Jen Smith becomes CEO of bullying and harassment prevention organization

The BFI’s Director of Culture and Inclusion Jen Smith has been seconded to become interim CEO of the Independent Standards Authority (ISA).

The ISA is a new organization led by Creative UK and UK Time’s Up, aiming to increase efforts to combat bullying and harassment.

Time’s Up UK developed the ISA in consultation with the creative industries, led by Caroline Norbury, Managing Director of Creative UK. It aims to ensure that people who experience bullying and harassment while working in the creative industries can receive confidential advice, mediation and, crucially, an investigation into the most serious and complex complaints.

The basis for this work was initiated by the BFI, led by Smith, in partnership with BAFTA and UK Time’s Up, to bring the film and television industry together in 2017 to develop guidelines and policies to tackle bullying and harassment, which were launched in 2018.

The initiative is supported by UK broadcasters BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV and Sky.

Smith is temporarily joining the ISA to formalize the ISA’s mission and structure, finalize funding arrangements and key milestones ahead of its official launch in 2024. It will also seek to broaden the scope of the ISA’s existence for those involved in music, theatre, fashion and advertising.

Smith said: “The creative industries have failed for too long to provide people with an independent place to report experiences of misconduct, bullying and harassment. The establishment of the ISA will transformatively help to close this gap. The ISA will have the authority to direct investigations and will do so without fear or favoritism.

Our vision for the ISA is that it is a truly intersectional organization providing support and expertise to people facing these issues. We know we stand on the shoulders of many who have made significant efforts to drive positive change and improve our workplace culture. We will continue to build on this bold leadership to ensure that working in the creative industries in the UK becomes the safest place for our talented workforce to thrive.”

Ben Roberts, CEO of BFI, said: “Jen has been a driving force in our inclusion work over the past five years, effectively navigating the complexities of the display industry to support our organization and the wider industry to take meaningful steps to become more inclusive and representative to become . Her collaborative approach and dedication to bringing partners has led to many achievements, not least in leading the development of anti-bullying and harassment work with BAFTA. Of course, she is perfectly positioned to formalize the ISA’s role and mission, which has the potential to be game-changer in tackling unacceptable behavior in our industry.”

Heather Rabbatts, Chair of UK Time’s Up, said: “We all recognize that there is more to do and that we need to build on the extensive work of so many. The issue of bullying and harassment is present in culture across the creative industries, and indeed recent commentary on shows celebrating toxic behavior underscores once again the importance of being clear about what is and is not acceptable.”

Norbury added: “The creative industries community is committed to tackling bullying and harassment – we’re proud to produce some of the most amazing content, entertainment, fashion and music in the world, but we must also be proud of the way how we do this. With Jen on board to help us bring inclusivity and diversity to the forefront of work practices in the creative industries, we have taken a positive step towards that goal.” Jen Smith becomes CEO of bullying and harassment prevention organization

Charles Jones

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