Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has held discussions with television production companies on mental health support for reality television (a) contestants and (b) production staff.
The government has been clear that all broadcasters and production companies have a responsibility to the mental health and wellbeing of both participants and viewers, and must ensure that they have appropriate levels of support in place.
It is an employer's duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of all their employees and other people who might be affected by their work activities. In 2019, following a rise in complaints about the mental health and wellbeing of programme participants, Ofcom launched a review of their protections for people who appear on television. New Ofcom rules to protect the wellbeing of people who appear on television have now been in place since 5 April 2021.
In addition, the government is keen that the creative industries maintain momentum in improving working practices. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) hosted a creative industries-wide roundtable on welfare issues in June 2021, at which a number of factors were identified as contributing towards instances of bullying, harassment and discrimination (BHD) in the creative industries. Work on the BHD agenda has been led by Creative UK and has resulted in industry establishing the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA) to address these issues. It is well supported by the Broadcast TV sector, who provided seed funding for the CIISA. Further information about the scope and work of the CIISA can be found on their website.
Additionally, work is being done to improve job quality for all those working in the creative industries. The Good Work Review, published in February 2023 by the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, was co-funded by DCMS and is the first sectoral deep dive of its kind into job quality and working practice in the creative industries. As part of the Creative Industries Sector Vision the government has committed, together with industry, to set out an action plan to assess the recommendations of this review.