ITV has drawn up strict new rules requiring staff to declare all relationships with colleagues – which could even include friendships – in the wake of Phillip Schofield’s resignation earlier this year, the Sunday Times reports.
Under a “Personal Relationships at Work Policy” distributed to all staff this month, they are required to declare relationships with colleagues which – as well as partners – include “a person living in the same household” and “anyone involved in a sexual, romantic or close relationship or friendship (whether short or longer term)” according to the report.
It said that people who breach the policy could face disciplinary action or even lose their job.
The document reportedly says: “If a personal relationship exists between you and another colleague (whether it started prior to or during the course of your employment or engagement with ITV), both parties must disclose this to the company at the earliest opportunity.”
Relationships with freelancers, consultants, contractors, apprentices, agency staff, volunteers and people on work experience also fall within the scope of the policy.
The newspaper said the policy, which directs staff to declare the names of associates and the nature of their relationships on a Google Forms questionnaire, had attracted criticism from some at the broadcaster.
An anonymous member of staff was quoted as having described the document as “properly mad” and another as having said it looked to be a “step too far.”
Schofield stepped down in May, having presented This Morning for 21 years, after admitting to an affair with a younger male colleague while he was still married to his wife of 30 years, Stephanie Lowe. The news dominated tabloid news cycles for days, with ITV’s chief executive Carolyn McCall questioned by the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee over the culture at the broadcaster on the back of the headlines.
Schofield’s co-host Holly Willoughby also quit last week “for me and my family” having stated on her return to the show in June that the revelations about Schofield had left her “shaken, troubled, let down and worried.”
An ITV spokesperson said: “ITV has had in place a policy on relationships at work since October 2022.
“Like all of our people policies, we keep them under review and update them periodically. The relationships at work policy was most recently reviewed and updated in October 2023.”