Code of conduct for authors listed on the directory

Contents 

Introduction
Context
Background
Our commitment to equalities, diversity and inclusion

Expected standards of behaviour
Child protection
Session responsibilities
Expenses and payment
Social media
Free events

Misconduct
Defining misconduct
Reporting misconduct
Investigating misconduct
Investigating misconduct & the storytelling community
Addressing misconduct

Author agreement


Introduction

Thank you for sharing the joy of books, stories, reading and writing by carrying out events funded by Live Literature.

The vast majority of Live Literature events are a positive, rewarding experience for the author, the organisation and the audience. To protect audiences, authors, organisations and Scottish Book Trust, we ask authors to agree to the following code of conduct before taking on events. This mirrors a set of terms and conditions that organisations must agree to when they are funded by Live Literature.

Please read the following policy and email live.literature@scottishbooktrust.com if you have any concerns. This policy is a living document and feedback will be reviewed at each meeting of the Live Literature Advisory Panel (twice a year). It will be updated to reflect new legislation and best practice.

We asked that all authors wishing to be listed on the new website at launch sign this policy by Friday 12 October 2018. You can still sign up after this date and be added to the new directory in due course, but we can't guarantee your profile will be added at launch, although we'll do our best. This was necessary so that new profile content can be added to the new website in time for launch in 2019.



Context

Live Literature is a national programme of events connecting authors and communities across Scotland. Creative Scotland funds the programme and supports 1200 events per year. Authors are paid a fee of £175 plus expenses (within set guidelines) per session. Approximately 50,000 people attend Live Literature events each year.

Scottish Book Trust hosts a directory of over 750 writers (including poets), storytellers, playwrights, screenwriters, illustrators, graphic novelists and spoken word artists who meet set criteria. For brevity, we use ‘author’ to refer to any writer or creator who has a profile on the directory throughout this policy. These authors carry out Live Literature events. An advisory group meets twice a year to review the criteria and provide feedback on the programme.

Scottish Book Trust hosts the directory on its website and distributes funding for events at two deadlines each year.

There are separate and clearly defined policies where reported misconduct involves the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable people, which take priority over this conduct policy where relevant. These include but are not limited to: Scottish Book Trust’s Equal Opportunities Policy, Bullying and Harassment Policy, Child Protection Policy and Significant Incident Policy.

Background

  • This code ensures the high quality of Live Literature events, the good reputation of all authors on the directory, as well as the reputation of Scottish Book Trust, so that we can continue to be effective advocates and champions for the rights of authors and the value of their work. 
  • Authors listed on the directory must adhere to the code of conduct when carrying out Live Literature events. 
  • Organisations must agree to a set of terms and conditions when they are awarded funding. You can read this policy here, including what we will do if you report misconduct by a representative of a host organisation.
  • This code of conduct applies to anyone who works on your behalf on Live Literature events or represents you in communication with Scottish Book Trust or host organisations, e.g. agent, PA, publicist. We will contact you directly if we receive reports of their misconduct. 
  • As an author listed on the Live Literature directory, you agree that we can contact you about the programme or directory at any time. 
  • If you have feedback or concerns, or if you would like to contact us about misconduct by a representative of a hosting organisation, please email live.literature@scottishbooktrust.com.

Our commitment to equalities, diversity and inclusion

  • Scottish Book Trust is working for a Scotland where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive, no matter what their background. We want to turn Scotland into a nation of readers and develop our country’s writing talent.
  • Scottish Book Trust is committed to the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion. 
  • Scottish Book Trust does not tolerate bullying or harassment of any kind. 
  • Scottish Book Trust champions the rights of authors and advocates for the value of their work. 
  • Decisions based on this code of conduct, at the discretion of Scottish Book Trust staff, will always be taken within the context of our commitment to equalities, diversity and inclusion.

Expected standards of behaviour

We expect that authors will act in a way that upholds these standards when carrying out events funded by Live Literature:

  • An author’s conduct outside paid events is normally of no concern to Scottish Book Trust. However, we reserve the right to treat activities outside of paid events as misconduct if those activities 
    • present a risk of future harm to audiences, pupils or staff of host organisations, or 
    • are likely to severely damage the reputation of Scottish Book Trust or the Live Literature Programme.
  • When carrying out events funded by Live Literature, we expect authors to act with integrity and good faith when communicating with hosting organisations and Scottish Book Trust about the programme. 
  • Authors must respect audiences and staff of host organisations. They should act in a way that is professional, respectful and appropriate. We ask that representatives of organisations treat authors with the same respect and professionalism.

Child protection

  • Authors must respect confidential information gained in the course of professional practice, e.g. creative writing workshops, unless the wellbeing of an individual requires disclosure to the host organisation or school. 
  • You don’t need to have a disclosure/PVG check to carry out Live Literature events. It is the responsibility of the host organisation to supervise you appropriately when working with children or vulnerable adults during the session. We expect you to take reasonable steps and work with the host organisation to help them ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. 
  • If the host organisation informs you of health and safety, child protection or public liability insurance policies that apply during your visit, you must follow them.

Session responsibilities

We have outlined what authors can expect in a session and from organisers on our website. We expect that you will:

  • Prepare for and carry out the event to the best of your abilities and in line with the conduct expectations above.
  • Let the host and Scottish Book Trust know as soon as possible if you can no longer carry out the event for any reason. 
  • Send in your claim form as soon as you can.

Expenses and payment

Authors can claim expenses for travel, accommodation and subsistence within our guidelines. Fees are paid within 30 days of Scottish Book Trust receiving your claim form. You can read an outline of our payment process on our website.

It is your responsibility to submit the claim form as soon as you can after the event. It is the organisation’s responsibility to do their half of the form either online or on paper as soon as possible so that you can do this. If there’s a significant delay on the part of the organisation, please let us know.

Social media

We really appreciate your support in spreading the power and joy of books, reading and writing, and we hope you will enjoy carrying out events through Live Literature.

Please be aware that our code of conduct applies to both online and offline behaviour e.g. online bullying and harassment. If you would like to reference Scottish Book Trust’s directory online e.g. your twitter biography etc., we can send you our short, good practice social media guidelines for partners. Please email live.literature@scottishbooktrust.com for a copy.

Free events

Live Literature exists to bring authors into communities across Scotland and to advocate for authors to be paid for the work that they do.

Please be aware that you cannot receive the support of the programme while offering free or discounted events in a way that undermines the purpose of the programme e.g. offering Buy One Get One Free events linked to SBT funding. We consider this misconduct.

For more about event fees, and constructive ways to waive your fee in exceptional circumstances if you chose to do so, see our FAQ.


Misconduct


Defining misconduct

Misconduct is when the behaviour of an event organiser or visiting author does not meet the expected standards of behaviour, and their actions or conduct

  • cause harm to other people or endanger other people
  • have a negative effect on the success of the event
  • damage or may damage the reputation of the author, host organisation or Scottish Book Trust

This policy sets out expected standards of behaviour and seeks to convey not just what people do but how they do it while representing or supported by the Live Literature programme. These standards emphasise the need to be respectful and professional at all times. If it is clear that an event organiser or author has not been respectful or professional, this is misconduct.

Where this is unclear, Scottish Book Trust takes into account that

  • behaviour that is considered misconduct by one person may be considered acceptable by another, and 
  • that Live Literature events take place in a huge variety of settings and involve a wide range of audiences. The definition of appropriate and professional conduct will vary depending on the setting, and this broad use of Live Literature is key to its value. 

For this reason, we emphasise the importance of clear, honest communication between event organisers and visiting authors.

It is the responsibility of the author to be respectful and professional; it is the responsibility of the host organisation to make sure the author has received any specific information they need to act appropriately in the host’s venue beyond this general expectation.

Reporting misconduct

  • If you are an author, reporting misconduct by a representative of a host organisation, we will work with you to hear the information in a way that best supports you, including but not limited to email, phone or in a meeting. 
  • Please note that we do need you to tell us what has occurred directly. We cannot share, promote, respond to, act on or make decisions based solely on information that has been posted or shared online, e.g. social media, website comment, blog entry, or on information relayed indirectly, e.g. rumour.
  • If someone has told you information that you feel Scottish Book Trust or the Live Literature programme needs to know, please ask that person to contact us directly (by email: kayleigh.bohan@scottishbooktrust.com and/or caitrin.armstrong@scottishbooktrust.com).
  • In all cases, we will take your correspondence seriously and treat it in strict confidence. Making such a report will not affect in any way the level of service you receive from us.


Investigating misconduct

The vast majority of Live Literature events are a positive, rewarding experience for the author, the organisation and the audience. Where problems arise, Scottish Book Trust will do its best to resolve issues between organisations and authors in the following ways:

We may ask to see emails or other written communication about the event.

We may request to meet with you or the organisation in person or on the phone to ask further questions about the event.

We will keep a record that a complaint was made and any actions arising from that complaint.

Scottish Book Trust will look into all reports of misconduct and involve both the host organisation and the author as is appropriate.

Decisions based on this conduct policy made by Scottish Book Trust staff are always the result of a discussion between at least two contracted members of staff, and moderated or overseen by a member of Management Team or Senior Management Team, as appropriate.

Investigating misconduct & the storytelling community

To be listed as a storyteller on the author directory, you must first be an accredited storyteller on the Directory of Storytellers (TRACS) as set out in our criteria. After gaining your accreditation, you would apply to the author directory, reading and accepting this Code of Conduct as part of submitting your application.

If you are registered on both directories please note the following:

  • If the Scottish Storytelling Forum receives a complaint about the conduct of a storyteller, they will investigate and address this complaint in line with their own policies, as set out in their handbook. 
  • Scottish Book Trust and the Scottish Storytelling Forum will only share information about complaints while they are under investigation if relevant TRACS or SBT staff believe 
    • there is a present or immediate risk of future harm to audiences, pupils or staff of host organisations, or 
    • there is a present or immediate risk of severe damage to the reputation of Scottish Book Trust, Scottish Storytelling Forum or the Live Literature Programme.
  • In most cases, if Scottish Book Trust receives a report of misconduct by a storyteller we will investigate and address this as with any other practitioner on our directory. However, if a complaint made to Scottish Book Trust is about the conduct of a storyteller outside of our programmes, and our staff feel we are not best placed to address this, you may be asked to direct your complaint to the Scottish Storytelling Forum. A record will still be held by Scottish Book Trust that a complaint was made. 
  • Similarly, if a complaint made to the Scottish Storytelling Forum concerns misconduct at a Live Literature event, you may be asked to direct your complaint to Scottish Book Trust instead.
  • If you are excluded from the Directory of Storytellers as a result of the Scottish Storytelling Forum, the Storytelling Network Co-ordinator will notify Scottish Book Trust. We will begin a process of investigating and assessing misconduct based on this information, which may result in your profile being removed from the Scottish Book Trust directory. 
  • If Scottish Book Trust is satisfied that serious or repeated misconduct by a storyteller has taken place, we will share this information as soon as possible with the Storytelling Network Co-ordinator and the Director of TRACS. TRACS will follow its own misconduct and complaints procedures from there, taking this information into account.

Addressing misconduct

If misconduct by an author has occurred, we may take some or all of the following steps as appropriate:

  • Issue a warning that any future misconduct will result in the removal of your profile from the directory.
  • Ask to meet with you to discuss how a conflict can be avoided in future. 
  • Where misconduct by an author is serious, or presents a risk of harm to audiences and Scottish Book Trust, we reserve the right to remove your profile without warning while we look into the matter. 
  • In cases of serious or repeated misconduct, we may permanently remove your profile from the directory. 
  • Scottish Book Trust reserves the right to withhold or deny payment for sessions where serious misconduct has occurred, to be decided on a case-by-case basis.


Author agreement

Thank you for taking the time to read this policy. If you have any queries, please email live.literature@scottishbooktrust.com.

In order for your profile to be listed on the new website when it launches, please record your agreement to this Code of Conduct below by Friday 12 October. You can still sign up after this date and be added to the new directory in due course, but we can't guarantee your profile will be added at launch, although we'll do our best.

Thank you.