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Considerations for Freelance Writers

Some things to think about as you move forward into facilitating workshops, written by Becky Swain.

Considerations for Freelance Writers

This course has looked primarily at why and how to lead creative writing workshops in a variety of settings. If you are a freelance practitioner working on projects where you are not connected to a school, community or cultural organisation, there are some additional considerations including; partnerships, contracts and agreeing your fee; public liability insurance; DBS and safeguarding.

Public Liability Insurance

If you are working in a school or similar location to give a reading or workshop, you need to have public liability insurance. Many schools, local authorities, charities, and councils require confirmation of your own insurance before they engage in work. You can find information and advice on these considerations online with National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE), who also offer free Public Liability Insurance Cover for writers who subscribe to Professional Membership.

DBS checks

Writers engaged in leading work in schools and communities are required to have an Enhanced Disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service. When entering into a contract with a particular school or other organisation, it may well be that the ‘employer’ makes a specific application for DBS on your behalf at the time. It is however useful for freelance writers to have an Enhanced Disclosure which they can present as and when necessary. An individual cannot make such an application themselves to the DBS but organisations, including NAWE, can process the application on behalf of Professional Members based in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


It is key to ensure that within your teaching or workshop practice that you safeguard the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults participating in the writing projects that you lead. Where you are contracted by a school or organisation, take time to ensure that they are committed to implementing good safeguarding practice which protects children, young people and vulnerable adults from harm, Any organisation that you work with needs to provide clear guidance to its partners, employees, contractors and volunteers on the actions that they should take should they have concerns about the safety of children, young people and vulnerable adults. If you want to find our more about best practice in safeguarding, we recommend that you contact the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), who offer a range of information, advice, training and resources for organisations and individuals who work with children and young people, and vulnerable adults at risk of abuse.

Partnership, contracts and agreeing your fee

It is important to agree a fee that reflects the work that you will be facilitating and to be clear with your employer on areas of responsibility within any project – taking time to plan what you will deliver, what you need the school/organisation to provide. A good place to start in terms of fair rates of pay for writers leading workshops or projects is the Society of Authors guidance on rates and fees for writers

© Becky Swain, Manchester Metropolitan University
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