ABOUT THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
Structure of the Management Committee
The Management Committee consists of 12 elected professional writers (who serve for three years). The Management Committee are unpaid volunteers who receive out-of-pocket-expenses. Each member has an equal say and equal vote, although the Chair may sometimes have a casting vote. It has a leadership and governance role and is accountable to members. The Management Committee elects a new Chair every two years (which may mean an extension of the term of office of the Chair)
The SoA is a limited company (with a share capital of roughly £70) .All major policy and strategy decisions are taken by the Management Committee. Management Committee members are directors of the company and therefore have all the duties of a director set out below although most of the day to day duties are delegated to the staff.
Meetings are held every town months, usually in January, March, May, July, September and November (before the AGM). Meetings take place on Thursdays, beginning at 3-3.30pm and finishing around 5.30pm. Committee members are urged to attend as many meetings as possible
The SoA’s Authors’ Awards party is in June and Management Committee members are invited and are encouraged to attend.
Candidates must have been full members of the SoA for at least three months.
No candidate may:
- be an employee of the SoA;
- have previously served on the Management Committee for two consecutive terms of office unless a period of one year has elapsed.
All nominees must declare their willingness, if elected, to fulfil the role and commitments of a member of the Management Committee and declare that they are not disqualified to act as a director.
The system for electing Management Committee members is as follows:
Any Member may suggest one or more Members as suitable for consideration by the Management Committee as a member of it by notifying the Chief Executive at any time.
At its January meeting the Management Committee will identify any skills or experience the Management Committee deems particularly useful or important bearing in mind the current make-up of the Committee.
After that meeting the SoA will circulate an invitation for nominations which will identify the retiring members and the number of vacancies as well as the remaining members.
Nominations for candidates for election to the Management Committee must be received by the SoA by 28 February and are to include:
- the name and address of the candidate;
- the candidate’s SoA membership number;
- the candidate’s signature indicating that he or she is willing, and eligible, to stand for election;
- the names and signatures of two nominating Members;
- a statement of up to 500 words setting out the candidate’s views, interests and experience and, at his or her option, a photograph of the candidate.
At its March meeting the Management Committee will decide whether it wishes to indicate a preference for any of the candidates. The Management Committee may indicate a preference for any number of candidates up to the number of vacancies.
All the nominations will be announced together (usually on the website and in the summer edition of The Author) and if there are more nominations than places an election will take place. Election papers will usually be sent out with the Summer edition of The Author. The Management Committee may indicate its preferred candidates up to the number of vacancies by a star or other indication on the ballot paper or other document circulated to Members as part of the election process.
The successful candidates will be invited to attend the AGM and Management Committee as observers in the autumn. The term of office of each member of the Management Committee shall be three years from immediately after the AGM to the AGM three years later.
The first Committee meeting which the successful candidates will be eligible to attend as members will be that following the AGM, which will usually be in January.
Duties of the Management Committee
The Management Committee works as a team to make decisions, and has ultimate responsibility for the SoA. All major policy and strategy decisions are taken by the Management Committee, while the administration of the SoA and the day-to-day running of the office lie with the Chief Executive, Nicola Solomon, and the staff.
As a Management Committee member you are a director of the company and have the legal responsibilities set out below.
You must exercise a degree of skill and care. This includes:
- showing the skill expected of a person with your knowledge and experience;
- acting as a reasonable person would do looking after their own business.
You must act in good faith in the interests of the company as a whole. This includes:
- treating all members equally;
- avoiding conflicts of interest;
- declaring any conflicts of interest;
- not making personal profits at the SoA's expense;
- not accepting benefits from third parties.
You must obey the law [in practice most of these functions are carried out routinely by the SoA’s staff]:
- company law requires you to ensure that the staff produce proper accounts and send various documents to Companies House;
- other laws include areas such as health and safety, employment law and tax;
- you may be responsible for the actions of SoA employees.
The Management Committee must ensure that the SoA understands and complies with its own governing document, relevant laws, contractual obligations and the requirements of any regulatory bodies.
- Internal controls
The Management Committee should maintain and regularly review the SoA’s system of internal controls, performance reporting, policies and procedures.
The Management Committee must act prudently to protect the assets and property of the Society and ensure that they are used to deliver the SoA’s objectives.
- Managing risk
The Management Committee should understand and regularly review the risks to which the SoA is subject and take action to manage the risks identified.
- Managing staff and volunteers
The Management Committee needs to understand the distinction between employees and volunteers and ensure that good practice in the recruitment and management of both staff and volunteers is in place.
Acting improperly can, in extreme circumstances lead to fines, disqualification from being a director, personal liability for the Society’s debts or a criminal conviction.
ABOUT THE SoA
The SoA has over 9,000 members writing in all areas of the profession. Whatever an author’s specialisation, they are eligible to join as soon as they have been offered a contract from a publisher, broadcaster or agent.
1. Contracts and other member advice including:
d) Negotiating, marketing and selling
e) Small claims and chasing debts
f) Legal- defamation, privacy, copyright
g) Wills and Estates
2. Collective negotiation
Negotiation on rates and collective bargaining, for instance with the BBC.
3. Advocacy on authors’ rights and interests
a) Monitoring, inform and lobbying:
(i) Liaison with other trade bodies
(ii) Negotiation and lobbying with publishers and agents on e.g. eBook royalties and agents’ publishing
(iii) Industry campaigns, e.g. World Book Day and Night
(iv) Liaison with Pressure Groups; Libraries Campaign, Pen, Libel Reform etc.
b. Comment to press on Publishing Industry matters
c. Monitoring, informing and influencing the political process
(ii) Improved Public Funding and resource support for literary creation eg PLR
(iii) Broader support of authors and authors’ rights. E.g. lobbying on cultural education, defamation and copyright, libraries and reading
5. Grants, Pensions and awards, including the Authors’ Foundation
6. Membership Discounts and Benefits
7. Membership Information and Community
b) Author Magazine
d) Rates and Surveys
e) Social Media
f) Organising Social Events
g) Maintaining a database of members’ specialisations,
h) Professional development programme- training courses and workshops
8. Managing Literary Estates