HC 743 Support for the creative economy

Supplementary written evidence submitted by PACT [SCE 011a]

Thank you for inviting me to give evidence to your Committee as part of its inquiry into support for the creative economy.

I mentioned a couple of areas in my evidence in which independent producers are supporting training and skills which I thought it might be useful to elaborate on this in more detail in writing.

The Indie Training Fund

The Indie Training Fund (ITF) is charity which supports and delivers training specifically designed for the UK independent TV and digital media production industry, both staff & freelancers.

It was established in 1993 by the independent production sector. The ITF was initially administered by Pact, but it is now a separate non-profit organisation funded solely by voluntary contributions from its member companies.

Members of the Indies Training Fund include AII3Media UK, Baby Cow, Endemol UK, Feelgood Fiction, Flame TV, Fremantle UK, Hartswood, Icon Films, IMG Media UK, Hat Trick, Leopard, Lion, Matchlight, Modern TV, Nine Lives Media, Oxford Film & TV, Shine Group, So TV, Raise the Roof, Red, Tern, True North, Wildfire, Windfall & Zodiak Media UK.

Guided by its an advisory group of member practitioners, the ITF provides subsidised low-cost day and half-day professional training courses in London and around the UK in areas such as production, creative development, cross-platform, diversity, business, financial, legal and people management skills. The ITF also offers advisory services to the sector.

The ITF is a major contributor (with broadcasters) to Creative Skillset's TV Skills Fund which

facilitates and subsidises training for freelancers across our sector.

Apprenticeships

During the Committee meeting, Mr Jim Sheridan asked me if I knew how many apprenticeships there are in the creative sector.

Creative Skillset, which collects information on skills and training in the creative industries, reports that since 2008, 3042 apprentices have taken part in the Creative Skillset and the Creative and Culture Skills (CCSkills) Apprenticeship Frameworks. This number does not include apprenticeships who work for creative companies in jobs other than creative roles, such as office administration.

Relatively few creative businesses offer apprenticeships-less than 1% in 2009. However, with the action which Creative Skillset and others are taking to address this, we anticipate that this number should rise in the coming years.

Below is a list of a number of apprenticeships administered by Creative Skillset since 2008.

Apprenticeship Starts in Creative Skillset footprint with Creative Skillset Frameworks 2008/09 - Current Date

ENGLAND

Total starts to date

Advertising HLA to start recruitment from Jan 2013

0

Photo Imaging

50

Fashion & Textiles

260

Fashion & Textiles HLA to start recruitment from Jan 2013

0

Craft and Technical (film & TV)

15

Creative & Digital Media Advanced (CDM) (L3)

770

CDM HLA in development-recruitment to start in March

2013

0

SCOTLAND

Total starts to date

400 apprenticeships, mainly in fashion and textiles/heritage

textiles with 18 in creative and digital media

400

WALES (SINCE 2010/11)

Total starts to date

All creative and digital media

32

NORTHERN IRELAND (since 2011/12)

Total starts to date

All creative and digital media

15

GRAND TOTAL (Creative Skillset Frameworks combined across the Nation)

1542 starts

The Indie Diversity Scheme

Another way in which independent producers are supporting training in the sector, particularly with regards to diversity, is by working together and with Creative Access to launch an Indie Diversity Scheme.

Recruitment is currently underway for entry-level candidates to begin placements at leading UK indies including Shine Group, AlI3Media, Endemol, Keo Films, Zodiak and Hat Trick early in the new year.

As part of this scheme, successful candidates will be offered training in skills such as production and script-writing and they will each be allocated a mentor to support them in their career development.

I would be happy to keep your Committee updated as to the progress of this scheme as it develops if this would be of interest.

Children's programming

Finally, I mentioned before the Committee the need for additional support for children's programming.

I would like to make a correction to the uncorrected transcript of the session in which I gave evidence and note that Channel 3 continue to have a dedicated children's channel, CITV, which broadcasts content for pre-school and older-aged children. Channel 5 has never had a dedicated children's channel, but rather it broadcasts children's content every morning on the main Channel 5 PSB channel.

We welcome the continued investment by lTV and Channel 5 in children's content. However, I am extremely concerned about the rapid decline in investment in children's programming by the PSBs in recent years. In 2006, the combined spend of the commercial PSBs on children's programming was £46m. In 2011, this had fallen to just £3m.

Last year, the BBC (at £99m) accounted for 97% of total PSB network spend on children's content. While we welcome the BBC's significant investment in this genre, we are concerned that it has become a monopoly buyer in the children's TV market.

Furthermore, we understand that the BBC is under increasing pressure to cut costs in every area as a result of the most recent licence-fee settlement. A reduction in BBC spend on children's programming would have a catastrophic effect on UK indigenous children's television output, thus preventing younger audiences from accessing the same range and diversity of output as older television viewers.

As I mentioned in my evidence to your Committee, Ofcom does not have the powers to require the PSBs to invest in children's content. For this reason, I outlined the potential benefits of extending the proposed tax credit for animation to include all children's programming, thus securing long-term investment for this important genre in years to come.

If I can be of any further assistance in providing further information about any of the issues raised in my evidence, please do not hesitate to contact me.

December 2012

Prepared 11th January 2013