ITV Introduces Strict ‘Relationships at Work’ Guidelines following Phillip Schofield Controversy

In the aftermath of the Phillip Schofield incident, ITV has reportedly established a stringent set of guidelines concerning personal relationships amongst its staff, says a recent news report.

The Sunday Times suggests that employees might face termination if they fail to disclose their personal associations as per the new policy introduced this month. Interestingly, the staff is purportedly required to specify the “nature” of their relationships through a Google Forms questionnaire. An unidentified source described the survey as “properly mad”.

This revelation comes in the wake of Phillip Schofield’s departure from ITV earlier in the year. The 61-year-old former co-host of This Morning resigned following allegations of a liaison with a younger male colleague, admitting to the ITV executives that while his relationship was “unwise”, it wasn’t illegal.

The ‘Personal Relationships at Work Policy’ is believed to characterise relationships as those with a family member, a significant other, someone from the same household, or “anyone involved in a sexual, romantic or close relationship or friendship”. The guidelines reportedly mandate employees to disclose any personal relationship with colleagues, covering a broad spectrum, from freelancers and contractors to those on work experience.

Not adhering to these directives could potentially lead to disciplinary action, and in extreme cases, job termination. ITV, while affirming that the policy remains “under review”, mentioned it underwent an update in October 2022. The broadcaster stated, “It’s substantially the same policy. We have simply reviewed the language and the form is now easier to fill in.”

Dame Carolyn McCall, ITV’s chief executive, had previously faced questioning from MPs in the wake of the Phillip Schofield saga. While she insisted on not overlooking the TV star’s alleged affair, she acknowledged hearing rumours in 2020, when Phillip publicly announced his sexuality. She further highlighted that ITV had received “straightforward categorical denials” regarding the issue.

When approached for a statement regarding The Times’ coverage, an ITV spokesperson clarified, “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.”

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