[2018] ** Motion 04 Local casting

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On-screen talent is currently excluded from the regulator Ofcom’s criteria for a television production to qualify under its regional production guidance. “Regional” includes productions that are currently badged as being produced in one of the UK’s nations.

The intention of the Ofcom regional production guidance, which arose from the Communications Act 2003 is to ”support and strengthen the nations’ and regions’ production sector”. Congress agrees with this intention and believes that the performing workforce is as crucial to a strong production sector as other personnel and inputs involved in productions.

Film and television production is heavily concentrated in London and the South East of England. Performers based in the UK’s nations and regions often struggle to find enough opportunities to sustain a career, particularly those from working class backgrounds. The rising cost of living in London, combined with housing shortages in the capital and welfare cuts have also led to a decline in the physical and social mobility of the performer workforce.

Recruitment practices in the performing arts are often built around personal relationships, subjective judgements and networking. Congress believes that all stakeholders in the industry need to do more to ensure that due consideration is given to talent based in the community or region in which a production is made or set.

Congress therefore calls on Ofcom to work with unions to come up with an appropriate inclusion of on-screen talent through a revision of its regional production guidance.