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Public liability

edited January 2018 in Writing
I was asked some time ago to give a talk, and, since agreeing, various emails have gone back and forth between the organiser and myself. Last week she asked if I had public liability. I replied that I didn't and now she says that her boss says that without it, I can't do the talk.

Those of you that do public readings, do you have it?

It seems that I'll be out of pocket if I take it out. All I'm going to be doing is sitting on a chair. I don't know what harm can come of that!


  • Someone could trip over your handbag and sue, or drop one of your books on their toe and sue, or suffer emotional trauma because a character name reminded them of a schoolyard bully and sue, or catch a cold from another audience member and sue.
  • Yes, I could see how those things could happen in some places, but this will be a static audience in an old people's home.
  • And I have done talks elsewhere where it wasn't an issue (including another old people's home).
  • Sounds to me like bureaucracy gone nuts.
  • If you're a member of the Society of Authors you can add yourself to their policy for £23.
  • I am and do that. You MUST have public liability to go into schools and talk to children. in fact, to do anything. It is crucial. It is professional. It is expected. It is safe.
  • (Just a small example - I know someone who took a Powerpoint into a school, on a stick and didn't realise it transferred a virus to the school computer. She was asked to pay for the clean up of the schools computers. And the partner schools it had transferred to.)
  • And actually, I have been into a school and RECEIVED a virus from the school onto my stick. It didn't harm my computer when I used the stick at home because I'm on mac. If I hadn't been...
  • Start ringing around tomorrow for qoutes,TN, and compare like for like.
  • Well, I'll consider it if I get regular paid 'gigs'. Otherwise, I will make a loss.
  • It's not a new thing. This requirement has been around for years.
  • I don't know what to query as. 'Tutor' or 'Entertainer' comes up at around £68 per year.
  • If you're a member of the Society of Authors you can add yourself to their policy for £23.
    How much is that? Seems worth doing if there are other benefits.

  • My sister had to have insurance when she used to sing in old people's homes. I think she piggybacked off the Musician's Union one in the same way as the Society of Authors works.
  • There are lots of benefits, Nell, you can stay in places cheaper, although I haven't looked into that, but the 10% off books in Waterstone's (and Foyle's) adds up to a considerable amount every year. Also the ability to ask them anything, and go to conferences much cheaper (well worth going to, the children's ones!) and talks, which are at the London home of the SoA and which you are in reach of.
  • edited January 2018
    I think the organiser should pay it for you. That would be something she should have checked earlier on.

    Yes it is summat one shd have but if that organiser approached you, she shd have done her homework first.
  • Just been looking at the SOA after reading this thread - think I might join tomorrow. I never thought about public liability insurance but I guess I should get some for my school visits.
  • I have applied! Used some of my plr money.
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