Channel 4 has released guidelines on how to work with disabled talent on and off the screen in the hope the entertainment business will become more accessible for those working in the sector.
The initative suggests providing an access rider for talent, an access plan to introduce any additional adjustments which should be put into place and an access statement for sets.
Three booklets have been made available to advise production companies on how they make the workplace more accessible, ensure disabled people can thrive in the industry and how their business can be more inclusive.
In a statement Channel 4’s chief executive Alex Mahon said: “Disability has been left behind, it isn’t talked about enough and it has now become a real problem in our industry. Our job at Channel 4 is to help change it.
“People have rights to go and get jobs, this is not a favour, it’s not charity, it’s about thinking about where there are skills in our industry which we’re not accessing.”
Channel 4’s chief content officer Ian Katz added: “These guidelines offer simple, often easily implemented, suggestions which we believe can make a real difference for on and off-screen disabled talent on all our productions. After a Paralympic year which has highlighted Channel 4’s commitment to disabled representation, we want to maintain the momentum by driving the changes needed to create a truly inclusive industry, open to the widest possible pool of talent.”
Ally Castle, Channel 4’s disability lead in the Creative Diversity Team, said: “It is time to celebrate the wealth of fantastic disabled talent we have in our industry and to make adjustments to ensure they are truly included. These guides will help answer common questions and offer practical solutions. We need to start looking at our working environments and practices, as well as our attitudes and assumptions around disability, through a different lens and see how these create barriers to a more inclusive space for everyone. By making often small changes employers usually find they’ve shaped a better working, creative environment which is appreciated by all employees.”
Channel 4 took a number of recommendations from pressure group Underlying Health Condition (UHC) founded by acclaimed writer Jack Thorne, production manager Katie Player and producer Holly Luban.
In 2010, Channel 4 extended service into Wales and became a UK-wide television channel.
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