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BFI seeking partner for new £1.5m programme to improve working practices

Jan 25, 2024

The BFI opens applications for the new Good Work Programme for Screen, seeking a consortium of specialist partners to deliver activity dedicated to improving working practices in the screen sector.

With £1.5m available as part of the BFI Skills Fund, thanks to good cause National Lottery funding, the Programme will support a strategic and practical drive to address long-reported poor working practices across the industry. Providing targeted advice, training and support – largely for SMEs, industry leaders and HoDs – the Good Work Programme for Screen seeks to build capacity and knowledge to create fairer, more inclusive and positive workplaces.

Fund Guidelines can be found on the BFI website; the deadline for applications: Wednesday 3 April 2024

A wide range of reports, including the Film and TV Charity’s Looking Glass (2022), the PEC’s Good Work Review (2023, which reviewed job quality across the broader creative industries) and the BFI Skills Review (2022), point to the multiple issues and failings by the sector to consistently meet the principles of good work practices. Addressing those failings is fundamental to building, and crucially, being able to retain a thriving screen sector workforce.

The BFI is looking for an organisation to develop and deliver a programme which supports the specific needs of the screen sector, whilst responding to PEC’s Good Work Review. The Programme will also complement delivery of the strategic framework which was developed by industry through the Screen Sectors’ Skills Task Force, of which the BFI is a member.

Sara Whybrew, BFI’s Director, Skills and Workforce Development, said: “The UK’s screen sector makes world leading content, but our operational management practices fall below par. We want this to change so the way in which we go about making our content, exhibiting it, and preserving it, also achieves world leading status. We are seeking a partner to deliver an ambitious Programme that proactively and strategically addresses the many reports, the data, and countless testimonies that highlight the widespread bad practices across the sector. I hope to attract the right expertise to carry out this vital work, and effectively provide our workforce with the knowledge and tools needed to bring about long-term positive change. This Programme can also be a catalyst in bringing together some brilliant work already undertaken and build on this to create a single support programme for the sector’s managers and leaders to access with ease.”

The BFI intends to deliver the Good Work Programme for Screen by making a single award to a lead organisation with a track record and significant expertise in HR and UK employment law. They will also need to be able to work with a range of specialist organisations to ensure each programme strand can be delivered to the breadth of businesses and individuals working across the screen sector. The Programme aims to create a ‘one stop shop’ where businesses and individuals can access key resources, advice, support, and training to strengthen management and HR practices, build more inclusive workplaces, and aid workforce productivity.

The BFI will host an information webinar about the new Fund on Wednesday 7 February 2024, for anyone interested in submitting, or partnering in, an application to deliver the Programme.

The BFI Good Work Programme for Screen responds to the recommendations set out in the Good Work Review commissioned by the DCMS. The first examination of job quality across the creative industries, the Review is based on 40 separate indicators and focuses on issues including fair pay, flexible working, paid overtime and employee representation. The Review set out four key priorities underpinned by 16 recommendations, and the BFI Good Work Programme for Screen responds directly to three of them. The BFI’s Chief Executive Ben Roberts, and Sara Whybrew Chair the Creative Industries Council’s Good Work Review Task and Finish Group, which is working to develop a first phase action plan for the Creative Industries, in response to the Review’s recommendations.

A leading objective of Screen Culture 2033, the BFI’s 10-year strategy, is to foster a skilled UK screen sector workforce that reflects the population. Over the first three years of the strategy (2023-2026), the BFI will award £34.2m of National Lottery funding in skills and workforce development through the BFI Skills Fund (which includes the BFI Good Work Programme for Screen), and the BFI Skills Clusters, plus entry level and education initiatives through BFI Film Academy, Into Film and National Saturday Club. The BFI’s funding for skills complements the broader skills support of the sector developed by industry through the Screen Sectors’ Skills Task Force.

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