PPL response to the Black Music Coalition’s five calls to action for the UK music industry

There is always more that can be done, and we know we can and must improve further. In that context, we welcome the five calls to action for the UK music industry from the recent open letter signed by the Black Music Coalition. We have set out below, in relation to these five areas specifically, a summary of PPL’s current actions and our commitments to do more.

  1. “Mandatory anti-racism/unconscious bias training across each respective company for all non-black members of staff, led by black educators in the field, and complimentary counselling and holistic services made available for black members of staff with immediate effect.”

We recognise the important role that training can play to support raising awareness and changing behaviour.  We already provide annual mandatory training for all PPL employees which covers unconscious bias, together with PPL’s policies on equal opportunities, anti-discrimination and anti-harassment, and keep this under regular review.  We also provide specific diversity training to managers when recruiting.  Counselling is available to all of our employees through the Employee Assistance programme we offer.

We are committing to review our training programme further, to identify opportunities for involving black educators directly in designing, developing and implementing this.

  1. “For each company to commit a specified annual budget to financially support black organisations, educational projects and charities across the UK, e.g. The Black Curriculum.”

PPL currently provides funding, sponsorship or other support to a number of UK organisations, projects and charities whose activities are inclusive of the black community,  including the PRS Foundation, the BRIT School, Small Green Shoots, The Cat’s Mother and many others.  However, we acknowledge that we do not currently have direct relationships with dedicated black organisations, educational projects or charities and we are very open to extending our financial support to include them. We are committing that, over the coming months, we will actively seek to identify where our support could best be offered in this way.

  1. “Career development implemented for black staff across all business areas, including long standing consultants, in order to develop the next generation of leaders. To address, challenge and change the lack of black staff at senior management level and no black female presidents/chairwomen across the industry.”

The steps we take to ensure equality and diversity in the career development opportunities for our existing employees include benchmarking salaries, moderating performance ratings and, alongside annual development planning for all employees, running a more formal career development scheme (our Management Excellence programme).  We are committing to ensuring that there is appropriate representation of our black employees on that scheme, and we will keep our overall approach to career development under review.

We are also committing to introduce a formal mentoring programme for our employees in 2020 and our black employees will be an important focus for this programme.  Our vision is to have mentors not just from within PPL but also from the wider industry, and from the outset we will be seeking mentors from the black community.

Whilst we will look at the career development opportunities for our black employees at all levels of management, we recognise in particular that the lack of black executives at senior management and board level at PPL needs to change.  We are committed to addressing this and we are actively exploring ways of doing so.

Looking further to the future, with a view to opening doors for young people from diverse backgrounds at the start of their careers, we partner with organisations like Small Green Shoots by meeting with and providing work placements for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. We have also taken on a number of apprentices over the past few years and operate an internships programme.  Such initiatives can help foster a more diverse talent pool to develop the leaders of tomorrow, and we are committing to exploring these and similar opportunities further, with a focus on the black community.

  1. “Following statements from major labels and management companies, the term ‘urban music’ is to be removed from your company verbiage and replaced with ‘black music’.”

The term ‘urban music’ is not one that PPL uses. We will however cover this as part of our training programmes, to help educate employees on why the term should not be used.

  1. “Establish a dedicated internal taskforce to review, and with the remit to drive and challenge, both the equality and diversity aims within your business structure, and the advancement of black executives across your business, including equal pay, mentorship and career progression.”

Later this month, PPL is launching an internal Diversity Forum to drive forward its equality, diversity and inclusivity agenda. Chaired by our CEO and fully supported by our Executive Management Team, we intend this forum to comprise PPL employees from all levels of the company, with an open remit to suggest ideas for change and to challenge existing processes and structure. This will include looking at all aspects of career advancement for our black employees, and we will actively encourage and ensure that our black employees are appropriately represented on this forum.