding Representative.
Anonymous exit questionnaires: We will also introduce anonymous exit questionnaires to give everyone finishing a production the opportunity to raise any concerns or provide any recommendations for the future to both the independent production company and Sky.
As ever, our focus is on ensuring that Sky’s shows are produced in safe, professional workplaces, with industry leading safeguarding measures in place.
Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content, Sky UK
Jane Millichip, Chief Content Officer, Sky Studios