The Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority

Upholding and improving standards of behaviour across the creative industries

To keep up to date with our progress please sign up to the newsletter.


In 2021, in light of a number of serious allegations being made in the public domain relating the Creative Industries, Time’s Up UK Chair, Dame Heather Rabbatts joined forces with legal advisors from FieldFisher and scoped the concept for an Independent Standards Authority for the Creative Industries and began to consult with leaders across Film, Music, TV and Theatre.

In September 2022, CIISA brought on board Jen Smith as interim CEO, to lead the work and CIISA is now expanding its team, finalising its governance, legal and operational processes, funding and business plan aiming to provide some services by the end of 2024.

Our Purpose & Vision

The purpose of the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA) is to uphold and improve standards of behaviour across the creative industries and to prevent and tackle all forms of bullying and harassment, including bullying and harassment of a discriminatory nature.

Following a significant period of discussion with the creative industries, we are now in the next stages of development for CIISA.

In our first iteration, CIISA will support the film, TV, theatre and music industries. We are heartened by the positive groundswell of support.

CIISA’s vision is to create consistently safe and inclusive workplaces for creative industry professionals through pro-active interventions and advice, providing a single place of accountability where behaviours of concern can be reported and investigated, and building capability to prevent and tackle bullying and harassment and bullying and harassment of a discriminatory nature.

The two short CIISA films have been made with thanks to Ridley Scott Associates. Editor Steph McAuley

Our commitment to anti-racism

CIISA will be an anti-racist organisation, consciously inclusive and representative at all levels, including its governance. CIISA will have an anti-discrimination committee as part of its governance model. CIISA will ensure that any investigation panels, mediation and advice services are intersectional and that all teams are trained and aware of the intersection of racism, bullying and harassment. CIISA will be a primary advocate of its strategic partner Black Lives in Music; who will also provide check and challenge accountability to CIISA and advocate for Black Lives in Music’s internationally recognised Anti-Racism Code to be widely adopted. On issues that relate to employment discrimination and systemic discrimination, CIISA will work closely with the EHRC.

Five reasons why the creative industries need CIISA



CIISA responds to the clearly identified need for better workplace safety and prevention from harm within the creative industries.


Professional advice

CIISA addresses the void for freelancers and employers who do not currently have access to routes of resolution or advice.


Future-proofing the talent pipeline

CIISA will attract new and retain our experienced colleagues and support inward investment by making the UK not just the most dynamic place to make creative content but also the safest.


A circuit breaker delivering return on investment

CIISA supports the creative industries through preventative investment over reactive cost, sharing best practice and creating capability so our workforce can confidently address these issues and raise cultural norms within our workplaces.


Fairness and due process

CIISA’s structures and procedures will be governed by evidence-based decisions, fairness to all parties and transparent processes.

Our Guiding Principles

  • We do not replace existing legal due process or HR complaints functions; rather we address a void – the creative industries is one of the only sectors that does not have an independent place to report poor standards of behaviour.
  • We will investigate without fear or favour and are able to do so, as funding for CIISA will be drawn from a separate entity, the CIISA finance board. The identity of funders will be unknown to those working within CIISA. This model is used by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
  • By virtue of our existence, CIISA has both a preventative and pro-active role in tackling bullying and harassment.
  • You cannot raise standards without tackling discrimination – CIISA has embedded anti-discrimination measures into the heart of its proposed governance model.
  • How creative contents is made, is of equal significance to the creative content itself.

High level assurance for CIISA

To develop our proposals to this point we have consulted widely with existing peer regulators and standards authorities and had additional scrutiny from the Institute of Regulation. We have taken specialist expertise from PA Consulting, including the on-going development of our funding models. We have been listening to the needs of each sector and our principal partners as well as freelancer engagement from each sector and have taken strategic advice from all the UK broadcasters and the lead bodies for theatre and music, namely UK Theatre and the Society for London Theatres and UK Music.

CIISA will work closely with the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, PEC and the establishment of CIISA was a recommendation within the recent Good Work Review published in February 2023. The establishment of CIISA was also highlighted within the Government’s sector vision for the Creative Industries published in June 2023. CIISA has been pre-registered with the ICO.

What we will do

Find out more about our proposed services

  • Services: Mediation, early dispute resolution, immediate advice, support navigating the criminal justice system, investigations.
  • Data and insight: Share insight and trends from our data and cross-sector expertise.
  • Influence: Working with expert partners on issues such as advocating for preventing the of misuse of NDAs, better advice and protections for freelancers, promoting inclusivity such as wider adoption of the Anti-Racism Code, which is being developed by Black Lives in Music who are key partners of CIISA.
  • Support navigating the criminal justice system: In some cases, CIISA will recommend that further action is taken given the seriousness of the concerns brought forward. CIISA will give professional support to individuals who are taking their concerns to the police or through the criminal justice system.

Our Approach

We will be publishing our consultation document in the autumn, which will set out the following:

  • How services will be accessed and provided.
  • What the proposed governance and organisational structure will be.
  • What the cost of CIISA will be.
  • How it will make a difference across all sectors, for individuals and for organisations and member bodies.
  • Where it will be based and CIISA’s jurisdiction.
  • How investigations will be conducted within defamation and GDPR law.

How will CIISA tackle discrimination?

  • It is impossible to drive up standards without tackling discrimination.CIISA will be an intersectional organisation, understanding that bullying and harassment can be discriminatory in its nature. CIISA is also aware that bullying and harassment disproportionately impacts people from under-represented groups.
  • The EHRC has the statutory mandate to investigate discrimination, so CIISA will work closely with them on any issues arising from its investigations, such as employment discrimination.
  • CIISA will also advocate for robust anti-discrimination measures to be taken across the creative industries as part of its advocacy and influencing role and has embedded anti-discrimination measures into the heart of its proposed governance model.

The Interim CIISA Team

Jen Smith

Jen Smith is Interim CEO of the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA) responsible for developing its remit, operating model and governance structure. Jen led the creation and publication of the screen sectors’ first ‘Set of Principles and Guidance to Prevent Bullying and Harassment and Racism’ convening over 50 cultural organisations to adopt them, in addition inspiring additional editions tailored for the Theatre and Music sectors. In her previous role at the BFI before leaving to lead CIISA, she was responsible for gaining international recognition for the BFI Diversity Standards, achieving Autism Friendly Status for BFI Southbank, partnering with Changing Faces on the impactful #Iamnotyourvillain campaign and ensuring that the full range of diversity data on who the BFI funds and employs is published annually. Jen has also held a broad range of roles in the housing sector leading on Strategy, PR, Business Development, Learning and Develpment and Inclusion. Prior to that Jen worked as Parliamentary Researcher specialising in Foreign Affairs and International Relations and is a member of the Institute of Regulation and an ACAS accredited mediator.

Dame Heather Rabbatts

Dame Heather Rabbatts’ career spans law, government, sport and media. She established the Women’s Sports Group, to create opportunities to promote, enhance and empower women’s sport. She is the Chair of both Soho Theatre and 42, a fully integrated management and production company. Some of Heather’s production credits to date include The Drifters, The Bad Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Silent Twins. Heather is also a non-executive director on the Board of Associated British Foods. In 2018 Heather became Chair of Time’s Up UK. Born out of the revelations of #MeToo, Time’s Up UK advocates to end sexual harassment, change representation, promote black equity and pay parity to achieve long term cultural change. Heather began her career as a lawyer, then a government advisor and was the youngest CEO of a Local Authority. She was the first woman and person of colour on the board of the English FA in 150 years, served on the boards of the BBC, Bank of England, the Foreign Office and the Royal Opera House and commissioned award-winning content as a senior executive at Channel 4 Television.

Caroline Norbury

Caroline Norbury OBE is the Chief Executive of Creative UK, the independent network for the UK’s Creative Industries working to support and invest in creative talent and businesses, and unite the UK’s creative industries.Caroline sits on the Creative Industries Council and chairs the Investment for Growth sub-group of the Council. She is a non-executive director of Crowdfunder, the UK’s largest rewards-based crowdfunding platform; a member of BAFTA and the Royal Society of Arts and a trustee for the PRS Foundation, a charity supporting new music and talent. Caroline is also Chairwoman of The Music Works, a charity in Gloucestershire changing the lives of young people through music. She was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to the film industry, and has recently been awarded an OBE at The Queen’s Birthday Honours 2022 for her leadership and advocacy in shaping the creative sector’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Andrew Medlock

Andrew joins the CIISA team as the interim COO. Andrew is a senior leader with over 15 years of operational and strategic experience in improving social justice for the public through his work with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, who investigate complex complaints about the NHS in England and UK Central Government. Andrew is highly skilled in delivering strategically significant initiatives, innovation and transformational change, using user-led service design approaches and public engagement to shape services design. Andrew was the Senior Responsible Officer for building the Ombudsman’s Complaint Standards initiative, building strong working relationships with stakeholders across the NHS and Central Government on excellence in complaints handling and organisational learning. He was also responsible for oversight of outreach within the public and increasing awareness of (and trust in) the Ombudsman in diverse and underrepresented communities.

“Having come from a long background of working in a values-driven organisation that has a strong ethos in social justice and supporting organisations to using feedback to continuously develop, I am hugely proud to join CIISA and get behind its hugely important cause’, says Andrew, “and am really looking forward to working with the team to bring CIISA to life.”


The following organisations have given their commitment to CIISA.

Extending our thanks for in principle support:

  • We are grateful to Sky, BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Viacom for their initial generous financial support enabling us to develop our proposals to date.
  • SOLT and UK Theatre announced their in principle support for CIISA on behalf of the theatre sector in January 2023.
  • On behalf of the music sector UK Music announced their commitment in early March 2023. The LIVE board also agreed their support in May 2023. In addition, we are also delighted to be working closely with the Musicians Union, Help Musicians, Black Lives in Music.
  •  We are pleased to have the support and expertise afforded us through the Institute of Regulation, who through their network of peer organisations are offering us expertise and scrutiny on our proposals.

Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre are organisations that work with and on behalf of their members to champion theatre and the performing arts. Together, they represent 500 of the UK’s leading theatre producers, venue owners and managers, performing arts centres, and 1,350 theatre professionals across the UK. Both the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre gave their support for CIISA in January 2023.

SOLT and UK Theatre are supporting our engagement with theatre, including running a UK-wide CIISA working group and regular webinar update sessions with their membership and the CIISA team. SOLT and UK Theatre will continue to act as convenor for the theatre sector during the co-creation phase of September 2023 – April 2024.

News & Views

For all press enquiries: