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ITV has outlined a five-stage action plan to improve its on-screen representation of disability and help it hit its target for disabled staff.

The broadcaster is to devote the second year of its Diversity Acceleration Plan to achieve its goal of staff with a disability or long-term health condition to make up 12% of its workforce by the end of 2022. At the end of 2020, this stood at 11%, up from 7% a year previously.

ITV has pledged to focus on:

  • Increasing representation of disabled people in senior editorial positions
  • Commissioning to ensure ITV better reflects the lives of disabled people on-screen
  • Improving the career opportunities for disabled talent working on ITV programmes
  • Ensuring disabled people have entry level career opportunities at ITV
  • Educating itself about disability and disabled people’s experiences and ensuring accessibility is in-built into everything it does

The broadcaster recently cast its first disabled contestant on ITV2's Love Island - Hugo Hammond, who was born with a club foot.

The shift in focus comes as ITV publishes details of the impact of the first year of the Diversity Acceleration Plan, which primarily sought to tackle BAME representation.

While non-white individuals accounted for 26% of 2,886 lead roles in the year to July 2020, up from 21% year-on-year and well ahead of its 15%, off-screen progress was slower. As of December 2020, non-white staff comprised 12.9% of the workforce – up from 12% but still short of the 15% target it has set for the end of next year. ITV said 2020’s figures were affected by a slowdown in recruitment during the pandemic.

One bright spot was the Step Up 60 initiative, which created 62 roles in senior production for under-represented groups, including senior producers, directors and producer/directors on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and The Voice UK.

Meanwhile, 26% of participants in its ITV Rise initiative, which helps BAME staff work towards their first line management role, had moved into more senior roles in the first year of the scheme.

Ade Rawcliffe became ITV’s first group diversity and inclusion director last summer and the broadcaster said it would soon detail the members of its Cultural Diversity Panel of external advisers who will challenge and counsel the broadcaster on its diversity initiatives.

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