ANALYSIS OF RESPONSES TO THE CONSULTATION ON ESTABLISHING THE SKILLSET FILM INDUSTRY TRAINING BOARD
1. This note summarises the outcome of a consultation with employer and employee organisations in the film industry in Great Britain to establish whether both sides of the industry support the establishment of an Industry Training Board.
2. There were 13 responses to the consultation. This reflects the size of the industry, with a small number of organisations reflecting the key interests.
3. All responses were supportive of the establishment of an ITB. The main organisation representing producers said that the timing of the ITB’s establishment should depend on the industry meeting financial targets and clarification of liabilities. There was unanimous support for a levy model based on a percentage of overall production costs, with some differences of a view on minimum and maximum levels of payment. Respondents also felt the grades listed should fall within the ITB’s remit. There were, however, a number of suggestions for additions to that list, including performer and special effects grades.
4. Responses were received from the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT), the main employer organisation representing independent film producers. Other views from employers were obtained via Skillset’s Film Strategy Committee (which is dominated by film producers) and the Scottish and Welsh Industry Panels (both of which comprise the major, active film producers in Scotland and Wales). The BBC and Channel 4, major producers of films in Great Britain, and ITV Wales also replied.
5. The two main unions representing the work-force in the industry, BECTU and Equity, responded. We also received responses from the UK Film Council; UIP, the major fund distribution organisation; Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industries and the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) for the Skills for Business network. A full list of organisations which responded is at Appendix A.
Points Emerging from Consultation
6. A summary of the points to each question is set out below.
Question 1: Do you support the establishment an Industry Training Board with mandatory levy raising powers for the film industry in Great Britain?
7. All 13 respondents indicated that they supported the establishment of the ITB. Indicating their support the main caveats were as follows:
• the aim should be to contain the new ITB within the existing structure of Skillset to avoid duplication of roles and an increase in unnecessary bureaucracy;
• performance guarantees should be put in place on transparency and minimum of bureaucracy in the administration of the levy;
• an ITB must recognise the overlap between skills for feature film and television industries in schemes funded;
• the levy should be phased in when the film industry hits identified economic targets;
• producers should not be financial or legally liable for levy payment if financier reneges on funding;
• producers in Northern Ireland must not be disenfranchised by establishment of GB body;
• American producers which are members of PACT would prefer, as a point of principle, to maintain the current voluntary arrangements.
Question 2: Do you agree that the levy should be on production budgets based on the production costs incurred in making a film intended for theatrical release?
9. All respondents confirmed support for the levy model which Skillset was proposing. Main points were:
• the levy should not be charged on the whole production when shot abroad with UK public financing (difficult to justify with foreign co-financiers). But sensible to levy from productions outside UK in recognition of substantial UK spend;
• the criteria as to whether a levy payment was due should be whether the project qualifies as a British film and benefit from any attendant tax advantages;
• the levy arrangements should be finalised after further study, consultation and an impact assessment of contribution levels;
• there should be exemption for films with production budget under £2m, the levy rate should be 0.25% of budget for films between £2m and £5m; 0.5% films over £5m and the cap should be raised to £50k. Although one respondent indicated that the current cap of £39,500 was reasonable and another that only films with a budget of less than £250k should be exempt;
• the levy should apply only to British qualifying films.
Question 3: Do you agree that those grades employed for the production of a film intended for theatrical release, as set out in the attached list, should fall within the ITB’s remit of developing training to meet the industry’s skills requirements?
10. All respondents supported the listing provided as part of the consultation. There were also suggestions for additions to that list as follows:
• list should include special effects grades (SFX Supervisor, SFX Senior Technician, SFX Technician and SFX Trainee);
• performers - actors, stunt artists, dancers, singers, voice over artists, other performers.
SKILLSET FILM ITB CONSULTATION : RESPONSES RECEIVED
Skillset Film Skills Strategy Committee
UK Film Council
Cymru Industry Skills Panel
Scottish Industry Panel
Telephone: 0114 259 3205