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Karen Bradley needs to appoint Althea Efunshile on to the Channel 4 Board Immediately!

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Althea Efunshile, Chair of National College for Cultural and Creative Industries and former Deputy Chief Executive of the Arts Council England was recently vetoed from joining the Channel 4 board as a non-executive director by Karen Bradley, Secretary of Culture.

In a statement from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) they have argued the appointment of four white men and the exclusion of a black women is “on the basis that they met the specific skills and experiences set out in Ofcom’s advertised job descriptions”.

Firstly, OFCOM have stated all individuals put forward for the board were of "high calibre.”  and Efunshile, was "highly qualified" she was approved by OFCOM then later denied the role by the secretary of culture.  

Secondly, This is the first time the DCSM has interfered with the appointment of board members. David Abraham, the chief executive of Channel 4, has publicly criticised the rejection of Althea Efunshile believing the government has once again overstepped their jurisdiction and is unprecedented political interference for a wider agenda against channel 4. 

Lastly, Althea Efunshile has held many positions where she not only thrived but demonstrated her commitment to improving the organisations for employees and service users. She is also of exceptional character and has been awarded a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order) for her outstanding contributions and services to arts and culture.  

The current racial demographic of the channel 4 board is all white and includes only three women.  This is not reflective of channel 4 employees nor is does it reflect the  demographic of British society at large. The board currently only has 13 members and can have up to 15.

In the ' Women on Boards Davies Review Annual Report 2015' a number of recommendations are made to the government to ensure a fast approach to significantly altering the lack of women on boards. In Efunshile's case, this has been totally ignored for reasons which hold no substance. 

Efunshile not being appointed is a clear display of racial and gender discrimination. 

On the 7th December,  David Lammy MP raised important questions about the case,  “This is an absolutely extraordinary decision that really does beggar belief. The secretary of state must now tell us why she blocked Althea Efunshile’s appointment and why she ignored Ofcom’s recommendation given Althea’s wealth of experience, expertise and outstanding track record.

Theresa May saying "only if she is up to the job"  This is insulting and ironic that a non-elected Prime Minister responds to serious claims of racial and gender discrimination with a such an insensitive and throwaway comment.

We would also like to note, prominemnt women in the arts  and MP's across all the parties have condemned the DMCS and have been vocal in their support of Efunshile.

We  would like amplify their voices and ask Karen Bradley to:

  • For the appointment of Althea Efunshile on the board of Channel 4 is made immediately.
  • An investigation into discrimination within the DMCS and for the department to be transparent in the hiring process for board members which they exert influence over. 
  • Black Blossoms further believes that is this a regular occurrence for many Black and Ethnic Minority women in British society. We would like a full report to be undertaken by the government on the issues  and barriers  black women encounter in the workplace and when they are seeking employment.  

 



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