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Equity and other organisations

Equity is firmly embedded in the UK entertainment industry and, since the union was founded in 1930, has done much to shape the landscape of the industry in regard to working terms and conditions including rates of pay, health and safety, hours and breaks, dance and drama training, tax and national insurance, and other cores aspects.                     

Equity is linked to, and works in different ways with, many other organisations and we all work to maintain and develop the professional standards of the entertainment industry and the well-being of those who work in it.

AmnestyEquity is affiliated to Amnesty and their advice and information is a useful resource for Equity's International Committee for Artists' Freedom which campaigns to raise awareness on behalf of artists suffering persecution or other difficulties in countries outside the UK. For example Equity and Amnesty worked together on a postcard campaign to raise awareness of the plight of two stand up comics imprisoned in Myanmar (Burma), because of the satirical nature of their work.

BAPAM. The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine is a unique health charity, which is part funded by Equity.  Members and student members with any performance-related health problem are entitled to help. BAPAM provides FREE and confidential assessment clinics with GPs who have specialist understanding of performers' needs, and referrals to the best treatment available.

British Copyright Council Equity attends BCC meetings and actively engages with activities initiated by the  BCC.  Equity also has regular meetings with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to discuss matters relating to copyright and performers’ intellectual property rights, often alongside representatives  from BECS (see below).  Equity’s work with the BCC is co-ordinated by the Policy Development Officer

BECS. The British Equity Collecting Society was established by Equity in 1998  to collect and distribute monies to UK based actors for audiovisual performances throughout the European Union territories. The team also distribute royalties and other payments on behalf of Equity.  Since it began BECS has distributed more than £35 million to the 25,000 artists who have signed up. Artists have to sign up to BECS individually but this costs nothing and you can withdraw at any time.  BECS is an independent organisation but  Equity has representatives on its board and it is housed at Equity's head office.

BPI. The British Recorded Music Industry is the representative voice of the UK recorded music business. It is a trade organisation and include the UK's four major record labels and hundreds of independent music companies. Established in 1973, the BPI was mandated to “discuss matters of common interest and represent the British record industry in negotiations with Government departments, relevant unions and other interested parties and to promote the welfare and interests of the British record industry.”  Equity has representatives on the BPI's Anti-Piracy Unit Liaison Committee.

CDET. The Council for Dance Education and Training is the national standards body of the professional dance industry. It accredits programmes of training in vocational dance schools and holds the Register of Dance Awarding Bodies - the directory of teaching societies whose syllabuses have been inspected and approved by the Council. It has recently introduced a procedure for recognising pre-vocational schools and has strengthened the number of board places. Equity is on the CDET Council and Equity members are involved in the accreditation processes as these involve dance professionals.

CC Skills. Creative and Cultural Skills is the Sector Skills Council for Advertising, Crafts, Cultural heritage, Design, Music, Performing, Literary and Visual Arts. It is an industry-led organisation set up to have real influence over the supply of education and skills across the UK. Formed in May 2004,  Equity's General Secretary sits on the board and is Chair of the Theatre Industry Panel.

Co-operative Personal Management Association The CPMA works to promote and protect the interests of its member co-operative acting agencies located throughout the UK. Founded in 2002 and backed by Equity, the CPMA seeks to raise the profile of co-operative acting agencies with employers and actors and to represent the interests of co-ops with external bodies. The CPMA also works with its members to identify and assist with the particular concerns of co-ops, to encourage good business practice, to develop training skills and opportunities and to act as an advocate for co-operative working.

Dance UK. Equity supports the work of Dance UK and gives financial support to its Healthier Dancer Programme which produces information and delivers support on health issues for dancers including talks in vocational dance schools and publications on nutrition and other relevant subjects.

Drama UK Drama UK formed from the merger of the National Council for Drama Training (NCDT) and the Conference of Drama Schools (CDS) will continue to fulfil the functions of the NCDT and CDS, including the accreditation of vocational courses and providing support to those organisations offering accredited training.  At the same time it will act as an advocate for the sector, encouraging the industry and training providers to continue to work together and providing a one stop website offering information on drama training for students of all ages.

Equity Charitable Trust. This is an independent charity which was founded by the then Equity General Secretary, Peter Plouviez and Equity Councillors in 1989. It aims to help members of the profession who are in genuine need. The ECT also has a Debt Advisor who offers advice on general debt problems including outstanding credit cards, mortgage arrears, bankruptcy, etc. Directors of the Trust include Equity Councillors and senior Officers of the union.

Educational Recording Agency. The ERA licensing scheme permits staff at educational establishments to record for non-commercial educational use broadcast output of ERA’s members. All members of ERA receive a share of these licences in proportion to the rights they represent.  Equity’s share is used for the general benefit of members.  Equity is represented on the ERA Board by the General Secretary.

Evelyn Norris Trust. A  charity in which Equity has been heavily involved and administered until 2006. It focuses on awarding grants to members and ex-members of the concert and theatrical profession for convalescence and respite breaks and for bills and adaptations of living accommodation to support people with infirmities. The administration is now done by the Equity Charitable Trust.

FEU. The Federation of Entertainment Unions is made up of Equity, Musicians union, BECTU, National Union of Journalists, Writers Guild and the Professional Footballers Association. It focuses on areas that are of interest to the members of all these unions such as the BBC Charter Renewal, tax breaks for British film production, training, equalities and other areas including an award winning training programme for members of the FEU unions.

FIA. The International Federation of Actors is the association of performers' unions and guilds from across the glpbe.  FIA came about as the result of two pioneers in the 1950s - Gerald Croasdell who was General Secretary of Equity and Jean Darcante of the Syndicat National des Acteurs Français. FIA is today made up of some 100 trade unions, guilds and associations that represent performers all over the world. FIA is active in lobbying governments, international and European organisations and institutions, and it is a recognised non-governmental organisation with UNESCO, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the International Theatre Institute (ITI) and the Council of Europe. At meetings of these and other bodies, FIA has a unique credibility that comes from its widely based membership and its many years of experience.

ICAF. The International Committee for Artists' Freedom is made up of Equity members who represent the skills covered by Equity and who offer a diversity of knowledge and experience. As members of ICAF they  campaign on behalf of overseas artists facing oppression and emergency aid situations. Since its formation ICAF has taken up the cause of artists from many countries around the world facing hardship, censorship, exile, persecution, imprisonment, torture or even death. Each case is assessed individually, impartially and apolitically and all decisions are based purely on professional and humanitarian considerations.  Equity's Zarganar campaign is part of the work of ICAF.

IPAT The International Performers' Aid Trust  was set up by Equity and is a charity for the relief of poverty amongst people involved in the performing arts who are in distress in all parts of the world. IPAT's decisions are made on professional and humanitarian principles, without political bias and it endeavours to supply such aid and encouragement as is appropriate, for the preservation of the life and health of those working in the performing arts suffering from poverty and distress to enable them to continue to develop and nurture the imaginative faculty which is the heart of drama, music and artistic performance. IPAT currently supports artists in Chechenya, Zimbabwe and other African countries, Palestine, Cambodia and Latin American countries.

Joint Industry Stunt Committee (JISC) and JIGS The JISC was established to administer a recognised career structure for Stunt Performers and Co-ordinators in the UK. The group is made up of representatives from the stunt community including 6 Equity stunt artists, the Equity Stunts Councillor and the General Secretary as well as representatives from Production Companies (BBC, ITV and PACT). The main purpose of the JISC is to ensure the highest standard in both stunt performances and safety. The Joint Industry Grading Scheme (JIGS) works to develop, maintain and administer a grading scheme for people working, or intending to work, in the fields of Special Effects, Stunts and Rigging within the film, broadcasting, television, video and associated industries.  Equity is represented as is BECTU and production companies (BBC, ITV and PACT.

Liberty. An independent campaigning organisation which works to protect civil liberties and promote human rights in England and Wales.Equity is affiliated to Liberty and its Trade Union Liaison Committee

Performers' Alliance. This is made up of Equity, Musicians' Union and the Writers' Guild and meets regularly to discuss matters of particular concern to performers and writers and to engage with relevant bodies such as government and the Arts Councils. Typically these include arts funding, the cultural aspects of the 2012 Olympics on the agenda, Performers' rights and copyright matters. You can see some of our Performers Alliance lobbying activity in our videos selection.

PPL Performer Board. This was established in 2006 for the administration of performers rights to equitable remuneration in the UK for singers and musicians (air play and public performance royalties). It ensures that there is a centralised place for performers and record companies to collect both UK and International revenues and that the interests of performers and record companies are safeguarded and represented within one organisation. The Performer Board consists of the four Performer Directors and two others nominated by the PPL Board. Of the four Performer Directors one each are directly nominated by Equity and the Musicians Union. The work by PPL, with the performers as an integral part of the organisation, is all about increasing performer income, driving down costs and providing the performer community with an efficient machine to do this work.

Skillset. The Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industries (broadcast, film, video, interactive media and photo imaging). Jointly funded by industry and government, it serves to make sure that the audio visual industries have the right people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time, so that the audiovisual industries remain competitive. Since 2004 it has included performers in its remit and since then Equity and Skillset have worked closely together on research, information sheets, training specialist careers advisors and the General Secretary is on the Skillset board of directors.

TUC. Equity is affiliated to the TUC, which is the voice of Britain at work. With 54 affiliated unions representing 6.2 million working people from all walks of life, the TUC campaigns for a fair deal at work and for social justice at home and abroad. We negotiate in Europe, and at home build links with political parties, business, local communities and wider society.

Variety and Light Entertainment Council. The VLEC exists to regulate the relations between the Managers of variety and allied entertainments and Agents and Artists. It is made up of representative bodies of agents, employers and managers and Equity.