The Freelance Charter, published today by the Coalition for Change, marks a major step forward in valuing, respecting, and supporting freelance colleagues who are the lifeblood of the film and TV industry. Freelancers are more than half the UK’s TV and film workforce, and our industry simply couldn’t exist without their creativity, commitment, and passion.
Uniting the industry to make this commitment has been a huge achievement for the founders of the Coalition for Change, passionate and brilliant people who themselves have taken time away from their day jobs to champion change and, ultimately, to deliver action. All of us at The Film and TV Charity would like to express our thanks and congratulations to Adeel Amini, Abby Kumar, and everyone who has worked with them.
Today’s publication is a milestone – and a moment of celebration for so many freelancers who need to feel heard and listened to. At the same time, it’s important to understand the weariness of individuals working in the industry. Our own research tells us that many colleagues experiencing poor mental health or who are being subjected to bullying or harassment are cynical of pledges without meaningful action and so it’s critical that signatories to the charter, both now and in the future, put the processes in place to ensure they can deliver on the commitments they have made, and that they embed those processes into the industry’s DNA.
And it’s also the case that policies without culture change are just paperwork. So there needs to be an equal commitment to changing the culture that creates poor behaviours and harmful working practices. We believe this means that all industry leaders need to demonstrate their clear action to support this cultural shift. To effectively mainstream support to individuals and to regain the trust of a sometimes-embattled workforce, we all have to come together to show and not simply tell people how change is happening.
Ours is a wonderful industry, returning to extraordinary growth and opportunity, and the past year has shown just how adaptable we all are. Let’s make these changes for our freelance workforce real and permanent.
Alex Pumfrey, CEO