Charter of the #LoveOzYA Committee
#LoveOzYA is an Australian literary community and grassroots movement which promotes international awareness of Australian young adult (YA) books and authors, whilst also encouraging a national ‘Read Local’ attitude in Australian teenagers. #LoveOzYA serves the needs of the Australian youth literature community (hereafter referred to as ‘the community’) in all its diverse and varied forms. The #LoveOzYA (‘Love Australian Young Adult Literature’) movement began online, and has rapidly garnered the attention of writers, readers, publishers, booksellers and so many more groups invested in our national youth literature. #LoveOzYA aims to draw the attention of Australian teens to Australian books that speak to their experiences, and unites the youth-lit community by:
- Promoting a united message.
- Centralising information.
- Raising the profile of local content.
The #LoveOzYA community is represented by an elected Committee who facilitates discussion, engages with the media, and carries out actions on behalf of the group. We, as a community, have aims of bringing the entire Australian youth literature community together, and dedicating ourselves to finding, producing and celebrating the very best Australian YA literature. Because Australian young adults deserve to have their stories told and their voices heard, to get them engaged with reading and thus become readers for life is desirable.
Role of the Committee
The purpose of the Committee is to act as a representative body on behalf of the
#LoveOzYA community. The Committee recognises a “supportive” rather than “managerial” approach to its stewardship, and maintains a focus on strategic and/or longer term issues rather than day-to-day issues. The Committee is staffed by volunteers, who offer their time to achieve outcomes that benefit the #LoveOzYA community as a whole.
The role of #LoveOzYA Committee includes, but is not limited to:
- Embracing the work and ideals of #LoveOzYA, to support and showcase the operations of those within the far-reaching Australian youth literature community.
- In conjunction with the community, define our goals, objectives and targets, set strategy, and to ensure that this strategy is annually reviewed.
- Act in the best interests of #LoveOzYA.
- Focus on the strategic implications of networks rather than on their management.
- Challenge and question direction of the community.
- Advocate and represent Australian young adult literature and its community.
- Act as a source of advice and information to the wider reading community.
- Contribute to a broadening circle of influence and networks.
- Maintain the operations of #LoveOzYA
- Approve annual budgets and where possible apply for grants to ensure the Committee can meet its operational budget, though acknowledging that the Committee relies principally on grants and donations. Review and initiate strategic analysis where needed and approved by the Committee.
- Ensure that the Committee fulfils governance requirements, including from time to time a review of this Charter itself – the approved changes of which will be amended by a vote of the #LoveOzYA committee, after circulating proposed edits to the #LoveOzYA community members for feedback (posted to the Facebook group, and on the website – and circulated for a minimum of one month).
- Conduct agreed (with respect to timing and outcomes, as agreed by the Committee) and reported periodic evaluation of both Committee and organisational performance.
- Maintain active involvement in #LoveOzYA activities, including but not limited to attendance and participation in committee meetings and procedures.
- May establish and keep in any account or accounts in the name of the Committee all money received by it and may make out of an account any payment for or towards the costs and expenses of or incidental to the performance of functions or exercise of powers of the Committee under this Charter.
- Will prepare an annual report containing (a) a report of its operations during the financial year; and (b) financial statements for the financial year.
2.1 Code of Conduct
Members of this committee will act with respect, integrity, openness and candour throughout their participation, and exhibit the standard of behaviour expected of volunteers dedicated to youth literature services.
- We will act in a way that helps create a safe, constructive and harassment-free space for everybody.
- We will respect the views and opinions of others and allow them the time and space in which to share them.
- We will be considerate in what we do and say, and mindful of the effect that might have on other people.
- We recognise that discriminatory, racist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, ageist, sexist or sexual language and imagery (or similar) will not be tolerated in any part of the committee or networking sessions or associated Facebook, Twitter and other online media correspondence.
- We will not photograph or record anyone without their permission.
- We will report any offensive, unacceptable or unsafe behaviour to the committee or relevant authorities.
- We acknowledge that members may be asked to leave if our behaviour is deemed offensive, unacceptable or unsafe.
The Committee will consist of no less than three (3) and no more than seven (7) Members – to be appointed by Committee on recommendation of #LoveOzYA community and outgoing, as well as sitting committee members.
Each Committee Member will have a maximum term of two (2) years, and author members a maximum term of one (1) year. Diverse author representatives – if willing and able to – will have the option of a maximum term of one (1) year, which can be extended for up to twelve months, only when another diverse representative cannot be found. Publishing associates will have an agreed-upon fixed-term that the Committee will stipulate before offering the opportunity to join the Committee – with the understanding that this is a strictly volunteer position, and members are not entitled to be paid any remuneration.
And where committee members commence their terms at the same time, a “staggered leaving” will be negotiated amongst the committee, who will be tasked with creating a transition plan so as to avoid wholesale change of the committee between one meeting and the next. This is to be done in an informal manner so as to best assist the current chair and incoming committee members.
Past committee members can serve again on the committee for a non-consecutive term; i.e. after the expiration of their initial maximum term. However; they have to have left the committee for a period at least equal to the length of their previous term on the committee in order to be eligible to sit again. This will give the committee the option (not the obligation) to draw upon past experiences of the committee’s activities.
Skills and Experience Required on the Committee
To ensure that the Committee is configured with required levels of skills and expertise, the Committee will determine vacancies and facilitate invitation(s) as necessary.
Whilst vacancies to the Committee may consider specific skills and these specific skills may be called upon, it is acknowledged that each Member has a responsibility in relation to the total activities of the Committee. Individual Members should make sufficient enquires to ensure that this responsibility is sufficiently discharged.
#LoveOzYA requires a range of skills that can be provided by the Committee. The ideal skill mix will vary depending on current and future organisational needs and current Committee skill mix. Members will be chosen per their ability to best serve the needs of #LoveOzYA as a whole. Ideally the following skills will be covered:
- Media/Public Relations.
- Project Management.
At least three (3) of the below desired background/experiences must be included in the makeup of Committee always, from the following book publishing arenas:
- Authorship (including a diverse author representative – see 2.4).
- Arts Industry Knowledge.
- Publishing Associate.
All of the above Members will join Committee on the proviso and understanding that they are representing their industry and not the interests of a specific organisation or their employer(s). A member must act in the interests of youth-lit as a whole, and not promote his or her personal interest by making or pursuing a gain in which there is a conflict, or the real possibility of a conflict, between his or her interests and those of the Committee.
[Conflicts of Interest – COI]
As part of the new membership meeting agendas, incoming members should declare any material conflict of interest. A member who has a conflict of interest in a matter (a) must not be present during any deliberations on the matter, unless the Committee directs otherwise; and (b) is not entitled to vote on the matter.
2.4 – Diverse* Voices on the Committee
#LoveOzYA acknowledges the historical and continuing under-representation of diverse voices in Australian YA literature and the need of all Australian young adults to find themselves and their worlds reflected in story. To this end, it is the intent that, at least one (1) member of the #LoveOzYA Committee should be a Diverse Representative with knowledge and understanding of issues affecting diverse members of our community and the current diversity conversation in young adult literature. It is acknowledged that people from all diverse backgrounds are the primary sources of expertise in this area. That said the Committee acknowledges that it may not be possible from time to time to fill this position due to either a disjunct between possible Diverse Representatives and those who can offer their time or timing of the rotation of the Committee itself. But at all times the Committee will be mindful of an underlying obligation to the #LoveOzYA community to ensure diversity and its representation is at the forefront.
* “Diversity” includes (but not limited to) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) peoples, gender diversity, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) people, and disabled persons.
We consider it appropriate to have a broad definition of ‘*disability’, including (but not limited to); physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological and addiction. We also include the social model of disability – those systemic barriers, negative attitudes and exclusions by society (purposely or inadvertently) that are the main contributory factors in disabling people.
** Committee members with access requirements and materials being made available in alternative (accessible) formats, should let the Chair and fellow committee members know about such requirements ahead of meeting schedules, so they can strive to do their best to accommodate such requests. Please give two weeks’ notice for Auslan interpreting.
* #LoveOzYA committee and community embraces the Social Model of disability:
‘Disability’ results from the interaction between persons with impairment, conditions or illnesses and the environmental and attitudinal barriers they face. Such impairments, conditions or illnesses may be permanent, temporary, intermittent or imputed, and include those that are physical, sensory, psychosocial, neurological, medical or intellectual.
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, 2006 The Social Model of disability distinguishes between the impairment of the person (the condition, illness or loss/lack of function) and disability (the barriers present in society). These barriers are seen as being the disabling factors which prevent or limit opportunities. Disability may be permanent or temporary, and is often not visible. Mental health is included in this definition.
The term ‘disability’ can also include deaf or hard of hearing people. The Deaf community may not always identify as having disability or impairment, and may define themselves as a culturally and linguistically diverse group due to their use of Auslan (Australian Sign Language).
2.5 State Representation on the Committee
To ensure the Committee is as representative of the different areas of Australia as it can be, at least three members must sit on Committee from three (3) different Australian states/territories at all times;
- Northern Territory
- New South Wales
- South Australia
- Western Australia
- Australian Capital Territory
- Torres Strait
2.6 Committee Election protocol
A specific responsibility of the #LoveOzYA Committee is recommending nominees for election and re-election to the Committee. To facilitate this responsibility, the Committee will:
- Discuss the competencies and attributes currently needed on the Committee, to be used as a guideline for identification and election of Committee members.
- Develop and regularly update a list of potential Committee Members regardless of whether a current vacancy exists or not.
- Oversee a process of vetting the fitness of prospective nominees.
- Develop and oversee a plan for enhancing Committee diversity.
- Nominate Committee Members for election by the full Committee.
2.7 Diverse Representative Election
Adhering to Section 2.4. (Diverse Voices on the Committee) – A shortlist of possible Diverse Representatives will be collated by the Committee, and candidates approached one at a time to gauge their availability and interest in joining the Committee for a period of no longer than two (2) years. When required, this position will be filled via a majority vote of the current Committee. If the position cannot be filled by a Diverse Representative at the required time, the committee will ensure that at least once position is left vacant and the search for Diverse Representatives remains on the agenda at all times.
The Committee will meet at least four (4) times a year or when required at the request of the Committee Chair. Meeting dates and times will be specified in advance. To adhere to Section 2.4 (‘State Representation on the Committee’), available technology or electronic communication (e.g. video conferencing, circulated emails, conference calls, et al) is preferred, permissible and advisable – though any opportunities for all Committee members to meet in person (e.g.: State Writers’ Festival) should be acted upon. Electronic communication may also be used to assist rural and disabled committee members to participate in the committee where they are not able to attend in person. These meetings are a forum for all Committee Members to contribute and shape #LoveOzYA for the benefit of the wider community. As such it is expected that if a Committee member cannot attend a meeting (either electronically or physically) that this be communicated to the Committee Chair as soon as practically possible. If a Committee Member is absent from three (3) Committee meetings without genuine cause, that position will automatically be determined to be vacated and the Committee will be tasked with filling the vacancy in line with Section 2.6 of the Charter.
3.1 A majority of members at the time constitutes a quorum.
3.2 Subject to the presence of a quorum, the Committee may act notwithstanding a vacancy in membership.
3.3 Decisions of the Committee, in so far as possible, should be determined by consensus. An issue or matter arising at a meeting of the Committee is determined by a majority of votes and if the votes are equal, the person presiding has the casting vote.
Appointment of Chair
The role of the Chair is to enable the Committee to fulfil its governance and leadership function. The Chair may be nominated or a standing Committee Member may self-nominate, and only requires a majority vote of the Committee to be appointed.
4.1. Chair’s Authorities and Delegation
The Chair has authority to:
- Represent #LoveOzYA to government, media, and other public/private bodies.
- Sign documents that require the signature of the Committee Chair, once endorsed by the Committee.
- Respond to urgent decisions outside the delegation, and when the Committee cannot practically be convened. If this is the case, endorsement from a Committee quorum should be obtained by circular email.
- Ensure contribution from all Members, to maximise the effectiveness of the Committee
- Reflect any concerns the wider #LoveOzYA community has in regards to the role and functioning of the Committee or individual Members. Reflect to the community, the concerns of the Committee and other key individuals/organisations.