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WGAFO Glossary


The first two terms are particularly important in the context of this document so we have explained them first, the rest are alphabetically listed.


Freelancer - Anyone working as self-employed or worker on a job to job basis, not permanently employed. Many freelancers are placed on short term PAYE contracts.

Organisation - We have used this term throughout the Guidance, but by this we mean any commissioner of work or employer, including individuals who might employ freelancers.


Associated Artist - A person who works with a company for a period of time, usually with the aim of developing their own creative practice. They will sometimes be commissioned to make work specifically for that company and lead on projects, or work alongside the Artistic Director on the delivery of projects.

BECTU - A trade union representing non-performance roles in broadcasting; film and cinema; digital media; independent production; leisure; IT and telecoms, and theatre and the arts.

Board member - A group of people, sometimes elected, who jointly supervise the activities of an organization

Brand - A name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that helps people identify a particular company, product, or individual.

BSL - British Sign Language, which is a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression, and body language.

Biography (biog) - A description of a person's professional history including things such as, where they trained, what jobs they have done and what achievements they have attained in their field.

Call outs - Is a notice calling for freelancers to contribute, apply for or enter various proposed events/jobs. They are sometimes general in terms of who they are aimed at in order to increase the amount of people who can apply. Some call outs will be specific to a type of freelancer eg. ‘Freelancers between the age of 18-25’, ‘Freelancers based in the North West’.

Citizens’ Advice Bureau - is an independent organisation specialising in confidential information and advice to assist people with legal, debt, consumer, housing and other problems.

Client -  a person or company that receives a service from a person or business in return for payment.

Creative networking events - Events specifically focused on developing connections and relationships with others within the creative industry.

Conflict of Interest -  A situation in which a person has a duty to more than one person or organisation. Making it difficult for that person to remain impartial or neutral in the situation.

Contract - A written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, that is intended to be enforceable by law.

Contractor - A person who is self-employed who operates on a contract basis for clients, meaning they are not on their payroll. They can also work for more than one company at a time.

Cover Letter - An introduction letter or email when applying for a job/role. It will accompany the other documents that are required to submit an application eg. CV, application form or audition self-tape

Credit - The acknowledgement of a person's input and work usually by name. Examples of this are labelling/tagging photographs with the photographer or mentioning an artists input in the show programme.

CV (curriculum vitae) - A documented record of a person's education, training and employment history.

Debrief - A discussion aimed at looking back over a situation in order to reflect, raise questions and highlight any issues.

Deficit - Essentially when expenditure exceeds the income. So a freelancer working at a deficit could mean they are spending more on being able to do the job, than what they are getting paid for it.

Demographic - A particular sector of a population or a group of people based on factors such as age, race and gender.

Discrimination - the unfair or prejudicial treatment of people and groups based on characteristics such as race, gender, age or sexual orientation.

Diversity and Inclusion - Diversity looks at the representation of different people within a space, whereas Inclusion is ensuring that everyone in that space has the opportunity to contribute to and influence every part and level equally.

DBS check - A check of your criminal record which will show details of all spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings held on central police records (apart from protected convictions and cautions). There are three levels of DBS checks: basic, standard and enhanced.

DWP - The Department For Work and Pensions. It is responsible for welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy and administers the State Pension, working age, disability and ill health benefits.

Emerging Artist/Talent - An artist who is considered new in their professional field and at the beginning of their career. 

Employee - All employees have an employment contract with their employer. A contract is an agreement that sets out an employee’s: employment conditions, rights, responsibilities, duties. Employees and employers must stick to a contract until it ends. (for example, by an employer or employee giving notice or an employee being dismissed).

Employee Shareholder - Employee shareholder is an employment status. An employee shareholder is someone who works under an employee shareholder employment contract. As an employee shareholder you must receive shares in the employer’s company or employer’s parent company.

Equity - A UK trade union for performers and creative practitioners.

Ethos - The beliefs, customs or practices of a group.

Expenses - An amount of money that is allocated to cover extra costs other than the work. For example, travel and accommodation.

Facilitation - the planning and running of successful meetings or workshops with certain groups of people. eg.  a youth theatre group.

Governance structures - structures and processes that an organisation puts in place to ensure policies, procedures, values and long-term planning meet the mission of the organisation.

Grievance - concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employer.

Grievance policy - outlines a company's process and guidelines, which an employee must follow in order to raise a problem or complaint to their employer.

HR - Human Resources - A department within a company/organisation that deals with things such as recruitment, payroll, employment policies and benefits. They can clarify basic company information such as maternity leave and sick pay.

Income Tax - The tax a person pays on their income.

Intellectual property - Intellectual property is something that you create using your mind - for example, a story, an invention, an artistic work or a symbol.

Induction -  The process of getting acquainted with a new employer or organisation. Business. Being provided with the information and training required to be able to do your job/role.

Invoice - a date recorded document that itemizes and records a transaction between an organisation/employer and freelancer. The invoice usually specifies the terms of the employment and provides information on the amount and required method of payment.

Invoice Number - A unique number given to an invoice which can be used to identify it. It can help you keep track of your financial records, and will often be the reference given when a payment is made.

ITC - Independent Theatre Council is a management association representing the independent performing arts sector. It is a paid membership scheme, which provides resources and legal and financial advice to its members. They have a free page that outlines rates of pay.

Letters of agreement - Is a dated agreement between two parties that puts the terms and conditions of this agreement in writing. It can include details of the working relationship, payment terms and the schedule of work. Once this is signed by both parties, it is a legally binding document.

Limited company - A limited company pays corporation tax on its profits, and the liability of the company lies with its shareholders and guarantors.

NI/ National Insurance - A tax on earnings to help to build your entitlement to certain state benefits, such as the State Pension and Maternity Allowance. If you  are employed, these contributions will be deducted from your wage. If you are self-employed, you will be responsible for paying them yourself. (see self assessment). 

Nepotism - A form of favouritism favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.

Non disclosure agreements - Sometimes referred to as a confidentiality agreement, it is a legally binding contract that says that the information that a person receives in a situation/job, will remain confidential. This may be until a particular time has passed, or may be indefinite.

Office Hours - The hours in which a person/organisation conducts its business operations. Common practice is Monday - Friday 9am-5pm. But this can vary depending on the type of business.

Open Call - Is a broad notice calling for freelancers to contribute, apply for or enter various proposed events/jobs. Similar to a call out (see above), it is on the whole, much more generalised in its aims. Eg. A call out for actors/stage managers/designers.

Outreach - The effort an organisation makes to connect with communities, in order to share ideas and to improve the support it can provide to them.

Out-duction - The process of being given the relevant information when leaving a job/role.

Overtime - Hours worked outside of those that have been outlined in the contract. These may be a different rate of pay than contracted hours.

Pastoral support - Support and guidance centred around physical and emotional welfare.

PAYE - Pay As You Earn. When you are a PAYE employee it means your tax is deducted from your wage by your employer before you receive it. The employer then pays this to the Government.

Payment Schedule - The timeline and dates of when payments will be made.

Person Specification - A description of the personal attributes qualifications, skills, experience and knowledge a person must possess to perform or be considered for a job/role.

Power Structures - The way in which power or authority is distributed between people within groups or organisations.

Pronouns - Examples of gender pronouns: she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs. The way in which someone wishes to be referred to by others.

Preparation time - The time given before a job for the devising, arranging or development of the work to be completed.

Publicity - material or information used for advertising or promotional purposes.

POs - Purchase Orders - an official document issued by a buyer committing to pay the seller for the sale of specific products or services to be delivered in the future. Each PO has a unique number associated with it that helps both buyer and seller track delivery and payment.

Press pack - Set of promotional materials such as photos, logos and images that provide information about a person, show, event or organisation, which is sent to members of the media for promotional use.

Safeguarding - Measures to protect the health, well-being and human rights of individuals — especially children, young people and vulnerable adults. This includes legislation and written public guidance.

Self Assessment Tax - This is the process in which self-employed people and sole traders declare their yearly income in order to be able to pay their income tax and National Insurance contributions (see above).

Self-Employed - A person is self-employed if they run their business for themselves and take responsibility for its success or failure. They are responsible for paying their own tax, which they do via Self Assessment (see above). A person can be employed and self-employed at the same time.

Staff handbook - A book that references/outlines a company’s policies, procedures and practices.

Sole trader - you run your own business as an individual and are self-employed.

Trade Union - organisations made up of members who come together to look after their interests at work. MORE DETAIL TO FOLLOW

Unconscious bias - Are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness and are often incompatible with one’s conscious values.

UTR - Unique Taxpayer Reference. This is a ten digit number that you will be given when you register to pay tax. It is personal to you and is required for filing self assessment, and sometimes organisations request it on invoices.

Worker - A person is generally classed as a ‘worker’ if:

-They have a contract or other arrangement to do work or services personally for a reward, money or a benefit in kind, for example the promise of a contract or future work.

-They only have a limited right to send someone else to do the work (subcontract)

-They have to turn up for work even if they don’t want to.

-Their employer has to have work for them to do as long as the contract or arrangement lasts.

-They aren’t doing the work as part of their own limited company in an arrangement where the ‘employer’ is actually a customer or client.

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