BBC executives praised for ditching £350,000 bonuses after failing to meet diversity targets

Diversity experts have applauded the decision by BBC executives to forgo their bonuses collectively worth £350,000, after the broadcaster failed to meet its diversity targets.

The corporation set itself stringent targets in 2004 of increasing the percentage of black and minority ethnic staff to 12.5% and 7% at senior management level, to be met by 31 December 2007.

It said that while progress had been made, it would not meet some specific commitments on workforce numbers.

Sally Humpage, employee relations and diversity adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said the BBC directors had taken a “positive step” that other organisations could learn from.

“This bold step sends out a message to the rest of the company that everyone is responsible,” she said. “Organisations need to set out objectives on diversity and then measure performance around those objectives. The BBC has taken a strong lead where others can follow.”

Atul Shah, chief executive of consultancy Diverse Ethics, and an adviser to the BBC, said the executives’ action was laudable.

“Commercial business leaders rarely sacrifice bonuses under any circumstances and their remuneration is much higher than that of the BBC executive directors,” he said.

But Luke Crawley, assistant general secretary at broadcast union Bectu, said the BBC should go further.

He said: “This is a positive and strong message it is sending out, but it would do no harm for this action to cascade further down the management board.”

Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, who set up a diversity leadership council at the corporation in 2005, is still set to receive a bonus as determined by the remuneration committee of the BBC Trust.

This story was first published by Personnel Today