Britain will launch a new independent standards body to help tackle bullying and harassment in the creative industries, which will be ready from next year, Lucy Frazer, the UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said announced on Friday.
The body, the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA), is intended to provide an authority where concerns about conduct can be raised and investigated confidentially. Frazer said the CIISA will be operational and ready to hear cases from next year.
The CIISA will bring together stakeholders from the UK film, television, music and theater sectors. Several well-known British creatives, including actors Keira Knightley, Stephen Graham, Sule Remi, Ruth Wilson, Varada Sethu and Naomie Harris, singer Rebecca Ferguson, Chariots of fire director David Puttnam and Bond producer Barbara Broccoli joined Frazer in support of the new independent authority.
“I can’t tell you how many times over the last twenty years of my career in this industry I wish I had an objective external body to whom I could go for advice, where I could go for mediation and where I could go for help. In very extreme circumstances, you need to consider that you may need an outside agency to hold people accountable for the bad behavior or practices that sometimes occur on our sets,” Wilson said. “We need it and it will be invaluable, and I know it will become the blueprint around the world for creative industries around the world because there is no such thing as CIISA at the moment.”
“There is an opportunity to change the way creatives are treated in our country; By supporting this you are writing history,” said Ferguson. “By supporting CIISA you will make our sector safer and have a very positive impact on people’s lives.”
All UK broadcasters are backing the new authority, with BBC Director General Tim Davie calling CIISA “a force for good for the whole industry”. We must all do everything we can to create an industry where everyone feels completely safe to do their best work.”
The CIISA has been in preparation for several years. Time’s Up UK established the independent standards authority in 2021 in the wake of several sexual misconduct and bullying scandals within the UK industry, and initiated and provided funding for the body, with former BFI director Jen Smith as interim CEO. But efforts to make the CIISA a reality have taken on new urgency with recent allegations against British comedian and actor Russell Brand. From a joint study by The times, The Sunday times And Channel 4 messagesFour women came forward with allegations of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse against Brand between 2006 and 2013, all of which he has denied.
“The CIISA has one clear purpose: to make the creative industries a safer working environment for our talented colleagues who make the film, TV, music and theater we all love and enjoy,” said Smith. “There is overwhelming evidence for the need for CIISA and bringing collective responsibility to our sector. The sooner others join us, the sooner we will have an independent body supporting the entire creative industries ecosystem.”
Frazer added: “We want to maximize the potential of our creative industries to create growth and jobs across the country. Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy a creative career while feeling safe and working in a professional environment. It is important that the industry comes together to tackle bullying, harassment and discrimination so that the UK’s creative industries remain among the best in the world to be a part of.”
To promote the CIISA, the group, together with Ridley Scott Associates and editor Steph McAuley, produced two short films featuring testimonials from British talent in support of the new authority.