Love Island (UK) duty of care protocols
Serious welfare plans in place to support UK participants before, during and after filming Reality TV.
For some time I’ve suggest Australia should have an industry Code of Conduct for Reality TV shows -but so far the key players all seem to prefer to forge ahead with their own strategies.
The forthcoming seventh series of Love Island UK this week published its duty of care protocols, with detailed welfare plans in place to support participants before, during and after filming.
This follows controversies surrounding the British production which extend far beyond the Australian experience.
The Australian series, also by ITV Studios Australia, will return to Nine later this year.
The process for all contributors involved on Love Island UK includes:
Comprehensive psychological support
Training for all Islanders on the impacts of social media and handling potential negativity
Training for all Islanders on financial management
Detailed conversations with Islanders regarding the impact of participation on the show
A proactive aftercare package which extends support to all islanders following their participation on the show
Guidance and advice on taking on management after the show
These measures are regularly reviewed and evolve in line with the increasing popularity of the show and the level of social media and media attention around the islanders.
The full duty of care process is outlined below:
Pre Filming and Filming
– Registered mental health professional engaged throughout the whole series – from pre-filming to aftercare.
– Thorough pre-filming psychological and medical assessments including assessments by an independent doctor, psychological consultant and reports from each Islander’s own GP to check medical history.
– Potential Islanders are required to fully disclose any medical history that would be relevant to their inclusion in the villa and the production’s ability to provide a suitable environment for them.
– Managing cast expectations: detailed explanations both verbally and in writing of the implications, both positive and negative, of taking part in the series are given to potential cast members throughout the casting process and reinforced within the contract so it is clear.
– Cast are told they should consider all the potential implications of taking part in the show and work through this decision-making process in consultation with their family and those closest to them, to ensure they feel it is right for them.
– Senior Team on the ground have received training in Mental Health First Aid.
– A welfare team solely dedicated to the Islanders both during the show and after.
– Bespoke training on dealing with social media and advice on finance and adjusting to life back home.
– A minimum of eight therapy sessions will be offered to each Islander when they return home.
– Proactive contact with Islanders for a period of 14 months after the series in which they have appeared has ended, with additional help provided where applicable.
– We encourage Islanders to secure management to represent them after the show and manage them should they choose to take part in other TV shows, advertising campaigns or other public appearance opportunities.
Duty of Care and Welfare
In 2018 ITV launched a review of Love Island’s participant welfare processes, appointing eminent physician and a former Chief Medical Officer Dr Paul Litchfield, who has extensive experience in the area of mental health, to independently review and work with us to evolve and enhance our processes.
ITV developed a new Duty of Care framework and set of procedures to identify, assess and reduce risks associated with all shows made by or for ITV. Love Island was prioritised and a comprehensive new set of Duty of Care processes for the show were published in May 2019 ahead of series 5.
ITV published its Duty of Care charter in June 2019 which laid out its commitment to the mental and physical well-being of all people working for, or with, ITV. The same month ITV Studios introduced throughout their content making business, refreshed processes and guidance to manage and support the mental health and well-being of programme participants before, during and after production.
In October 2019, ITV network extended these guidelines to cover all programmes made for broadcast on ITV, whether made by ITV Studios production houses or third party indies.
Last year, ITV engaged Dr Matthew Gould, a Consultant Chartered Clinical Psychologist, to work alongside Dr Litchfield, who remains an external advisor to the business. Both continue to independently review and continually evolve the duty of care measures ITV has in place and to work alongside programme makers. Both Dr Litchfield and Dr Gould bring extensive experience in the area of mental health.
ITV’s guidelines and policies are fully compliant with Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code to protect the welfare of those participating in TV programmes, including those amendments which came into effect in April 2021.
Dr Paul Litchfield said: “Society’s appreciation of the importance of mental health and wellbeing has grown enormously in recent years and the pandemic has brought that into even sharper focus. Reducing the risk of harm, where possible, is an imperative but promoting good mental health is also necessary. ITV’s evolving commitment to these issues, backed up by tangible action, is an example to others in the industry and beyond.”
Dr Matthew Gould said: “Duty of care is not a static goal. It evolves with public expectation, legislation, and with the commercial development of the programme format in order to maintain creativity. Effective delivery of care is an exercise in collaboration especially between health professionals, programme participants and producers. Also, it can be especially influenced by senior leaders within an organisation. My appointment last year in a new role to broaden the duty of care effort is testament to the seriousness which ITV gives this subject”
ITV’s support for Mental Health
In 2019 ITV selected mental health as the main focus for it’s on air health campaigns aimed at its viewers. ITV partnered with Mind and YoungMinds and launched the Britain Get Talking campaign in Britain’s Got Talent with the aim of encouraging 10m people to take action to support their mental or physical health by 2023.
In October 2019, ITV announced the creation of a Mental Health Advisory Group, chaired by Ruth Davidson with members including Paul Farmer, CEO of mental health charity, Mind, Emma Thomas, CEO of Young Minds and Billy Watson, CEO of SAMH, on the advisory group which provides guidance and support on all aspects of ITV, and STV’s, approach to mental health and wellbeing among its people, production teams, participants in its shows and audiences. Dr Alex George, former Love Island star and UK Youth Mental Health Ambassador, has joined the advisory group this year.
During 2020 and into 2021 ITV continued Britain Get Talking, and as a direct result of the campaign, 6.4 million people took an action to support their mental health in 2020. Building on this, the January and April 2021 campaigns prompted a further 5.6 million actions supporting mental health – a particularly important milestone given the detrimental mental health impact of the third UK Covid lockdown.
In March 2021 ITV2 launched a partnership with mental health charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), with the aim of helping 1 million young people take action to build their mental health and feel better able to cope with life’s ups and downs.