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Duty Of Care

by | May 26, 2021

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Duty of Care Statement

Discovery requires that its producers maintain the highest ethical standards in the development and production of audio-visual content to ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of the contributors, crew, audience and any other people who may be affected by the production and exploitation of its programmes.

 In particular, we expect producers:

      • To fairly secure ‘informed consent’ from contributors, taking into consideration all relevant circumstances, including (without limitation): the individual vulnerabilities of contributors, the nature of the programme and potential changes in circumstances in determining capacity to give that consent. Producers will need to ensure that informed consent has been sought in terms of the demands of production (physical and mental) and the impact of appearing on television, potentially worldwide, including the fact that once contributors have consented to appear, their consent is irrevocable (save in exceptional circumstances) and they will have no control over what appears on screen or when or whether the programme is broadcast. Producers will also need to be clear that the programme is likely to be repeated and exploited on a worldwide across multiple audiovisual platforms, including in promotion. Producers may consider advising contributors to take independent legal advice or other measures to ensure that contributors fully understand what they are committing to. Capacity and consent should be the subject of dynamic assessment during all stages of production and transmission;
      • To document the consenting process by (amongst other things) keeping accurate logs of all communications with contributors and consider the informed consent from background contributors.
      • Not to put any person (whether they be contributors, cast, crew or audience) at undue risk (including exacerbating pre-existing risk);
      • Give due consideration to any potential duty of care issues that may arise throughout production, including pre-production and post production and pre and post transmission. Producers should consider how such issues can be mitigated, and the implications of such issues upon the editorial specification, schedule and budget for a programme with a view to ensuring, amongst other things, that all potential duty of care related practical, ethical regulatory and legal measures are adequately provisioned for in the budget and schedule.
      • To comply with relevant provisions of GDPR.

We require producers to put together a ‘duty of care’ protocol detailing how the producer will comply with duty of care requirements. For example, when casting, specify whether psych assessments are required and if so, by whom and at what stage. Consider the professionals you plan to engage together with their professional qualifications and references supporting their professional status and experience/expertise.

The Duty of Care Questionnaire, which can be found on our Producer Portal, will help inform the preparation of producers’ duty of care protocol.