At a special event at the Writers' Guild last night, John Yorke, BBC Controller Drama Production Studios, unveiled a new code of conduct to cover drama series' work with writers.
In a wide-ranging speech, Yorke explained how he and his team have worked to put writers at the heart of the creative process on drama series. There had, he admitted, been difficulties on shows including Casualty and EastEnders in recent years following the big expansion in the number of episodes commissioned each year. We'll be posting a full report on the event on the Guild's website next week.
The code of conduct is as follows:
• All contracted scripts will be acknowledged on receipt, and writers will then be contacted within 24 hours to be given an indication of when notes will be given.
• Where possible notes will be given at face to face meetings or by phone. If notes are to be given by email, a courtesy phone call should precede the email.
• Productions will make allowances for writers’ time constraints where practicable.
• If scripts delivery schedules are changed, a new schedule will be put in place immediately.
• Adequate times must be scheduled for the completion of each draft.
• Writers will be guaranteed a clear editorial contact throughout the script process that covers for any staff leave or absence.
• Where possible, programmes should communicate clearly with writers as to whether they are likely to be used again.
• Writers will be told immediately when scripts are taken away from them, and the percentage rewrite involved will be indicated to them within two weeks.
• Scripts are deemed to be accepted on publication of the production script.
• Rebriefs are paid at a 10% minimum