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The Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority to go live next year

The Secretary of State for DCMS, British talent, the film, music, theatre sectors and all UK broadcasters commit to the creation of the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority, CIISA, to help prevent and tackle bullying and harassment, ready to take cases in 2024

Friday 29 September 2023, London: The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer MP, British talent, including Dame Heather Rabbatts, Barbara Broccoli, Rebecca Ferguson, Stephen Graham, Keira Knightley, Lord Puttnam, Sule Rimi, Varada Sethu and Ruth Wilson, together with all UK broadcasters, have now joined the music and theatre sectors committing to the creation of the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority, CIISA, to help prevent and tackle bullying and harassment, ready to take cases in 2024.


TIME’S UP UK, which has campaigned to improve standards of behaviour across film and TV over these last five years, called for the creation of an independent standards authority back in 2021. Since then TIME’S UP UK has spearheaded this initiative supported by the creative industries round table set up by Creative UK and the then Secretary of State, in the wake of yet further media stories about abuse in the industry. The proposed CIISA will initially cover film, television, music and theatre. To date all of the key stakeholders within these sectors have and are continuing to support this crucial intervention.

Ruth Wilson says, “I can’t tell you how many times in the last 20 years of my career in this industry that I would have loved to have an objective outside body that I could go to for advice, that I could go to for mediation and I could go to, in the very extreme circumstances, that you might need some outside body to hold people accountable for the bad behaviour or bad practices that sometimes happen on our sets. I think it’s the next step. Please support it. We need it and it will be invaluable, and I know it will become the blueprint across the globe for creative industries throughout the world, because there is no such thing at the moment like CIISA.”

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer MP, says, “We want to maximise 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’s important that industry comes together to tackle bullying, harassment and discrimination, so Britain’s creative sectors remain some of the best in the world to be a part of.”

Jen Smith, interim CEO, CIISA, says, “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 theatre that we all love and enjoy. Leading organisations and industry figures are demonstrating their visible commitment to a safer working environment too, by supporting CIISA and championing us by name. There is overwhelming evidence for the need for CIISA and bringing collective accountability to our sector, and the more quickly others join us, the more quickly we will have an independent body in place to support the whole ecosystem of the creative industries. We look forward to this final phase of development being ably supported by PA Consulting, who are the leading global experts in establishing new organisations of this nature.”


Tim Davie, Director General, BBC, says, “CIISA will be a force for good across the entire industry. We all need to do everything we can to create an industry where everyone feels totally safe to do their best work. That’s why the BBC is actively working with others to support its development.”

Alex Mahon, Chief Executive, Channel 4, says, “We believe that CIISA could play a really significant role in leading cultural change in the media industries. Channel 4 has a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, harassment and unacceptable behaviour, and we want everyone who experiences or witnesses it to feel empowered to call it out, so we can stamp it out. Together with our robust Code of Conduct for staff and suppliers, and Speak Up facility, we welcome the ongoing development of this initiative as it builds towards launch, to ensure that the creative industries have safe, inclusive and professional working environments in which careers can flourish.”

Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive, ITV, says, “ITV is committed to ensuring that everyone we work with has a safe and positive experience. The creation of CIISA will help ensure that the expected conduct and standard of behaviour across the creative industry is clear, consistent and applied rigorously. ITV will support this in every way possible.”

Maria Kyriacou, President, Broadcast & Studios for International Markets at Paramount, says, “We are focused on ensuring that our Channel 5 productions are safe and welcoming for all those who work on them, where bullying and harassment is not tolerated. We have already put in place significant measures over recent years to address this issue, and we are pleased to now be working alongside the wider creative industries to support the formation of the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority.”

Stephen van Rooyen, Chief Executive Officer, UK & Ireland, and Group Chief Commercial Officer, Sky, says, “Making sure our talented creative workforce are kept safe is a top priority. Alongside our existing robust processes at Sky, we know that this new, world-first, independent authority will drive positive change.”

Rebecca Ferguson, singer/songwriter, says, “There is an opportunity to change the way creatives are treated in our country; by supporting this you are making history. CIISA is a monumental step: they will support future creatives, which could include your children, grandchildren or family members. By supporting CIISA you are making our industry safer and impacting people’s lives in a very positive way.”

Stephen Graham, actor (Matilda the Musical, Peaky Blinders, Boiling Point), says, “Everyone can be susceptible to it, from directors to writers, actors, crew members and most importantly runners. There is kind of a pyramid structure within our industry, and I think it needs addressing. We need to try and take as much action as we can. And I think it’s about time that times really change. I think we need to eradicate bullying from our industry. And I for one, am a strong advocate and follower of that. So please, let’s all pull together and eradicate this from our industry because without any piece of the jigsaw, it doesn’t work. So, you know, let’s all go to work with a smile on our faces and let’s all love being there. Thank you very much.”

Naomie Harris, actor (Moonlight, No Time to Die, Skyfall), says, “As freelancers we are a borderless community, so a single point of accountability is essential. No-one should go to work fearful of harassment, bullying and abuse. For anyone to have their voice and reach their full potential, where we work must be safe and respectful. I believe CIISA is an important step in helping to achieve this.”

Sule Remi, actor (Andor, The English, Manhunt), says, “It’s really horrible witnessing bullying on set, but unfortunately it does happen on all levels of our industry; people behave appallingly and that can have devastating effects, not just on the person that it’s targeted towards, but also on the people around them. Basically, creative spaces should be safe, for all of us. That’s not too much to ask, is it?”

Varada Sethu, actor (Jurassic World Dominion, Andor, Now You See Me 2), says, “I think our industry has a lot of power imbalances, which exacerbates the problems, and it can be very confusing, and scary, and very difficult to know who to look to for advice, who to report to even, on certain jobs. CIISA being a singular and centralised entity would also mean that it’s easy for us to monitor repeat offenders or patterns of behaviour over multiple productions, which I think is a real issue. Everybody deserves a safe workplace. Everybody deserves to go to work and not have to live in fear.”

Lord Puttnam, film director and Chair, Atticus Education, says: “Everyone deserves a workplace in which they can feel safe and thrive. The proposal for a Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority is a significant and essential intervention to help us achieve that… CIISA is a great example of a UK innovation that should become a model to inspire global change for the betterment of all of us.”



The two short CIISA films have been made with thanks to Ridley Scott Associates

Editor Steph McAuley


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