New policy on payments for freelancers and low- or un-waged colleagues

For over a year CHWA has been trialling payments for freelance and low/un-waged colleagues when they contribute their expertise to help develop CHWA's work. After positive feedback from members, this has now been formalised and signed off as a Policy as part of our Equality Action Plan.

Why we're doing this

Almost all of CHWA's resources and events are offered for free (the only exception at present is our national conference). But we also want to ensure that people are not made financially vulnerable by contributing to CHWA's work. This might for example be when we invite people to participate on Advisory Panels or Working Groups, or to support the development of funding bids or project ideas for CHWA. 

At least 30% of CHWA's membership is working in a freelance or self-employed capacity; whilst many others are on low wages, or may be unwaged (see our state of the sector survey 2023). Meanwhile many practitioners’ work is rooted in their own lived experience of health challenges (see CHWA's From Surviving to Thriving report, 2022) - and we know that people with lived experience of chronic ill-health or with caring responsibilities are likely to receive a lower income than the national average incomes. Moreover this is a sector dominated by women (see CHWA's most recent EDR statistics) who are on average paid less than men (ONS 2020)

We know from hundreds of conversations over the years how often people are required to give their lived or professional expertise for free, and we hope this is a small step towards encouraging better practice both within CHWA and beyond. 

You can read the full policy here and we welcome feedback at any time; the policy and its impacts will be reviewed regularly by CHWA's Board.  

We'd also like to thank colleagues and partners who have helped us think this through - in particular the Arts & Social Outcomes Network, Arts & Homelessness International and the National Centre for Creative Health.

This work also relates to the Fair Pay & Lived Experience Manifesto built in 2023 through events led by Arts & Homelessnes International and the Arts & Social Outcomes Network.