Welcome by the Chief Executive

Thank you so much for your interest in the Management Committee and for agreeing to serve your fellow members. The SoA could not function without the input of members like you.
 
Where we are now
You are joining the Management Committee at an exciting time. The last five or six years have seen a great deal of work in modernising the SoA. We have a new constitution, we have rebranded the organisation, built and released a new website and increased our social media from a standing start to over 35,000 Twitter followers. Staff roles have been considered and overhauled and we now have dedicated communications and events teams in addition to our advice, membership, estates, prizes and administration teams.
 
The SoA now has a strong infrastructure and is in a good position to go forward. Current work is focussing on more outward-facing activities such as campaigning, advertising our services, servicing local groups and involving membership. This has already paid dividends with a significantly increased growth rate in membership (both new members and retention of old members) since 2014. We are now at over 10,000 members. The SoA’s funding remains healthy. Subscription fees are competitive and good value for money due to the generosity of previous generations.
 
This year we have clarified our membership criteria and introduced student membership. With the staff, the Management Committee is considering ways to introduce younger members which will be implemented through 2018. We are also looking at more ways to improve our offer to local groups.
 
The SoA has increased its focus on campaigns. Successful recent campaigns have included payment for festivals and the introduction of PLR for ebooks. Ongoing campaigns include better contract terms (CREATOR) and maintaining the strong copyright regime and support for the creative industries in the face of Brexit. See our campaigns pages for more.
 
The SoA knows that this is a difficult time for authors. Earnings are falling and authors can be isolated or in a difficult bargaining positions. The SoA maintains its excellent tailored advice services. We also have extended events for authors: both skills training and community-based activities. New initiatives for 2018 will be setting up a mentoring scheme, seed-funded by a generous bequest to the SoA, and help and wellbeing advice and activities. We will also, with the ALCS, be undertaking an income survey of authors which will underpin campaigning in 2018.
 
The SoA is responsible for a number of grants and awards for authors. We will be considering how best to publicise our grants for authors in need to ensure that authors can take up opportunities and be enabled to write. We have been offered some new prizes and awards and will be considering how best to publicise these - where awards are lacking and how to fill those gaps. 
 
These will all be subjects of debate and discussion in the Management Committee to provide guidance for staff.
 
Drayton-gardens.jpgOne huge challenge and area of focus for the Management Committee will be the SoA’s property needs. 84 Drayton Gardens is no longer fit for purpose and the Management Committee has resolved that the SoA’s current properties should be sold and the SoA should move to a more convenient location and premises which better suit its needs, which are modern, accessible and efficient.
 
Unfortunately this decision has come at a difficult and stagnant time in the property market and finding a suitable property, purchasing it and moving are likely to be a significant focus for the new committee demanding swift and difficult decisions as conditions evolve.
 
We very much hope that you will enjoy your time on the Management Committee. We hope these guidance notes will give you a flavour of what to expect but do not hesitate to contact us with any query, however minor.
 
Chief Executive
2017