The BBC is appointing a new board – and it only has three women

Diversity promises are not being realised at the top

Image: Stuart Pinfold

The BBC yesterday announced five non-executive appointments to its new board, bringing the total membership to 12.

Unfortunately, despite the corporation’s repeated promises to increase its diversity and representation, the board currently includes just three women — Tanni Grey-Thompson, Anne Bulford and Ashley Steel — and one BME member — Tom Ilube.

David Clementi, Chairman of the BBC, does not seem to have noticed the oversight, commenting that he is ‘delighted to have been able to put together such a talented board with a broad range of skills and experience.’

The broadcaster has repeatedly come under fire for failing to represent the British population, either in hiring or broadcasts. Although a new diversity strategy was launched just under a year ago, it was criticised as not going far enough, with accusations that ‘spin [had] triumphed over substance.’

As recently as October, Ofcom chief Sharon White warned that ‘on minority communities, older women, it is not doing as good a job as it should be.’

The new board has been established as part of a significant shift in BBC governance. It replaces the BBC Trust and will play a similar role to the board of a commercial company, focusing on strategy and oversight.

While the make-up of the board will disappoint many, it may contain the seeds of its own redemption. Grey-Thompson, a former paralympian and member of the House of Lords, has been an outspoken advocate of greater diversity in the BBC — previously calling for executives who hinder change to be sacked.

Two more board members — representing Wales and Northern Ireland — have yet to be appointed.

Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin is editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter.

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2 Responses to “The BBC is appointing a new board – and it only has three women”

  1. David Lindsay

    What about political diversity? Although, despite several assurances, this does not seem to have made it into print anywhere, it is a matter of record, and it will be pursued:

    Dear Sir,

    As the proprietor of the whole of Sky, Rupert Murdoch might do some good. We represent positions that the BBC simply ignores.

    The workers, and not the liberal bourgeoisie, as the key swing voters. Identity issues located within the struggle for economic equality and for international peace. The leading role in the defence of universal public services of those who would otherwise lack basic amenities, and in the promotion of peace of those who would be the first to be called upon to die in wars. The decision of the EU referendum by areas that vote Labour, Liberal Democrat or Plaid Cymru.

    Opposition from the start to the failed programme of economic austerity. Against all Governments since 1997, opposition to the privatisation of the NHS and other public services, to the persecution of the disabled, to the assault on civil liberties, to every British military intervention during that period, to Britain’s immoral and one-sided relationship with Saudi Arabia, and to the demonisation of Russia.

    Rejection of any approach to climate change which would threaten jobs, workers’ rights, the right to have children, travel opportunities, or universal access to a full diet. Rescue of issues such as male suicide, men’s health, and fathers’ rights from those whose economic and other policies have caused the problems. And refusal to recognise racists, Fascists or opportunists as the authentic voices of the accepted need to control immigration.

    We respectfully request that Mr Murdoch identify and include representatives of the traditions in which we stand.

    Yours faithfully,

    David Lindsay, 2017 council candidate and 2020 parliamentary candidate, Lanchester, County Durham; @davidaslindsay
    Sean Caden, Leeds; @HUNSLETWHITE
    Ronan Dodds, Newcastle upon Tyne, @RonanDodds
    James Draper, Lanchester, County Durham
    Nicholas Hayes, Durham; @Nicholas_Sho
    Connor Hodgson-Brunniche, Cramlington, Northumberland; @Randomaited
    Krystyna Koseda, Essex; @kossy65
    John Mooney, Lurgan, County Armagh
    Aren Pym, West Cornforth, County Durham; @arenpym
    Gavin Thompson, Newcastle upon Tyne; @GavinLThompson
    <bMatt Turner, Nottingham; @MattTurner4L
    Adam Young, Burnopfield, County Durham; @JustALocalSerf

  2. john

    Quite a silly article…the appointment of James Purnell, without any selection process, and his current rise to major boss and probable top boss end position, indicates that the BBC is as corrupt and set up as any club…all noises about diversity and inclusion are just that…noises and window dressing…It is a Labour problem…calling things out when things go wrong ie being so tied into systems and the maintenence of them…the Labour party is silent on overt corruption…

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