Please note: Government guidance is changing rapidly and whilst we are doing everything we can to keep our information up to date we advise you to look carefully at the date that it was posted/last updated. Please also keep checking your e-mails from Pact for the most up to date announcements and information.
Furlough leave letter templates and guidance (posted 31.03.2020)
Pact has drafted two letter templates which you can use to furlough your employees and workers, should they be eligible for the Government's COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme, as well as a step-by-step guide for how to furlough someone.
Access the templates and guidance here.
Furloughing: important update (posted 31.03.2020)
Pact has been seeking further clarification from Government on the details of the Job Retention Scheme and we hope to be able to update members more soon. We are aware that a large number of crew may not be eligible for the scheme and that Pact members may be asked to furlough potentially ineligible crew.
Read our update on this issue here.
COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme Q&A (updated 9:00am on 01.04.2020)
The Government is incentivising businesses to retain their employees by committing to pay up to 80% of salary costs of staff who are unable to work during the COVID-19 crisis. Based on the latest Government guidance about the scheme and how it will be implemented, we have put together a Q&A which we hope will answer some of the queries you may have about it.
Webinar Briefing and Q&A (posted 30.03.2020)
We understand the current situation is incredibly challenging and it can be hard to keep up with developments whilst trying to keep your business running. That's why we are running a weekly webinar briefing and Q&A for Pact members in which we will round-up the latest sector-specific updates for you, and answer your questions.
The next briefing will take place from 10:00am - 11:30am on Friday 3rd April 2020.
During this week's Webinar, Pact's Managing Director of Business Development & Global Strategy, Dawn McCarthy-Simpson will talk us through the current situation with international buyers and discuss the latest briefings, commissioner intel and opportunities available via the Pact Growth Accelerator. Pact CEO John McVay and Deputy CEO and Head of Business Affairs, Max Rumney will also be on hand to provide a more general update for indies and to answer your questions.
Pact members can register for the Webinar HERE.
The first edition took place on Friday 27th March. If you were unable to join us live you can catch up with the recording here.
Mental health and wellbeing support (posted 31.03.2020)
These are strange times. The disruption to our regular way of life and uncertainty about what might happen to us - both personally and professionally - over the coming weeks and months can take an emotional toll.
Many Pact members also run their own businesses and will be concerned for the wellbeing of their employees and freelancers during this challenging time. Thankfully, there are a number of organisations who you can turn to for guidance and support should you, or someone you know, need it.
Read more here.
ScreenSkills offering free remote training (posted 30.03.2020)
A free package of remote and interactive training, online talks and masterclasses with industry leaders has been launched by ScreenSkills to support the industry workforce in up-skilling and staying connected during these difficult times.
Find out more here.
COVID-19 Self Employed Income Support Scheme (posted 27.03.2020)
On Thursday 26th March the Government announced a COVID-19 Self Employed Income Support Scheme. Read more about what it is and who is eligible here.
Screen Scotland announces new funding and support (posted 30.03.2020)
In response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, Screen Scotland has announced new funding and support for Scotland’s screen sector, including bursaries for individuals and a single project development fund.
Find out more here.
Production (updated 17.03.2020)
Broadcasters' Advice to Producers on COVID-19
1. We have pulled together all the published advice of the PSBs and Sky relating to COVID-19 and production:
COVID-19 Guidance - Terms of Trade and Collective Agreements
2. From all the terms of trade with the PSBs and the collective agreements with the talent unions and guilds, we have detailed the force majeure clauses (if any); the suspension and overage provisions:
Pact Template Agreements Force Majeure - COVID-19 Guidance
3. For Pact template agreements, we have put together a summary of force majeure and suspension/termination provisions contained in the director; producer/PD; crew (scripted); and crew (non-scripted) templates:
We are also scheduling meetings (largely by phone) with the Pact Business Affairs Committee (PBAC), made up of business affairs reps, and with Heads of production (HoPs) for drama and factual programming. The purpose of these meetings is to understand the behaviour of the broadcasters and particular issues as matters develop.
We will keep members updated with further developments in due course.
Force majeure: summary and latest position for producers (posted 25.03.2020)
For producers to be able to rely on force majeure to suspend or terminate a contract, there has to be an express provision dealing with force majeure.
Most Pact template agreements and collective agreements do address force majeure expressly.
3 month extension for filing accounts (posted 26.03.2020)
If your accounts will be late because your company is affected by COVID-19, you can apply for an automatic and immediate 3 month extension to file your accounts.
For more information and guidance about how to apply, click here.
Pact/FAA negotiations - update (posted 30.03.2020)
Pact has been in negotiations with the Film Artistes Association (FAA) regarding the rates and the provisions of the Pact/FAA agreement for the Employment of Background Artistes, Stand-Ins and Doubles 2017. In light of disruption caused by COVID-19, any agreed terms (including rates) will not take effect until the negotiations have been finalised.
In the interim, the current rates will continue to apply after 1st April 2020, instead of the new terms and rates which will be agreed in due course. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Pact’s Business Affairs Paralegal, Annette Atanda: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pact call to Government to support the UK broadcasting and production sector (posted 17.03.2020)
Pact is calling on Government to adopt a range of measures to support one of the UK’s most successful domestic and export industries.
Firstly, to support SMEs, suspend all payments of HMRC liabilities for VAT, PAYE, NI and corporation tax and a business rates holiday for as long as necessary.
Secondly, to support our skilled freelance and self-employed workforce, simplify access and processes for state unemployment benefits, freeze all personal credit interest payments and delay the implementation of the flawed IR35 rules.
Thirdly, to support our domestic publicly-owned public service broadcasters, increase their borrowing limits to ensure they can support their programme budgets when the current hiatus on production comes to an end.
This is an unprecedented crisis and in order to ensure that the UK industry can recover and continue to be one of the world’s most successful audiovisual sectors the UK Government should do all that it can to help.
Latest Government guidance (updated 26.03.2020)
We have compiled information about the Government's economic support for businesses, employees and freelancers as of Monday 23rd March 2020 here.
We have collated links to the Government’s latest Coronavirus guidance, including specifics for employers and businesses, as well as information about business continuity planning and how agreements with suppliers, crew, artists and so on may be impacted here.
ICO guidance on data protection during COVID-19 pandemic (posted 23.03.2020)
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has published guidance on data protection compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be found in full here.
The guidance states that the ICO will not penalise organisations in circumstances where they need to prioritise other areas or adapt their usual approach to compliance during this period.
Further Pact action
At Pact, we’re doing all that we can to ensure our members don’t miss out on important opportunities to hear from commissioners and buyers about what their content needs are and how to pitch them your ideas - even if you aren’t able to meet face-to-face.
Webinars and Podcasts on the Pact Growth Accelerator
As part of our on-going collaboration with Boom! PR, we’re working hard to line up additional webinar sessions and podcast recordings with buyers who were due to attend MipTV. We’ll be announcing upcoming sessions in the newsletter soon, and if you can’t listen live they will all be made available afterwards on the Pact Growth Accelerator.
Pact sessions with commissioners which have recently been added to the Accelerator include:
And you can find all of our recent webinar recordings here.
There are a whole host of resources available on our Growth Accelerator online platform beyond the webinars and podcasts, including Nations & Regions specific information; details of over 150 international buyers; insights into financing options and pitching tips, plus lots more.
We will also be sharing interviews and briefings from our Content Without Borders event which took place in early march via the Growth Accelerator shortly.
If you haven’t yet registered, it’s free and exclusively available to Pact members. All you need to do is sign up here.
UK Indies app refresh
The UK Indies platform is where UK production companies can share information and contact details with international buyers looking to licence formats, commission ideas or acquire programmes.
The app was set up by Pact over a decade ago with support from the Department for International Trade. Through promoting it to our contacts around the world at international trade shows and missions we have thousands of registered buyers from 63 countries using the platform.
The site is currently being redesigned to enable companies to upload their own content and information, whereas previously it relied on a third party provider to do so. This will enable you to control what you put on the site and to make amendments yourself going forward. We will let you know as soon as the site is back up and ready for you to use, but in the meantime please ensure you are registered on the Pact Growth Accelerator.
Pact office closures and contacting staff
The Pact offices in London and Leeds have been closed until further notice. All Pact staff continue to work remotely and therefore we anticipate very little, if any, noticeable impact on our capacity to support Pact members.
More information and a list of Pact staff contact information can be found here.
We’ve compiled a list of useful links for those working in the film and TV sector, including guidance from Pact, the Government, and screen sector bodies, which can be found here.
Top tips for working remotely
And finally, as self-isolation, restrictions on movements, and office closures look likely to increase, working from home will become an essential for some. If you’re not used to working remotely, our comms officer Becky shares some top tips based on her extensive experience of doing so for Pact and other clients over the years.
Read her top tips here.