The staff working for UK commercial broadcaster ITV have been told they will have declare their relationships – sexual, romantic and, when appropriate, platonic – or risk losing their job.

The new policy comes in the wake of the departure of one of its highest profile hosts, Phillip Schofield – who presented This Morning alongside Holly Willoughby – and his admission that he had had a secret relationship with a younger male member of staff, and lied about this to his bosses at the channel.

The Times newspaper reports that the broadcaster has issued a “Personal Relationships at Work Policy” to all staff. The relationships are defined as: “a close connection such as a partner or significant other”, “a person living in the same household” and “anyone involved in a sexual, romantic or close relationship or friendship (whether short or longer term).” Staff must complete a Google Forms questionnaire.

Staff are told: “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.” This includes relationships with freelancers, consultants, contractors, apprentices, agency staff, volunteers, and those on work experience.

Those who breach the policy could suffer disciplinary action and the loss of their job. The document asks whistleblowers to speak up and promises that their identities will be kept confidential, if any concerns are deemed worthy of investigation. It also states: “Any form of reprisal or victimisation against anyone who has raised a concern will not be tolerated and will itself be treated as a serious disciplinary matter.”

The Times quotes insiders at the channel as describing the new rules as “properly mad” and “a step too far.”

Following Schofield’s admission and departure in May this year, ITV chief Dame Carolyn McCall answers questions from MPs in parliament about the culture at the channel – she said she had become aware of rumours about the relationship in 2020, but that Schofield had categorically denied they were true.

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