Membership of the Company consists of up to 185 Liverymen and approximately 140 Freemen. Total membership averages just over 300 members, comprised of both men and women. The terms Liveryman and Freeman are used to describe both sexes. All positions are held on a voluntary basis.
There are two ways in which it is possible to enter the Company:
- By Patrimony/Matrimony – this applies to those whose parents were Freemen or Liverymen at birth
- By Redemption – following recommendation by the Court and Livery Selection Sub-Committee
There are several steps to becoming a Liveryman:
Step One: Introduction & Nomination
The process begins with potential applicants being introduced to the Company by a Liveryman, then proposed and recommended for consideration by the Court and Livery Selection Committee. Applications are reviewed twice a year, and potential successful applicants have an opportunity to meet Members of the Company on a suitable informal occasion.
Step Two: Freedom of the Salters’ Company
Recommendations from the Court and Livery Selection Committee are considered by the Court and if the applicant is successful they will be sworn into the Freedom of the Company at the next convenient meeting of the Court of Assistants. Successful applicants become Freemen of the Worshipful Company of Salters.
Step Three: Freedom of the City of London
A Freeman may then apply to become a member of the Freedom of the City of London, a prerequisite to becoming a Liveryman. This part of the process includes two visits to the Chamberlain’s Court in the Guildhall, the first taking place within three months of the Freedom ceremony. The second visit to the Guildhall, generally a month or so after the first, is for the Ceremony of Admission, which guests may attend.
Step Four: Admission to the Livery
The Freeman forwards to the Clerk evidence of admittance to the Freedom of the City of London. The Clerk then advises the Court that the Freeman is eligible to be elected to the Livery.
Election to the Livery is by invitation only and is therefore competitive. A Freeman who wishes to progress to the Livery must make clear to the Clerk and Court his or her interest in and willingness to become involved in Company activities. They must also have attended at least one Salters' Festival of Chemistry.
The Company is governed by the Court of Assistants (the "Board of Directors") which is headed by the Master (the "Chairman of the Board") and supported by the Upper Warden and Second Warden and consists of 24 Assistants who are senior members of the Livery who have served as Master (Past Master) and those who have not. The Court meet some eight times a year to determine policy and oversee Company affairs. The day to day administration is conducted by a small permanent staff headed up by the Clerk.
These positions are elected annually by the General Court, which consists of the Master, the two Wardens, the Court of Assistants and other Liverymen. The Renter Warden is not a member of the Court; however, he is also elected annually by the General Court. He attends all Court meetings but has no vote.
After a satisfactory period serving as an Assistant, a Court Member becomes eligible to be elected to the offices of Second Warden, Upper Warden and Master. Before being elected Second Warden an Assistant must have served at least a year on the General Purposes and Finance Committee.
As Second Warden he considers himself available, if invited, to be Upper Warden. But by allowing himself to be elected Upper Warden he morally commits himself to be becoming Master in 12 months' time for a term of 12 months from June to June.
Election Day takes place annually in June. For a year the new Master commits himself, with the Clerk's guidance, to the leadership of the Company.
The Company has 16 full time employees. The Clerk is the most senior permanent member of staff and he is supported by the Assistant Clerk, who is effectively the Finance Director. The Clerk is the Chief Executive of the Company with overall responsibility for managing its assets and organising its various activities and initiatives – charitable, educational and those relating to the membership. The Company's business is conducted through a variety of committees.
As a Freeman or a Liveryman, there are opportunities to become more involved in the Company and to sit on different committees.
Only Court Members may sit on The General Purposes and Finance Committee and The Salters' Institute Board.
Together with all other Livery Companies, The Salters' Company plays an important role in the governance of the City of London, including the election of the Lord Mayor of the City of London and the two Sheriffs who serve as his assistants. Livery Companies also participate in ceremonial occasions like The Lord Mayor's Show, a popular event held the day after the Lord Mayor takes office in November that includes a procession to Westminster where the new Lord Mayor is sworn in.