Wednesday 11 August 2021

A statement from ALCS

 I've received the following statement, to be posted on the blog, direct from Alison Baxter at ALCS.

Claiming for articles from ALCS for My Weekly and The People’s Friend


We have received a number of queries recently from contributors to My Weekly and People’s Friend, published by DC Thomson who have been unable to add these publications to their accounts via our website and been advised that they are no longer eligible. 


Please let us first of all apologise for the way in which your queries have been handled by the ALCS team, for any distress caused and for the length of time that it has taken us to respond appropriately and accurately up to this point. 


There appears to have been some confusion internally about the status of some titles published by DC Thomson and ALCS’ entitlement to collect for them and this has unfortunately been miscommunicated to several of our, understandably very concerned, members and incorrectly changed on our website.  


This miscommunication by ALCS, which suggests that DC Thomson have changed their processes causing their titles to be ineligible for ALCS payments, is incorrect. The publications that have been specifically mentioned (My Weekly, The People’s Friend) are currently included in the ALCS payment scheme, and the functionality on our website will be rectified shortly to reflect this.


As part of a wider review of our Article claims system we are in the process of reviewing our internal policies to ensure that we do fully adhere to the UK regulations on collective rights management, so should any titles that you currently claim for be considered in the future to fall outside of our payment remit we will advise you of this individually and in advance of any changes. Changes may be made to the scheme in future, but it is always our aim to individually inform members wherever possible of changes that will directly impact them, particularly in what has been a very challenging couple of years.


We understand that DC Thomson have been extensively contacted over this by many of their contributors so we will also be contacting them directly to explain the situation. If any individuals have any specific concerns, please contact

Angela Gilchrist from The People's Friend has also written a blog post on this subject.


Jenny Worstall said...

Thanks for posting this, Patsy. All seems to be restored to normal on the ALCS website. It's interesting they say that they are doing a review and that there may be changes in the future, but reassuring to note that they intend to inform writers of any possible change in advance.

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful news! Thank you to Angela Gilchrest and the many writers who pursued the issue to resolve the ALCS problem, and thank you to you, Patsy, for providing a platform and voice to all. All good wishes. Kate Hogan.

Carolb said...

Thank you for posting this, Patsy.

Thanks to the ALCS for explaining what happened and rectifying the problem. Also that they'll inform writers individually in future- let's hope that's not needed.

Bubble said...

Fab news, Patsy. Thanks for your work on this.


Anonymous said...

What a shambles, started by ALCS then exacerbated by TPF, who for some reason thought acting ‘professionally’ meant ignoring their hundreds of freelancers concerns and ramping up their anxiety. They then let their poor editors take the flack. Why, if DC Thomson were known to be innocent? It all seems utterly bizarre to me.

Patsy said...

@Jenny, Kate, Bubble and Carol – it is indeed good news.

@ Anonymous – TPF did not ignore writers. As soon as they became aware of the issue they said – both individually to writers and in a statement for this blog – that they would look into it and inform readers when they had an answer. That is exactly what they've done. Unfortunately the confusion within ALCS meant getting a definite answer took time. That is not the fault of anyone at DCT.

It's a real shame those 'poor editors' received 'flack' over this issue, but the blame for that lies squarely with those who directed that flack at people who were not responsible for the issue and who were doing their best to resolve it.

Anonymous said...

What flack? They were asked questions during a slot in which they request them? We are still unable to locate any evidence of the claimed verbal aggression, personal insults and bullying.
Some of our own questions are now on their site. I assume judging by that they were acceptable.


Anonymous said...

I think some people need to reflect on their recent behaviour and perhaps go back and read their comments in relation to tone and content and empty threats involving saying they would never write for TPF again.

These people were clearly hectoring the TPF team, during an open session that was for prospective writers to pick up tips about how to write for TPF, despite the teams repeated attempts to explain they were in no position to give information at that time.

The TPF team had no powers to make official statements regarding matters that were at a higher paygrade.

As it turns out, the issue was with ALCS, not DCT.

To make matters worse, by using a 'Womag Writers' group name, they made it seem as if they were speaking for all womag writers, and they weren't. To put it bluntly, it was embarrassing to watch.

This post is not aimed at Patsy/Womagwriter who has been a voice of reason and who is to be applauded on her professional behaviour throughout.

Anon Independent Womag Writer

Anonymous said...

I quoted statements from genuinely upset writers who have no voice otherwise. This was not a threat as you called it, it was to help them understand the level of distress. We hoped TPF would offer some reassurance.

There was no bullying unless bullying is asking forthright questions these days. That’s a very sad state of affairs for us all, especially those who feel unrepresented.

To clear up another matter, our group were the ones who received the response from ALCS. NOT this blog. This was in reply to our own messages. We then passed ALCS onto Pasty so their statement could be read by all.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment above. They weren't speaking for me either, which is why I am no longer part of that Facebook group. The tone of questioning has been, for some weeks, at best sarcastic and at worst intimidating, designed to embarrass and humiliate a member of staff with absolutely no authority to say anything other than what she did. A bit like haranguing a teacher because you're unhappy with the government's education policy. I think it is to TPF's credit that they have put those questions up on their website. They were doing their best in a difficult and confusing situation and deserve more respect than they were given.

Another independent writer

Helen Yendall said...

It would make everything much easier to understand - and respond to - it people were not permitted to post as 'anonymous' - or would at least would add their names to the bottom of their posts. Might I politely suggest that you have something to say - eg: you are no longer part of 'that Facebook group' - that you have the courtesy and courage to give us all your name! Thank you Helen Yendall

Anonymous said...

I think the Facebook group were brilliant and support them absolutely. You're now the bullies. You're intimidating, you're harassing. Except of course you'll think otherwise. Funny that.

Another Independent Writer

Anonymous said...

Does this include the WWC anons who have also been posting?

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's any point in this conversation continuing at all. Both sides aren't going to change their minds so it might as well end here.


Penny A said...

Thank you, Patsy! And thank you to Angela Gilchrist and PF team as well. A relief to hear this news for all concerned.

Helen Yendall said...

You are probably right! Perhaps, before everyone falls out completely (except of course, we don't know who anyone is! How mad is this?) Patsy should close comments on this post and we'll all just agree to disagree! Helen Yendall

Kath Kilburn said...

I think a lot of the problems here stem from the relationshp that TPF in particular have had with their writers in the past - despite DCT's legendary financial meanness, it's been all sweetness and shortbread and let's-be-nice. Which is fine in the good times but these aren't and haven't been for a while, good times for writers. Maybe those people who think everyone should go easy on the 'poor editors' - who were far from transparent in their replies - don't write for essential income? And maybe if they did, they'd be crosser and more inclined to defend their/our rights. Or maybe they'd still just leave it to someone else, as most people seem to do most of the time. It seems you stand up for what you believe in and deserve at your peril.

Elaine Everest said...

I must agree with Kath Kilburn's post.
First and foremost we are professional writers who write for a living and must do our own negotiations without
joining the Facebook groups who seem to be made up of many beginners and hobby writers who do not know the system and share a group rage. The only sensible group has been the Romantic Novelist Association.
It would also help if those who post 'anonymously' would add the name at the bottom of their posts.
Elaine Everest

Writingfran said...

It's so disappointing to read these polarised messages, especially as the answer was ultimately so simple. As Kath says there are those who write for essential income who felt left in limbo. I consider WWC has worked on writers' behalvez with the best of intentions for a positive outcome, which we hopefully have, but at some cost

Carolb said...

Patsy has been good enough to post these information updates passed to her from various sources, for everyone to read, and I certainly thank her for that.

Unfortunately some here have chosen to anonymously snipe at those of us who spoke up and questioned both the PF team and ALCS, expressing the concerns of the majority of the active members of the Facebook group, and in no way bullying or aggressive.

The seriousness of the situation required asking questions, and more than once when the responses were vague and could be interpreted as avoiding bad news.

I'm quite sure that if that change had turned out to be fact, not just an error on ALCS's part, perhaps those sniping here would have been demanding why no one was doing anything about it.

Next time, there won't be anyone asking those awkward questions.

Writingfran said...

Patsy your blog is much appreciated. I hope there can be some reconciliation

Eirin Thompson said...

Surely today is a good news day for writers. Writers are NOT going to lose valued income as feared. Contributors have NOT been betrayed by DC Thomson or anyone else. This whole situation seems to come down to an error made by ALCS which has unfortunately inflamed feelings,and sadly precipitated damage to relationships, but ALCS are people, and people sometimes make mistakes at work - we've all done it. And they have apologised. I am very much in favour of fellowship among the writing community,and there might be times when we wish to unite before a perceived injustice,but it is now clear that this wasn't it. I don't subscribe to a 'them and us' approach to publishers, and certainly not to DC Thomson, who have always treated me well and who made a thoughtful acknowledgement when I recorded my concerns over the ALCS issue with my editor there. DC Thomson did not create the ALCS problem, but they did apply themselves to it until it was sorted out. Hoping everyone can now return with renewed peace of mind to the writing we all enjoy.

Cathy Cade said...

I've never been published by People's Friend (although I have sent a few stories) so I have no personal axe to grind, but I respect their position as one of the few magazines still publishing stories from previously unpublished (by them) writers without taking all rights. I have also found them timely and helpful with responses to the few stories I have sent (apart from the last one which was stuck in an office awaiting collection while everyone worked from home).
Bearing in mind their have been working from home for a year or so, with backlogs to deal with and unable to pop in to each others' offices for advice and collaborative decision -making, I don't think they deserve much flak. I am sure ALCS staff have been in a similar position.
I also agree with other commenters that those with a valid point to make should have the courage to put their name to it. If they don't, I don't really think their opinion is worth reading.
Thanks again Patsy for being at the forefront with useful information (or, at least, it will be useful if ever I write a story suitable for publication by DC Thomson).