Back From The Brink
Back From The Brink is a scoping study from Raising Films, supported by the BFI using funds from the National Lottery, addressing the impacts of COVID-19 reported by parents and carers working in the UK screen sector.
Between November and December 2020, Dr. Ania Ostrowska, commissioned by Raising Films, undertook qualitative semi-structured interviews via Zoom, and then anonymised, coded and themed the data. Respondents were drawn from the participants that took part in the digital iteration of Raising Films’ personal and professional development programme Making It Possible in autumn 2020 (supported by ScreenSkills).
As with Raising Films’ previous interventions Making It Possible, Raising Our Game and We Need To Talk About Caring the findings from Back From The Brink will be used to inform, educate and provoke change.
“This is a fascinating, if concerning, paper. It is so timely and makes a compelling case for a larger study that could build on its recommendations about what good things we can take from this time (flexible working patterns, accessible platforms) as well as how to avoid women and carers bearing the brunt of the ongoing consequences of this pandemic.”
From a total number of 36 people who participated in Making It Possible 2020 (our online training programme) 11 participants were selected to take part in this scoping study. The aim in selecting this cohort was to be as representative as possible of nations and regions, screen sector roles, career seniority, and parent/carer status.
The NEGATIVE DIRECT IMPACT of COVID-19
OVER HALF (7 out of 11) of parent/carer SCREEN SECTOR WORKERS experienced a negative direct impact on HOUSEHOLD FINANCES
MOST (5 out of 7) parent/carer PRODUCTION WORKERS experienced a negative direct impact on their WORKING
MOST (9 out of 11) parent/carer SCREEN SECTOR WORKERS experienced a negative direct impact on their CARING ARRANGEMENTS
EVERY PARTICIPANT (11 out of 11) experienced a negative direct impact on their MENTAL HEALTH
There was consensus from respondents that the asymmetrical impact of COVID-19 must provide an impetus to reflect on and change exclusionary working practices, based on the experience and knowledge gained during this difficult period.
Participants identified that their caring responsibilities, skills and experiences ideally positioned them to lead on change towards safe, inclusive, sustainable work environments.
“Look at how brilliantly the film industry has adopted COVID protocols, and how quick we have been to pivoting to a new way of working. If we can do that, then making small adjustments or considerations for new mothers on set is simple.”
Two concrete proposals we support for screen sector uptake are the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s Flex from First campaign, calling for flexible working for all employees from day one, developed from their recommendations on employer strategies for parents and carers during lockdown, and Carers’ UK advocating for the Carer Passport Scheme, which helps employers recognise and value carers.
We hope to see more professional bodies calling for similar significant changes that benefit all, including those with caring responsibilities.
Even before the pandemic, workers with caring responsibilities were experienced in self-managing remote and home-based working, all forms of flexible working, collaboration, and pushing for sustainable working methods not based in long hours culture and/or presenteeism.
Raising Films asks the UK screen sector to recognise the long-term viability of these modes of work. Taking these now tried-and-tested practices forward, in consultation with those who need them most, would be a key move towards recognising caregiving within employment policies and practices, to the benefit of all.
To build on this urgency and insight, Raising Films plans to conduct a sector-wide, solutions-oriented survey to follow up the findings of this scoping study, for delivery summer 2021. If you are interested in working with us on this survey please get in touch.
“As a parent and a carer, I hope that some of that culture will stay with us, rather than having to conform to ‘business as usual’. If we can keep pushing to work in ways which are conducive to our lives and timetables, that would be great.”
All Party Parliamentary Group on Gaps in Support
The Gaps in Support All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has launched an inquiry into how people across the UK have been affected by the UK Government’s Coronavirus Support Schemes.
The aim is to gather evidence to understand how people may have fallen through the gaps in support and the APPG want to hear from those whose lives and livelihoods have been affected. Based on the findings of this inquiry the APPG will make recommendations to the Government.