Committees and Groups

The interaction between members and staff is essential to our work and a range of councils, communities and task forces facilitate this.

The groups all perform a variety of roles and functions, covering the full breadth of our members’ businesses and interests. They provide information, direction and instruction to our staff, taking care at all times to ensure no competition law issues arise.

Councils

Our Council and Sector Councils are decision-making boards comprising senior executives representing the main sectors of membership.

Council

Council is chaired by the President of the Publishers Association with support from the Vice President (treasurer) and Past President.

It oversees the organisation’s internal affairs, including budget, governance and strategy. Decision-making on major issues takes place at Council, often with input and recommendations from the councils and groups that report in.

The Council has 12 seats available, plus Officers and up to six ex-officio seats. Council members serve a three year term, renewable for a further three years after which the Council member must leave for at least a year before re-election. Elections for seats take place at the Annual General Meeting.

Sector Councils

Reporting to Council are four Sector Councils, which meet four times a year.

The four Sector Councils provide a space where each sector of the publishing industry can come together to discuss the external environment they are operating in. This may include consideration of legislative and policy changes, initiatives, and obstacles impacting that sector.

Members will understand how these activities and market environments are impacting or will impact their businesses. They can then advise the Publishers Association on sector impacts and delegate project work or set up sub-groups to tackle the various issues if needed. The members also guide and advise association staff on positions they wish the Publishers Association to take on behalf of the industry.

The Publishers Association engages with a broad range of stakeholder organisations and government departments on areas of interest to the councils.

In general, the major themes of discussion for councils fall into three categories:

The business environment

For each sector, there are business environment factors which the groups need to consider and shape opinion/action on.

Communications and services

Looking at the best ways to promote the sector, what publishers do, what impact they have, what messages to use and what means of communication.

Legal and policy

Oversight and maintenance of the legal and regulatory environment for publishing, in the UK and overseas. Horizon-scanning for changes, responding to events and issues, discussing the impact and industry responses.

Chaired by Liz Ferguson (Vice President of Editorial Development, Wiley) since September 2018.

  • A forum to address the issues impacting academic publishers.
  • Group objectives include engagement with policymakers, promotion of publishers as partners in teaching, learning, research and innovation, and lobbying for sustainable development of digital and investment in research and market information.

Chaired by David Shelley (CEO, Hachette UK) since June 2017.

  • A forum for publishers to discuss issues of importance to the future of consumer publishing.
  • Regularly engages with other publishing industry bodies (Association of Authors’ Agents, Society of Authors, Booksellers Association and Society of Chief Librarians) as well as creative industry bodies.

Chaired by Jane Harley (Strategy Director, Oxford University Press) since July 2018.

  • A forum to look at matters that impact the market for educational books in the UK.
  • Monitors policy and funding affecting schools and curriculum resources from the Department for Education, as well as the work of other organisations which operate in the education space.
  • Sub-groups on different curriculum subjects meet when relevant matters arise.

Chaired by Andrew Robinson (Director of Higher Education EMEA, Cengage Learning) since October 2018.

  • A forum to address the issues of importance to publishers of both print and digital courseware and teaching learning resources for the higher and further education communities in the UK and internationally.
  • Group objectives include engagement with policymakers and key stakeholders, promotion of higher and further education publishers as partners in teaching and learning and investment in research and market information.

(Reporting to a sector council)

Reporting to CPC

Audio Publishers Group

Chaired by Dominic Gribben (Editorial Director, Audio, Hodder Book Group) since July 2018.

  • Made up of audio publishers who have an interest in raising the profile of the audiobook industry with the trade and the public.
  • Meets four times a year with ad hoc meetings of project groups.
  • Annual projects include the summer #LoveAudio campaign and judging or consulting on audio-specific conferences and awards.
  • May monitor policy and legal matters that impact the sector as well as developments in digital lending in public libraries, accessibility requirements for audiobooks, and the audio marketplace, as well as publicly available statistics on the market.
Children’s Publishers Group

Chaired by Hilary Murray Hill (CEO Hachette Children’s Group) since July 2018

  • Concerned with the promotion of the children’s book market as well as policy and initiatives around reading for pleasure and literacy.
  • Meets four times a year with meetings split across heads of houses and marketing\/publicity functions.
  • Ad hoc meetings convened for project groups.
  • Recent activity includes a guide for children’s books (published as a supplement in The Guardian at the start of Indie Book Week each year), pitches to indie booksellers at the London Book Fair, and supporting World Book Day.

Reporting to EPC

English Publishers Groups

The English Publishers Groups comprise panels of publishers specialising in English subject areas. Their purpose is to liaise with stakeholders that influence policy in the relevant subject area, including the DfE and subject associations.

Primary Literacy

Chaired by Lizzie Catford, (Primary Education Publisher, HarperCollins).

Maths Publishers Groups

The Maths Publishers Groups comprise panels of publishers specialising in maths subject areas. Their purpose is to liaise with stakeholders that influence policy in the relevant subject area, including the DfE and subject associations.

Primary Maths

Chaired by Jill Cornish (Editorial Director, Primary Maths, Science and Foundation Subjects, Oxford University Press).

Secondary Maths

Chaired by Katie Sergeant (Head of Secondary Maths, HarperCollins).

Ad hoc groups set up by a council to look at a particular issue for a set period.
(Convened as appropriate; reporting to all councils)

Brexit Task Force

The Brexit Task Force was convened in September 2017 to help shape the Publishers Association’s input into the Brexit process.

HR Task Force

The HR Task Force was established in January 2018 to provide input into the industry’s Inclusivity Action Plan, as well as input into decisions around issues and matters relating to inclusion and social mobility. The task force may become a new professional community after a review period.

Specialist advisors employed in-house by members, providing technical advice to Councils and staff.

(Reporting to all three sector councils)

Accessibility Action Group

Chaired by Ruth Howells (Publishers Association) since November 2019.

The AAG has been running for 10 years and brings publishers together with advocacy organisations who are committed to supporting the development and distribution of accessible publications. The group discusses developments in legislation, policy and technology and how this impacts accessible publishing. The group also organises an annual event and develops guidance and best practice for publishers on relevant matters.

Law Group

Chaired by Arthur Heard (Senior Legal Advisor, HarperCollins) since September 2017.

The purpose of the Law Group is fourfold:

  1. Enables in-house lawyers employed by members to come together to provide input and advice to association staff and the three sector councils on legal and policy issues facing the industry and the ongoing agenda of the four councils (working closely with the Policy & Public Affairs Group as necessary);
  2. Provides a forum where in-house lawyers can network and support each other by sharing experiences and views as well as undertake continuous professional development in line with the requirements of the Solicitors Regulatory Authority;
  3. Provides advice and support to staff in shaping and developing the legal offering of the association to members (i.e. legal events, toolkits, briefing notes etc.);
  4. Overseeing the work and agenda of the Compliance Group and Piracy Group. From time to time, compliance or piracy matters may be referred or transferred to the Law Group for consideration and/or the provision of onward advice to the councils.

Membership cuts across all three sectors, but there may be occasions where sector-specific sub-groups could be established for a period of time.

Reporting to Law Group
Compliance Group

Chaired by Lauren Higgins (Head of Compliance, Cambridge University Press) since October 2016.

  • Brings together those working in a compliance function within publishing houses across all three sectors.
  • Concerned with legislation and policy on compliance matters.
  • Provides advice and encourages best practice that ensures publishers are fully aware and properly engaged on issues that would otherwise carry significant legal, financial and reputational risk.
  • Aims to connect those working in compliance roles within publishing to the wider compliance community and as part of this regularly hears from outside speakers and organises workshops for other publishers in conjunction with the Publishers Association.
Piracy Group

Chaired by Mark Taylor (Head of Global Anti-Piracy, Springer Nature) since March 2017.

The Digital Piracy Working Group considers piracy matters of all kinds (physical and digital) and  works closely with the Compliance Group under the oversight of the Law Group.

The purpose will be to:

  • Monitor and track piracy trends, developments and issues affecting publishers (both reactively and pro-actively).
  • Provide input into the piracy work carried out by the Publishers Association and recommendations to the Law Group and the councils about where resources should be focused.
  • Provide advice and input into the Law Group and Policy & Public Affairs Group on the political and public affairs approach the association should adopt when considering political developments in this area.
  • Help the association shape the advice it provides to members on combating piracy.
  • Provide a forum for those working on piracy issues in publishing to network and support each other through sharing best practice and professional development techniques.

Policy & Public Affairs Group

Chaired by Alastair Tebbit, Head of Government Affairs covering UK, Africa, South Asia and Australasia at RELX.

The purpose of the Policy & Public Affairs Group is to monitor and review political and policy developments that may affect members and provide input and advice to staff and the three sector councils. In particular, the group will be responsible for advising on and shaping the:

  • Industry’s overarching policy objectives (both in respect of specific issues or events and as part of a longer-term strategy).
  • Policy positions that the association should take (working closely with the Law Group where the issue demands).
  • Public affairs approach that the association takes to try and achieve its policy goals.
  • Work done by other groups and task forces that have a policy element such as the Brexit Task Force or Accessibility Action Group.
  • Monitoring and influencing the UK’s upcoming Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the EU and other countries.
  • Supporting engagement on trade with key government departments such as DExEU, DIT, DfID, the IPO and DCMS.
  • With support from the Law Group where necessary, overseeing the two key international legal frameworks for our industry, i.e. copyright and Freedom of Expression and in particular the approach taken at key international bodies such as the UN, WTO and WIPO in support of the same.
  • Focus on UK, European and International policy issues.

The Publishers Association and its members are committed to ensuring that their affairs are conducted in accordance with the highest standards of Competition Law compliance. This means that:

  • All member dialogues (whether formal or informal, bilateral or group) that happen under the auspices or with the assistance of the Publishers Association must and will at all times be compliant with UK competition law.
  • All member meetings will be monitored appropriately from a competition law perspective. This includes agenda scrutiny, active monitoring of conversations during the meeting and accurate meeting minutes.
  • All staff will receive (annual) competition law training.
  • All chairs of Groups will receive in-person training in competition law before taking up their post.
  • All members of Groups will be given a written briefing on UK competition law at the time they join a group.
  • A copy of the Competition Law Policy can be obtained on request.
  • Members of Council are elected via the membership at the Annual General Meeting according to the rules of the Publishers Association’s  Memorandum and Articles of Association.
  • Members of sector councils must be full members of the Publishers Association and bona fide publishers carrying on the business of publishing in the United Kingdom with practical skills as well as theoretical knowledge relevant to the aims and objectives of the group. Other communities and task forces may include associate members as well as full members.
  • Any member of the Publishers Association may make a written application to the group secretariat to join the group and such applications will be presented to the group via email.
  • Applicants that can demonstrate to the group, by justifying their area of expertise within publishing, that they fit the description defined in paragraph a), shall be admitted to membership of the group. Members will have two weeks to comment on submissions and no comment means an application is approved.
  • If the secretariat receives any objections the application will be referred to the next meeting.
  • Member companies need to attend a minimum of one meeting per year. If the minimum requirement is not met, the company may be asked to leave the group and will have to reapply for membership.
  • The group is entitled to call meetings which will be serviced by the group secretariat. Any abnormal costs may have to be charged.
  • In the event of the group deciding to undertake a course of action leading to or becoming liable to any costs or expenditure over and above the provision expressed in paragraph d) then such expenditure may be borne by members of the group.
  • In the event of the group wishing the Publishers Association to undertake a course of action on its behalf, such proposed action shall first be approved by Council.
  • The chairs of the sector councils may be co-opted to membership of the Council. Chairs of professional and publisher communities and task forces may be invited to attend sector council meetings as required.
  • A chair of a sector council, professional or publisher community shall be elected at the group’s first meeting. The chair will serve for a period of three years, extendable by a year should circumstances require continuity. The chair will be subject to nomination or volunteering by the group and decided by the Publishers Association. It may be that an election is required in which case each company will have one vote. In the event that a chair resigns mid-term, a new chair will be appointed in line with this process and will begin a new three year term.
  • Based on one vote per member company, decisions taken at a group meeting will be a simple majority with the chair having a casting vote.

Groups contact