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Committees and Groups

Committees and Groups

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The interaction between members and staff is essential to the work of the PA. We convene a range of councils, communities and task forces to 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.


Decision-making board comprising senior executives representing the main sectors of membership.

Publisher Communities

Communities of people in a sub-sector or function. May identify as a sub-group of a council, or a group of members from a particular function and their activity can feed into all councils.

Task Forces

Ad hoc groups set up by a council to look at a particular issue for a set period.

Professional Communities

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


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. Recent examples include ebook lending in public libraries, Open Access for government-funded public research and changes in the national curriculum.

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, i.e. reading for pleasure projects, parliamentary events, social media, conferences, workforce development/inclusivity, demonstrating innovation in publishing, providing export service, hosting member events.

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.


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

As the main council, it oversees the PA’s internal affairs, including budget, governance and strategy. Decision-making on major issues takes place at the PA 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 6 ex-officio seats. Council members serve a 3-year term, renewable for a further 3-years after which the Council member must leave for at least a year before re-election. Elections for seats take place at the PA’s Annual General Meeting.


Reporting to PA Council are three sector councils, which meet four times a year.

The three 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.

The council members will understand how these activities and market environments are impacting or will impact their businesses. They can then advise the PA 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 PA staff on positions they wish the PA to take on behalf of the industry. The PA engages with a broad range of stakeholder organisations and government departments on areas of interest to the councils.

Academic, Professional and Learning Publishers Council (APLPC)

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

  • A forum to address the issues impacting academic and professional publishers.
  • Example issues include Open Access, the potential introduction of the UK Scholarly Communications Licence, the impact of the Teaching Excellence Framework.
  • 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.
  • Example issues include literacy, library use, the digital marketplace and the high street.
  • Example initiatives include ebook lending in public library pilots, the reading for pleasure campaign.
  • 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.
  • Example issues include funding for textbooks for Maths Mastery, the future of the BBC Bitesize app and publisher engagement.
  • 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.


(Reporting to a sector council)


Law Textbook Publishers Group

Chair position vacant.

  • Comprises publishers specialising in Law Textbook publishing. The group meets twice a year to hear talks from stakeholders.


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. 


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).


(Convened as appropriate; reporting to all councils)


The Brexit Task Force was convened in September 2017 to help shape the PA’s input into the Brexit process. It is currently anticipated that it will meet after the EU Council meetings in October to review the progress of the UK–EU negotiations and consider implications for publishers. Following this, the various strands of its work will be referred to the relevant existing groups.


The HR Task Force was established in January 2018 to provide input into the PA’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.


(Reporting to all three sector councils)


Chaired by Emma House (Deputy CEO, Publishers Association) since 2008.

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. 


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 PA 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 PA staff in shaping and developing the legal offering of the PA 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. It will have a particular focus on UK and—for the time being—EU law, as well as any international laws or treaties to which the UK is a signatory (i.e. the Berne Convention).


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 with a particular focus on ABC, sanctions and Modern Slavery and public procurement/tender rules.
  • 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 PA.

Piracy Group

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

The Digital Piracy Working Group has traditionally focused on tackling online copyright infringement. During the course of 2018, it is proposed to adjust the remit of this group to consider piracy matters of all kinds (physical and digital) and for this group to work 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 PA 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 PA should adopt when considering political developments in this area.
  • Help the PA 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.


Chaired by James Perham-Marchant (Policy Director, Wiley) since 2014.

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 PA 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 PA should take (working closely with the Law Group where the issue demands).
  • Public affairs approach that the PA 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, initially in liaison with the Brexit Task Force.
  • Supporting the PA’s 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.
  • It will have a focus on UK, European and International policy issues.



From time to time, members may ask the PA to support an industry-wide dialogue or discuss an approach to a new issue or area. The PA will consider any such applications and advise the member(s) concerned about the best way of meeting their need. The PA will consider whether hosting a group is the best way to address the purpose stated of the group and member interaction. Other approaches may be used instead, such as a workshop or a one-off town-hall style meeting. For a group to be set up in response to the issue raised, at least eight members will need to agree to provide a standing member from the outset.

  1. Authority to Propose: A proposal for a new PA Group can only be made by a full PA Member.
  2. Submission: This PA Member (the Lead Member) should notify The PA of their desire to set up a new group. If the person making the nomination is someone other than their PA Head of House, then they should indicate that their PA Head of House is aware of and supportive of the proposal;
  3. Title, Remit and Purpose: The Lead Member should set out the specified Title, Remit and Purpose of the group along with its stated objectives for the first 12 months of its existence. They should also indicate whether they believe it should be a Community (a body that brings together Member employees working in similar roles but whose role is advisory to Councils only) or a Task Force (an ad hoc body set up for a specified period of time to deal with a single issue). And they should indicate the names of any other Full or Affiliate Members who would like to be part of the Group;
  4. Best Solution and Strategic Fit: The PA will explore with the Lead Member the stated purpose and work with them to consider the best way of the PA providing support on this particular issue, which may involve actions other than establishing a PA Group. The PA will also liaise with PA Council and Officers about the way in which the work of this group aligns (or otherwise) with the agreed PA strategy;
  5. Conflict with other Groups: If the proposed Remit or Purpose of the Group has the potential to overlap or conflict with that of another PA Group, the PA will facilitate a conversation between the Lead Member and the Chair of the Group(s) where this conflict or overlap occurs;
  6. Identifying additional Members: If following 4 and 5 above no issues have been identified and/or any concerns that have been raised are then resolved, then the Lead Member and the PA will explore the proposal to set up the new Group with the wider Membership then this process will begin. This will involve identifying whether there are seven additional full Members who would be willing to take part in the work of the Group. Those Members should indicate their support via their Head of House and nominate an appropriate individual to attend on their behalf. 
  7. First Meeting: Once eight full Members have indicated their support, the first meeting of the Group will be organised. At that meeting, the Group will agree a Chair as well as confirm its remit, purpose and objectives for the first 12 months.
  8. Annual Review: The remit and effectiveness of the new Group will be reviewed by PA Council as part of the usual annual process with particular attention given to any issues considered and identified in 4 or 5 above.
  9. Affiliate Members: Affiliate Members will be eligible to join PA Communities and Task Forces. However, they will not be eligible to join any PA Councils.
  10. Attendance and Quorum: In order to ensure consistency of attendance and that the work of the Group can move forward, the nominated Member representative must attend at least 60% of Group meetings in any calendar year. Within those parameters, members may nominate delegates to be their representative. However, if their delegate is an Affiliate Member or an employee of another Member that they ask to represent their interests, these will not count towards constituting a quorum for that meeting.


The PA 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 PA must and will at all times be compliant with UK competition law.
  • All PA 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 PA staff will receive (annual) competition law training.
  • All chairs of PA Groups will receive in-person training in competition law before taking up their post.
  • All members of PA groups will be given a written briefing on UK competition law at the time they join a group.
  • A copy of the PA’s Competition Law Policy can be obtained by writing to William Bowes, the PA’s Director of Policy and General Counsel:


To ensure that the PA’s resource is appropriately allocated to its strategic objectives, PA Council will review all groups at the start of each calendar year based on factors including member attendance, centrality of agenda to strategic priorities, competition law risk and distinctiveness of remit. PA management will provide recommendations to PA Council each January about any changes that may be needed for any of the groups.

Want to join a group?

Members can contact Eliza Kavanagh to find out who is their representative on a group or to apply to join:


Phone: 020 7378 0504


  • Members of PA Council are elected via the PA membership at the Annual General Meeting according to the rules of the PA’s  Memorandum and Articles of Association. Members of sector councils must be full members of the Publishers Association and is a bona fide publisher 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 affiliate members of the PA 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 the PA Council.
  • The chairs of the sector councils may be co-opted to membership of the PA 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 PA. 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 3-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.