This update covers our recruitment processes and demographic data, and the establishing of a FEDS co-creation committee and Screening Days Advisory Group.
Changing our recruitment processes
In April 2021 in consultation with our freelance HR Advisor we created a new recruitment pack for our Marketing and Communications Manager – Maternity Cover vacancy in order to try and make the process of applying for a position at the ICO as transparent and fair as possible. The recruitment pack included a job advert with a new statement about our commitment to being an equal opportunity employer:
“At the Independent Cinema Office we are an equal opportunity employer and we believe that a diverse workforce leads to an organisation that is more creative, innovative and gets better results, we want our workforce to represent the diversity of the people and communities in the UK and we want to see these reflected on our screens. We also want our workforce to be one where different experiences, expertise and perspectives are valued and where everyone is encouraged to grow and develop. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian, ethnically diverse, and disabled candidates as they are underrepresented within the ICO.”
The document also gave information on how the recruitment process works to ensure people are aware before applying of what is involved in the process, what will be asked of them, how applicants will be shortlisted, what feedback they will receive and the timelines we are working to.
We created a revised job description focusing on transferable skills and competencies rather than sector-based experience and we removed the requirement for a university degree. We also created a revised application form, removing barriers and requests for information that might be discriminatory; for example, the year qualifications were taken and previous salaries. We provided a point of contact for applicants to email if they had questions about the role or application process, and clearly stated that we were looking for different types of experience:
“If you have any questions about the job role or the application process, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to help. If your experience looks a little different from what we’ve identified, but you still think you’d be great at the role, please get in touch to discuss. Many of us employed at the ICO don’t come from a film background; please don’t be put off from applying because you don’t have experience in the sector.”
We researched new recruitment sites to advertise the roles to reach a wider pool of candidates including inclusivehires.com and diversifying.io. We publicised the pay scales of all jobs at the ICO in the recruitment pack (as well as in the internal ICO staff handbook). We operated a ‘name anonymous’ recruitment process, which means applicants’ names and personal details are not visible to the recruitment panel in the shortlisting process.
Establishing the FEDS Co-Creation Committee
The ICO’s FEDS training programme has been running successfully since 2015, recruiting ambitious trainees from groups currently underrepresented in the UK film industry and providing them with paid work experience in the film exhibition sector alongside career coaching, networking opportunities and industry training sessions. The vast majority of our trainees stay working in the sector, and alongside providing longer-term support to the alumni group we have been keen to evolve the model for the scheme.
In March 2021 we established the FEDS Co-creation Committee in recognition that we would like to actively involve the alumni group in the strategic decisions that will shape the future direction of the programme. We want to embrace a more nuanced approach to evaluating the trainee experience, industry working practices and attitudes in the wider sector, with a view to supporting lasting change and positive impact.
In December 2020 and March 2021 we hosted our first Virtual Screening Days events. We committed to showing at least 30% of films from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse creative teams at Screening Days and met this target at both events with 50% of features at the December event and 30% at our March event.
In May 2021, we finalised recruitment for our first Screening Days advisory group to bring wider and non-ICO perspectives into planning for our specialised events: ID (Inclusion & Diversity), Young Audiences and Archive Screening Days. The advisory group is made up of three people who will work on the events for a year before passing the work to a new group. It is a paid opportunity. For this first iteration, we recruited writer and organiser So Mayer (Raising Films, Club des Femmes), film curator and programmer Jonathan Ali (The Twelve30 Collective) and Cinema Access Coordinator Midnight Memphis (Beacon Films). As well as working with them to plan specialised events, we created a Google Form so people can if they wish send anonymous feedback to the advisory group rather than to ICO staff.
Updating demographic data for our current staff and Board of Trustees
In May 2021 we surveyed our staff and Board of Trustees for their demographic data again. The information can be downloaded here.