Driving equality, diversity and inclusion within PPL
Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) has long been an area of focus for PPL. However, on 2 June this year, PPL stood with the industry to observe Blackout Tuesday and made a pledge to do more, and to do better, to drive further change in relation to EDI both within its own organisation and the wider industry. This article serves as an update to our members on the steps we have taken since then to drive further positive change.
At the centre of PPL’s current approach is an internal Diversity Forum, which has the remit to suggest ideas and ensure that processes and opportunities are transparent and can be challenged where the Diversity Forum believes that improvements can be made. Within the space of only a few months, the Forum has already started to have an impact on our approach to EDI. Its output includes work on the creation of a Diversity Hub for employees, which will share resources and information to support the education of staff on EDI matters; the introduction of a scheme where £20 is made available to each staff member to facilitate the purchase of educational materials on the subject of equality and diversity; and the introduction of a support group for our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic employees.
With the support of colleagues across the company, the Diversity Forum collaborated on a programme of events marking Black History Month in October, which sought to educate employees on diversity issues as well as cultural customs and history. The month also provided an opportunity for staff members and industry professionals to share their favourite works of culture by Black creators and, every Friday throughout the month, we hosted Listening Parties to listen to and discuss albums made by Lauryn Hill, Marvin Gaye, Alicia Keys, Dave, and Burna Boy.
We are also reviewing our approach to recruitment, which includes the use of nameless CVs and exploring alternative “CV free” recruitment initiatives, both with the view of minimising the impact of unconscious bias in the recruitment process. Elsewhere, we have begun a process of reviewing our programme of EDI training, including specific training on Unconscious Bias, and have recently introduced Mental Health First Aiders from a range of backgrounds to ensure those who need support have access to it.
Outside of PPL, we have been working with charities that focus on the development of young people and their access to the music industry. In recent weeks we have announced a collaboration with The Cat’s Mother to support aspiring young women aged 18-25 from low income backgrounds to help guide their career journeys. We continue to work with other charities and initiatives including Small Green Shoots, Girls I Rate, and The Ultimate Seminar to support the future professionals of our industry from a range of diverse backgrounds.
October saw the launch of UK Music’s Diversity Report for 2020, which PPL was delighted to support. As part of the announcement, we signed up to the goals set out in the Ten Point Plan to boost diversity, including the commitment to stop using the acronym “BAME” or the classification of “urban” as a music genre, the implementation of a programme to boost diversity in middle and senior management, and the drive to increase diversity on our Boards. At the PPL Annual General Meeting (AGM) in September, Soriya Clayton (Demon Music Group) and Charlotte Saxe (Warner Music UK) were elected as PPL Board directors whilst Joy Ellington (VP Records), who joined the board as a director in July after Roger Armstrong (Ace Records) stepped down, was re-elected along with Peter Leathem. At the PPL Annual Performer Meeting in November, we welcomed Jackie Davidson MBE and Peter Thoms to the PPL Main and Performer Boards.