Last month as its 40th anniversary year drew to a close, the 39th AGM of ALCS was held at The Midland Hotel in Manchester.

Tony Bradman, Chair of ALCS welcomed over 100 assembled members to the AGM, “the first ever in this great city which gave birth to such fine writers as Frances Hodgson Burnett, Jack Rosenthal, John Cooper Clark, Lemn Sissay and Tony Walsh”.

He paid tribute to ALCS on its 40th birthday, saying that whilst it was a 2017 anniversary it shared with the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, it was “not just an antique to be cherished”, but a vibrant organisation with 93,000 members, which had collected almost half a billion pounds for writers since 1977. The principle behind ALCS’s work he said, remained, in the words of one of its founders, Maureen Duffy: “No use without payment.”

Owen Atkinson, Chief Executive of ALCS who himself is celebrating 20 years at its helm, then took to the stand. In its 40th anniversary year, ALCS had collected £32.1 million pounds, he told members, whilst it now had reciprocal agreements with 46 countries worldwide. There was however, no place for complacency in its work, he said, emphasising the continuing vital importance of ALCS’s lobbying work.

Barbara Hayes, ALCS’s Deputy Chief Executive then summarised the progress of that lobbying work over the past year, paying tribute to the contribution made by the All Party Writers’ Group (APWG) and the International Authors’ Foundation (IAF). Together with the Society of Authors, ALCS had been looking closely at the implications of Brexit for authors’ rights, and both organisations remained keen to maintain much of the existing EU rights landscape, after Britain’s exit from the European Union. Barbara also urged all members to sign up for Public Lending Right (PLR), recently extended to cover payments for remote e-book lending.

Owen Atkinson then highlighted ALCS’s Three Year Strategy to members, which can be found on the ALCS website. In it ALCS commits to maintaining value for its members, and also to be safe custodians of its members’ data. “We take the security of your data very seriously, employing both best practice, and the latest software”, he said. The new ALCS website had also improved the processes by which ALCS members can “tell us about all their works”. Finally, Owen highlighted a new piece of research which ALCS will be undertaking into author incomes in the New Year, and encouraged members to participate in it. “The core of ALCS remains writers”, he concluded.

The formal proceedings of the AGM then followed, including the statutory presentation of ALCS’s Accounts and Directors’ Report by Mark Bispham, Head of Finance. Richard Combes, Head of Rights and Licensing then addressed members about the Annual Transparency Report, in which, he explained, ALCS had tried to adhere to the new rules and regulations about such documents whilst also making the report useful to members. There followed the opportunity for members to ask questions of the ALCS management and its Board of Directors.

Tony Bradman closed the 2017 AGM by thanking the staff and Board of ALCS for all their hard work during the year. The 2018 ALCS AGM will be held in London next November.

For pictures of the event, see our facebook page.