Chair: Josie Underwood

Minutes: Alistair Cope

Present: There were 8 members present for today’s meeting and those names are available on request. See AOB.


We started the meeting with the question: What Chocolate Bar would we be ‘today?’ The question made me hungry. A lot. 

Values 11 and 7 were read out today. 

Our anti-racism statement was read.

We are trialing a note taking app today (Fireflies). It doesn’t seem to be working properly yet so Alistair is taking notes (sorry).

Updates and reports

  • The Stage Awards

We attended on Monday. We didn’t win but we were on a great shortlist. It was heartening to hear many of the award winners mention their freelancers. There seemed to be a good language shift towards the use of the word ‘freelancer.’ Still lots of work clearly to do but we felt this was a win. Paul has been in touch with Lyn Gardner about opening some more channels of communication with The Stage

  • Big Freelancer Survey update

PCJ – We’ve got the survey more or less together. We want to launch in a month so we’re going to run and alpha test (the BFS group) and then a beta test (with the wider FMTW group). We also need to look at budget. Should we continue having Scottish, Welsh and Irish language versions as they had little to no interaction.

JU – We had a meeting last Thursday and went through the whole survey. Many of the Qs are like last year’s but we have added a few more in (and taken some old ones out). We should be ready to test early next week.

In terms of budget we could look at cutting some of the translations but we must acknowledge this. Should we continue with the BSL and ISL intros – decision made YES. 

We’ve got less budget from The Uni Of Essex so we are having to cover more costs this time. We can divert some funds for it to cover this.

Kate Morley has offered to repeat her services ‘in kind’ this year which is brilliant. 

VM – Should we do a newsletter about ‘how we create the survey’ showing the care that goes into it. 

PCJ – Absolutely. The Arts Council Survey was deliberately modeled on our so we need to explain WHY we need this survey and WHY it is different. This is a survey of freelancers, for freelancers, by freelancers.

-Stage door poster campaign

This will be a poster that we send to stage doors with a QR code that links through to the survey and/or website.

AC – should this be a ‘generic’ poster or one specifically about BFS which would ‘date’ quite quickly?

JU – We should use some stats to make it really bold but simple. ‘Pow, pow.’

PC – Yes, bold simple but with a stat that underlines the importance of what we do. And also adding the Listen, support and advocate. 

AC – I can mock some things up for the next week. We can print them out pretty cheaply but the cost of postage is now quite high so we should look at how we get them out.

  • Sara Whybrew meeting

When we were doing the ‘Good Work Review’ consultations. Sara lead them. She is a brilliant woman who knows a lot about employment law. She has offered to chat to us about employment law and the blurred lines where freelancers sit.

We have a meeting with her on Feb 13th at 1.30pm. We’re opening the meeting up to people we feel would be good to attend. Please email Josie if you would like to go.

PC – Sara has worked with Keith (our solicitor). Would Nikki be good? Someone from BECTU too? Sunita attended the CIISA meeting and is committed to continuing that.

JU – Josie, Mimi and Paule are confirmed for the meeting (possibly Bill) so far.

VM – Would it be worth me inviting Rebecca (legal brain at The National) to the meeting. Specifically thinking about the legislation around the ‘equalities act’ and employing freelancers throughout a building. 

For reference: “The Government should bring forward legislative proposals to extend the protections relating to discrimination and harassment in the Equality Act 2010 to include all freelancers. Limitation periods for Equality Act-based discrimination and sexual harassment claims should be extended to six months. In the meantime, the Government should set out clearly in its response to this report-which freelance workers are currently entitled to protections under the Equality Act and which are excluded from that protection. (Recommendation, Paragraph 62)”

PC – A lot of Freelancers have no idea about this (the equalities act) and it is shocking. It is there to favor and protect the employers. Is this a ‘call to arms.’ If nothing else, we as FMTW should learn more about it and we can educate people about it and take action on it.

VM – It may not be appropriate to invite some people but it would be good to get a sense-check of the process buildings have etc.

PC – We should also try and find a musician perhaps. As well as company managers etc. Would it be useful for Silvia from Backstage Niche? And perhaps and agent?

JU – Do we have funds to cover people to attend this meeting? 

VM – We have equal ops responsibilities etc when we start paying for some but not all.

PCJ – Absolutely part of the conversation that is happening at board level.

  • Community rep project

PC – We realised creating the pilot alone and doing it properly is a job of work. We are committing funds to pay someone to oversee the project. The first element of this is sorting the board out which is now smaller and shaping up. We’ve raised funds around ‘safeguarding’ and we are learning a lot about it. We have to get those policies in place before we bring anyone onboard. That is priority one, protecting people within FMTW, those coming into FMTW and those interacting with FMTW.

  • Paul Hamlyn Foundation Update

JU – This is ongoing and we are currently in a place where we have an offer of funds. We have to tick some boxes and sign somethings but it is looking good for a grant. They have also passed on some names of people who could help us with specific work. Basically, all good currently.

  1. Agenda points (10.00-11.15)
  • CIISA letter

Creative Independent Standards Authority. When we spoke to DCMS we explained our worries and concerns about freelancer representation and anonymity etc. We are supplying a document that we can share with them. Document is ready for feedback here: LINK


  • An un-minuted discussion was held about The Richard III issue at The Globe. This was un-minuted to allow for anonymity. 


-Identify and invite people to Sara Whybrew meeting – Josie to create a call out to the wider group.

-Alistair to create poster mockups.

-Feedback on CIISA document: Link

Josie to add call to action about the unminuted discussion to email/whatsapp.