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A primary focus of the ABO is advocacy and campaigning on behalf of its members.
The ABO meets regularly during the year with representatives from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England. It co-ordinates twice-yearly meetings of its Scottish members to ensure a dialogue with the Scottish Arts Council, and is developing meetings of Welsh members with a view to enhancing its advocacy role in Wales.
ABO/MU Casual Concert/Freelance Orchestral Agreement
The ABO negotiates with the Musicians Union on an annual basis on issues relating to fees and allowances for freelance musicians.
All-Party Parliamentary Classical Music Group The All-Party Parliamentary Classical Music Group brings together parliamentarians who have an interest in and wish to further the appreciation of classical music; acts as an interface between British orchestras' on and off-stage activities, the wider classical music industry, including broadcasters and the recording industry, and key decision makers and opinion formers; and looks at the potential for establishing parliamentary classical music awards and promoting and supporting young musicians. The ABO acts as the group's secretariat.
The ABO is working with DHA Communications to raise the profile of British orchestras in the run-up to the Comprehensive Spending Review in 2010. The campaign aims to work with ABO members to get statistics to back the key campaign themes; develop an external network of advocates; ensure the impact and value of the orchestras’ work is communicated through media and targeted publications; map the developing policy agenda regarding music and arts as it relates to the campaign themes; position the ABO, and its members, as a model of excellence; and intervene in emerging policy debates to ensure the strength of the ABO’s voice is maximised. A series of briefings can be found on the Publications page.
Control of Noise at Work Regulations
The ABO continues to monitor the impact of the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 on British orchestras and participated in the Health & Safety Executive's Music & Entertainment Sector Working Group, which developed guidance for the music and entertainment industry.
The ABO is working with its partners in Music Nation, led by the BBC and part of the London 2012 cultural festival, to ensure there are opportunities for orchestras to engage in this national celebration in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The ABO responds to government consultations on behalf of British orchestras. Recent submissions include the DCMS consultation on changes to the National Lottery and the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry into funding for the Arts and Heritage.
Healthy Orchestra Charter
The Healthy Orchestra Charter is a joint initiative by the ABO and the Musicians Benevolent Fund. Launched at the 2006 ABO Conference in Newcastle/Gateshead, the Charter aims to set an industry-wise standard of care and award charter marks to orchestras that are displaying good practice towards the physical, mental and emotional health of employees - both orchestral musicians and their management.
Awards for the Bronze Charter Mark have been presented to BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, English National Opera, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Opera North, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Opera House. The first Silver Charter Mark has been awarded to the Royal Opera House.
The ABO and its members benefit hugely from membership of PEARLE*, the European League of Performing Arts Associations, which helps the ABO keep track of legislative developments within the EU. Click here to visit their website.
Sustainable Orchestras - Green Orchestra Charter
The ABO is working with Julie's Bicycle, a not-for-profit company helping the music industry cut its greenhouse gas emissions and create a low carbon creative future. In conjunction with Julie's Bicycle and in association with Orchestras Live the ABO has developed a Green Orchestras Charter which encourages orchestras to "commit to recognising envirnmental sustainability in our planning, performance and promotion of orchestral music in the UK.." Julie's Bicycle has the charter documents and tools for measuring and improving environmental factors on its website along with other material to assist orchestras to engage with and report on the crucial issues of environmental sustainability.
Visas for Visiting Artists
The ABO is participating in the UK Border Agency's Arts & Entertainment Taskforce, in collaboration with the International Artists Managers Association, National Campaign for the Arts and other arts organisations, to ensure that the proposed Points Based System for migrants wishing to work in the UK on both a permanent and temporary basis will not pose a threat to the engagement of players, conductors and soloists.
Comprehensive Spending Review 2008-2011. Following campaigning by the ABO in partnership with DJH Associates, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport announced an increase in funding for Arts Council England in October 2007.
Class 1 National Insurance Contributions on the fees of freelance musicians. This engendered considerable national TV, radio and press coverage, significant attention in the House of Commons and frequent meetings with Arts Council England, Musicians Union and Her Majesty's Customs' and Revenue (HMRC). The issue was resolved satisfactorily with HMRC in July 2007.
The ban on Instruments as hand luggage on planes was lifted in September 2006 after many discussions with the Department of Transport.