FREELANCE WORKING AGREEMENT AND FREELANCE DIRECTORY
Freelance workers are very vulnerable to poor working practice; 2020 has highlighted and exacerbated this existing problem, particularly in the art sector.
As a result of the pandemic we know lots of organisations started to look at the way they were working with freelancers and reforming these practices. We’ve seen organisations keen to ensure that their rescue funding reaches the freelancers they depend on, but this has been difficult.
We wanted to facilitate a way to standardise and coordinate these efforts and ensure that organisations are checking back to freelancers.
We decided to start with a written agreement that can be signed by organisations and workers alike, which holds both parties to ideals of best practice - ideals to be decided by our community.
We think the Working Agreement should be a summation of best working practice, including hiring, advertising of job roles, fair pay, prompt payment of invoices, strategies to remove nepotism, commitments to induction and training practices, contracts, promotion of diversity etc. These are best practice aims, to be met as far as possible depending on the size and scope of an organisation.
The Working Agreement will not be a binding set of conditions, but a mark of excellence and formal starting point for communication between employer and employee.
We are so pleased to announce that we will receive ACE funding to facilitate this project to benefit art sector workers in Liverpool City Region.
The Freelance Working Agreement will be devised over 10 weeks by a weekly committee made up of representatives from organisations and individual freelancers.
Sitting on the committee will be an opportunity to get around the table with a diversity of players from your industry and to shape the way freelancers are treated and valued for the future.
If you can’t be there to actually write the agreement, there will still be plenty of opportunities to help shape it - we will be reaching out for your experiences, expertise, thoughts and feelings throughout the process and feeding these back to the committee who will consider information, problem solve and make decisions.
We’ve already seen support from cultural organisations and freelancers who are keen to use the agreement when they are arranging work, including Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse theatres, Collective Encounters, Bluecoat, unity theatre, Liverpool's Royal Court, Homotopia Arts, Writing on the Wall, National Museums Liverpool, Culture Liverpool, Open Culture and many more.
With the help of some of these partners, we’ve also been able to secure extra funding to ensure every individual freelancer giving up their time to sit on the committee will be paid for it.
We're currently recruiting our freelance committee members and now we need to hear from organisations!
If you are an art sector organisation, small or large, and you can spare a member of your team for two hours a week, for 10 weeks, from March 8th, please send us an email to express your interest: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Working Agreement needs to work for freelancers and organisations of all shapes and sizes, so please show your support for the process by getting in touch by:
Monday March 1st at 5pm.
(All we need, for now, is to hear whether you are interested and have the capacity to contribute, we have limited spaces so we will make decisions about representatives after March 1st and get back to you.)
If you can't afford to send someone to sit on the committee to write the agreement, that's ok, we understand that every organisation is different and that these are difficult times. There will be plenty of other opportunities to influence the content of the agreement by attending one off meetings, sending us information or consulting on the final document - look out for our outreach calls over the coming weeks.
The Agreement is also part of a wider project of outreach that will include the formation of a new, FREE to use, Freelance Directory for your profiles, helping us all honour the Agreement by making hiring and job seeking a much more practical, accessible and open process.
We want to ensure that a wide range of people and disciplines from the art industry are represented, from technicians, to fine artists, musicians, writers, performers, designers, producers and project managers. We will also work hard to ensure the committee is inclusive and encourage participation by under represented groups.
If you work in any creative industry in a freelance, self employed, short term, project based or similar capacity, please get in touch with us to speak up for your community!
We'll post information about outreach and community contributions here and on our social media channels.