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We are delighted here at The Talent Manager to have our work recognised by such eminent diversity champions such as Simon Albury, Marcus Ryder and Pat Younge. 

On Oct 11th 2020 Simon Albury, Chair of the Campaign for Broadcasting Equality wrote:

Last week, I saw some action. I’d published a blog. It said I’d found the grail – The Talent Manager, a diversity search engine which provides diversity reporting to companies, Unconscious Bias functionality to anonymise recruitment and a functionality to facilitate Job Sharing and Flexible Working. I’d seen it work.

But I wasn’t happy. I’d discuss it with a former BBC executive, now with budgets and influence in another organisation. This exec criticised The Talent Manager on the sole grounds that it was developed commercially. My blog suggested this reflected a continuing ethos which sees a unique purity bestowed by virtue of licence fee expenditure. “BBC types hate it when a commercial venture gets there first. There is a long history of the BBC seeking to duplicate what the commercial sector innovates.” I suspected what I’d heard reflected BBC thinking.

The blog got great reactions, confirming the value of The Talent Manager. 

Pat Younge, Managing Director. Cardiff Films and Former Chief Creative Officer, BBC said

“Totally agree and use it all the time. I get concerned when I hear broadcasters thinking of ‘building their own’ when there’s a perfectly good solution already available. Why waste time or money. Plus this diversity database sits outside the paid product, so it’s open to all.”

Laura Mansfield, Managing Director Outline Productions, said,

“Beauty of The Talent Manager database is that it exists as industry go- to already- now with added simple effective diversity tools. Makes looking for diverse talent exactly what it should be – no-brainer. Am v impressed with Tim Davie clarity of comms so far – now action!”

Laura Marshal, CEO of Icon Films and Wildscreen Festival chair, said:

“Using the Talent Manager database with its diversity toolkit is an essential part of Icon Films’s recruitment protocols. Let’s build on this rather than create new tools that take more time, focus brings results.”

Marcus Ryder MBE, Chair of Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity, said

  1. By creating a separate “diversity” database hiring managers will go to the “normal” database first and then go to the “special” database to fill their diversity quotas, which is why it might be best to integrate the databases.
  2. The BBC and PSBs do not have a great track record in creating efficient diversity tools (think current controversy over Diamond). So, the fear is they will undermine existing tools but replacing them with an inferior effectively state sponsored alternative.

Best of all

Others responded positively in private. The best of all came from June Sarpong who told me the BBC was aware of The Talent Manager and was already setting up a meeting with them. It is clear the BBC is no longer the sluggish organisation of old and with “cc Tim Davie”, it is clear she is confident of the Director General’s support on this.

Now, someone I trust says they’ve had contact with Tim Davie and he responds quickly and decisively on diversity issues.

Leadership

The BBC has long lagged behind Channel 5, Sky and Channel 4 on diversity numbers and effective action. When it gets behind The Talent Manager and brings the rest of the industry along, the BBC might for the first time be able to claim the supreme diversity leadership role it has dodged for so long – but only if it can also deliver a less toxic internal culture.

For twenty years, I have been proved right in never giving the BBC the benefit of the doubt. Now I’m prepared to eat my words. Last week I ended with a Martin Luther King quote. Today I am ending with a different MLK quote:

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

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