The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Contestable Conversation

A recent meeting with Ben Roberts, Director of the Film Fund at the BFI, who is leading the work to develop the plans for the Public Service Contestable Fund, revealed it’s making good progress.  The DCMS is still involved in the planning and Margot James MP is the minister now responsible.  

Ben was adamant that the Fund will be targeted firmly at children and young people. Other confirmed criteria are that it will have to be for public-service style content that will have to be free-to-access, which suggests the inevitable involvement of the 3 public service broadcasters. In terms of the figures - it will offer up to 50% of funding for a project, which it will not seek to recoup.

As he revealed at the Children’s Media Conference (in the CMF-sponsored and produced Question Time session) he envisages employing a head of the fund and some executives to work with them – but that role would not add another commissioner into the mix – rather decisions would be based on projects fulfilling broad criteria, having the support of a broadcaster and clear plans to reach their audience.

Work on the detail of the guidelines is their next task, and discussions are also under way as to how to evaluate the fund during (or by the end of) its three year pilot life-cycle, given the long lead times involved in content production.

The Fund is planned to launch before the end of 2018 and to be operational by April 2019.

Ben has invited CMF to stay close to the planning process, with our audience advocacy perspective and background knowledge across the industry.

Industry Policy

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)