What happens next?

The short period of internal consultation on Phase One of the BFI’s realignment plans ends tomorrow 22 June. If the timetable is kept to, management has six days to consider the responses it’s received, meet with the trade unions, and review the plans for Phase One (involving outsourcing Publishing, Film Sales and DVD Sales and relocating Stills to Berkhamsted as a research only facility). The finalised Phase One will be announced on 29 June, and implemented on 2 July. The formal consultation period included no provision for discussion with stakeholders (the people who actually use and value the BFI’s services). Fortunately, stakeholders were proactive and took it upon themselves to provide feedback in many different arenas.

How things move forward depends on a number of factors. If the BFI takes the consultation process seriously, management should take on board the growing concern about the realignment plans expressed in letters from individuals, groups and organisations, press coverage and internet forums. Some have asked for the implementation of Phase One to be postponed until proper discussion with stakeholders takes place. Others have put forward constructive alternative solutions to the BFI’s funding crisis. A public forum between management and stakeholders is in the pipeline (watch this space).

Much also depends on the BFI’s success (or otherwise) in obtaining partners for its outsourcing proposals during the consultation period. The next few days will be crucial, so anyone concerned who has not yet made their voice heard should write to Amanda Nevill immediately (amanda.nevill@bfi.org.uk).

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