Meet Barbara Hayes

On 1 November 2022, after 18 years at ALCS, Barbara Hayes took over as Chief Executive of ALCS. We caught up with her to find out a little more about her aspirations for the role.

How does it feel to have landed the job as CEO?

I’m delighted! I’d been in the Deputy role for 16 years where my focus was around advocacy, membership and some operational parts of the organisation. But it’s fantastic to be in a new role with different challenges ahead – I’m really excited to get going on our pathway, which is set out for the next five years in our new strategic plan.

How did you come to work at ALCS?

I was doing my CIPD qualification with a previous ALCS HR manager, and she told me what a lovely company it was to work for. At the time I made an off-the-cuff comment, saying “If ever you leave, do think of me” – and within 3 months, she was off to work in Hong Kong and so I interviewed for the job. She wasn’t wrong, it is a lovely company to work for!

You’ve been heading up advocacy at ALCS for a long time. What have you and the team achieved?

The thing I am most proud of in terms of advocacy in the UK is the work we’ve done with the All Party Parliamentary Writers Group in parliament. Through that, we’ve raised so many issues affecting writers, brought them to the attention of relevant Ministers and really brought those into the public eye too.

Our members too have been very helpful in raising issues with parliament; we’ve created a website called Writers Write, which enables them to easily contact their MP and raise issues of importance to writers. We’ve seen the extension of PLR to remote elending, which has worked out well for writers, particularly in the pandemic when online borrowing exploded. We’ve been raising issues at the right level in government, tabling parliamentary questions, feeding into Westminster Hall debates and more to make these issues heard.

On the international side, ALCS acts as the secretariat to the International Authors Forum, which represents writers’ and visual artists organisations, and those organisations feed into issues that are being discussed at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva.

You travel a lot for work, will you be travelling in your new role?

Pre-pandemic, there was a significant amount of travelling because the way to make your voice heard was to get in front of people, wherever they may be in the world. Post-pandemic, I think it’s a slightly different story as we’re all working in a more hybrid way. We’re also more conscious about the need to create a sustainable planet. I do think that getting in front of people and building those relationships is important and while I don’t think that there is a substitute for that online, ALCS is being more measured in the way that we approach it.

What do you think the future holds for ALCS?

Making sure that we can continue to get substantial sources of income coming in for our members is vital. We are always looking to make sure members are paid for all uses of their works. Some of these opportunities and threats are coming at us at a fast rate; we are looking at fallout from Brexit, we’re looking at the difficult working conditions from the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis, so getting money in and out to our members is paramount. A big investment project is coming up too, to develop our IT systems so that they can cope with the millions of lines of data that form the basis of our members payments. It’s a large project, but one we need to do. It’s an exciting time, which will help us to make the complex easy.

Finally, what do you like to do outside of ALCS?

I confess, a lot of my time is focussed on work, but I do like to relax with a bit of cross stitch – I find it very cathartic!