In 2010 Arts Council England contributed their views to the book Bullying in the Arts and told the author that they would give consideration to making a statement that year, which was reported in the book. In 2012 when prompted on several occasions ACE said they did not “monitor internal employment practices” but they did require all funded organisations“ to adhere to all applicable laws and best practice.” In live online chats Dame Liz Forgan ignored the questions that several participants put to her about making a statement on the topic.

As ACE has already made statements about other important issues, such as unpaid internships, it is not a big ask for them to make a statement suggesting that all arts organisations have and implement a Dignity at Work policy. Would a collective approach by a number of arts organisations be better? Is ACE afraid of speaking out, and if so why? Was ACE worried about getting lots of complaints from the organisations it funds? Is ACE simply too focused on the dire financial pressures they are under to bother with the topic? The consensus was that this report from DDbully needs to state clearly that bullying is a big issue as is ACE's position on it – isn’t it time they did something about it? All the major unions have put bullying in the arts, media and entertainment firmly on their agenda.

Devising a code of practice – one side of A4 based on Equity's code of conduct and with input and advice from ACE – could provide a document to be used by all arts organisations. What if there was a ‘floating’ HR department so that small arts organisations could plug into expertise that they may not have in-house? How could this be funded?

Ways to improve awareness were discussed. Putting up postcards in organisations, backstage, orchestra pits, etc saying what is unacceptable behaviour would spread the word, as would setting up awards for treating people well (+ raspberries for those who don’t). There was a determination to get people to become more confident in challenging behaviour, saying, for example, “Grow up, you don’t have to behave like that!” Definitely there was a strong feeling that positive action should be taken.