A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Sargent-Disc's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Sargent-Disc is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Sargent-Disc founders Marija
and John Sargent at the office
British consul general, Chris O’Connor OBE, with John,
Laurence and Lara Sargent at Sargent-Disc’s 30th anniversary
reception in Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Charley Galley
Sargent-Disc is the largest provider of payroll and production
management software and services to the UK film and
television industries. The company prides itself on service
excellence and was named Specialist Payroll Provider of the
Year at the 2014 Payroll World awards for its industry-specific
payroll and auto-enrolment workplace pension solutions.
Sargent-Disc was founded by Marija and John Sargent and has
been at the centre of the British film industry since 1986. Family
owned, today the company is run by brother-and-sister team
Lara and Laurence Sargent. In 2016 Sargent-Disc celebrated
its 30th anniversary by commissioning a short film of its own
showcasing its history and achievements1.
The company was set up as an affiliate of DISC Inc, now Entertainment Partners (EP),
based in California to take advantage of advances in computing technology to increase
the efficiency of production payroll and accounting processes. The combination of
Hollywood know-how and technical innovation revolutionised production accounting
in the industry, with Sargent-Disc payroll and MicroDisc Accounting software quickly
becoming the industry standard. Sargent-Disc now employs about fifty people across
a range of software development, support, training and professional services. In
2017 alone Sargent-Disc processed payroll payments totalling in excess of £1 billion.
Sargent-Disc is a thought leader and uses expertise to support and educate in
an effort to move the industry forwards in terms of gender equality, diversity,
1 Sargent-Disc: 30 Years in the M aking –
»Owner: Dr Laurence Sargent
»Director: Lara Sargent
»Established in 1986
»Based in Buckinghamshire
»Services: Payroll and residuals,
pension auto-enrolment,
production services,
production card, production
management software,
production accounting
software, training and
academic partnerships
»No. of employees: 50-60
»Sargent-Disc provided services
for 10 of the top 20 highest-
grossing films of the UK box
»Payroll World: Specialist Payroll
Provider of the Year, 2014
sustainability and productivity. Sargent-
Disc offers scholarships to students
at the National Film and Television
School (NFTS), supports Women in Film
and Television (WFTV), has worked
with Bafta to run the “Sargent-Disc
Filmmakers’ Forum” to educate the
next generation of filmmakers, works
closely with the Production Guild
(PG) to offer a range of professional
development to existing filmmakers,
and partners with the Royal Television
Society (RTS) to support the television
industry and its efforts to make the
industry accessible to all.
Historically, growth has resulted
from recognising and responding
to the needs of clients. An early
appreciation of the need for effective
production management software
led to Sargent-Disc introducing Movie
Magic software to its clients in 1989.
Today Sargent-Disc is the European
distributor of Movie Magic Budgeting
and Scheduling, offering sales,
support and training, and operating
an academic partnership programme
with over 50 academic institutions
throughout Europe. Partnering with
clients led to the development of the
Production Card, a fully managed
cashless purchasing solution operated
by Sargent-Disc in association with
Barclaycard. An ability to innovate
and develop software in-house has
also allowed bespoke solutions to
be developed. The integration of
Sargent-Disc’s payroll engine with
Channel 4’s artists’ rights system
to make residual payments is an
excellent example.
More recently, successive UK
governments have focused on providing
an internationally competitive policy
framework for film and television
production through the provision of tax
creditsand enhancingthe number of
nations with which the UK has official
co-production treaties. This strategic
approach to policy, coupledwith a high-
qualityservice sector, on and off-screen
talent, and studio facilities, hasallowed
the UK to build acompetitiveedge,
fuelling aboom in UK production.
Theeconomic value of theUK film,
television and music industries
has grown by 72.4 per cent since
2014.Film productionspend in
the firstthree quarters of 2016
reached£1,778 million,the highest
since records began, while television
production spend reached£516
million in the firstthree quarters of
20172.Sargent-Disc is one of manyUK
servicecompanies benefiting from
Today Sargent-Disc is working towards
a sustainable future by investing in
and promoting the use of low-carbon-
production office technologies. The
company is a certified Carbon Neutral
organisation and works closely with
the Bafta albert Consortium as an
official partner to support efforts
to reduce the carbon footprint of
production. Through its Digital
Production Office® initiative, Sargent-
Disc aims to replace paper processes
with low-energy, paperless and
mobile-friendly solutions to automate
the production office.
2 BFI Research and Statistics Unit, Film and other
screen sector production in the UK, January to
September (Q1-Q3) 2017, November 2, 2017
Dr Laurence Sargent
meets HRH Prince Charles
at the Royal Television
Society’s 90th anniversary
reception. Photo Credit: Paul
Hampartsoumian for RTS
Sargent-Disc is
afamily business
that supports
the creative
endeavours of
the film and
and their ability
to raise finance,
efficiently and
understand their
workforce and
its diversity
Highlighting best practice
An ongoing investment in technology
has allowed Sargent-Disc to
successfully face the challenges of
a fast-growing industry. However,
this innovation and development of
new technologies also introduces
risk, requiring a constant focus on
security. As a result of the security of
its systems and processes, Sargent-
Disc has been awarded ISO 27001
certification, the internationally
recognised information security
management standard. With cyber
crime increasing, the certification
demonstrates best practices in
managing information security and
is an important part of Sargent-
Disc’s strategy to safeguard the
confidentiality, integrity and availability
of customer data.
Since 1986, Sargent-Disc has provided
payroll services to all of the major film
studios, US television networks, UK
broadcasters and a large number of
independent production companies.
It has worked across all genres
of production and budget scales,
from high-end dramatic television
productions to movies of the week,
documentaries, commercials and
feature films. Over the last three years,
productions serviced by Sargent-Disc
have been nominated for a total of
87 Baftas, 52 Oscars and 41 Golden
Globe Awards.
Looking to the future, Sargent-Disc is
well placed to expand internationally
and to weather any storms; however,
it is important for the UK industry to
allaythe uncertaintiesof Brexit and
for ourgovernmentto continueto
maintaina stable fiscal andco-
Sargent-Disc is
carbon neutral
and promotes
through its
Digital Production
Office® solutions
and its
partnership with
the BAFTAalbert
» Digital Purchase Order
»Award-winning and intuitive application
»Simplifies and automates purchase order
workflowand approval
» CrewStart™
»Secure, mobile-friendly crew and artist contracting
»Generation, approval and signature process of
contracts, start forms and time sheets
» Payroll
»Client portal for secure management reporting
»Submission of payroll information and messaging
» Payslip
»Employee and agency portal
»Secure viewing of payslips, payroll reports and
pension notices
» Payscales
»Easy-to-use application assists with budgeting
» Scenechronize/Studio Hub
»Scheduling software
»Document management and secure distribution
»Script breakdown and easily create sides
» Vista Accounting/Smart Accounting
»Production accounting and cost-reporting software
» Movie Magic Budgeting
»Budgeting software allowing easy and accurate
comparison of different shooting scenarios
» Movie Magic Scheduling
»Industry standard software enabling efficient
scheduling of complex productions of any scale
Sargent-Disc’s selection of digital products and services.

This article was sponsored by Sargent-Disc. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy