Chief Executive Report 2018-09-14

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CEO Report to the Board, Sept 2018


It’s been a busy and varied three months. There have been some challenges, but also many successes.


Daria has reported separated (see Performance Report) and I won’t repeat it here. Suffice to note some headlines:

  • The mid year report for for the six months to 31 July was filed at the end of August. We were able to report that we are meeting or are on track to meet all the targets set for our three programme areas (diverse content, promoting open knowledge, education and learning) for the year: Highlights include:
  • The second Celtic Knot conference was organised by the National Library of Wales Wikimedian in Residence, Jason Evans, in partnership with Wikimedia UK. The event served as a focal point for our work on minority languages and we saw some of that thinking in Gareth Morlais’ address to the AGM.
  • Our community engagement results from the first half of the year are very positive. We hosted in 121 events this year so far, 73 in the quarter under review, which provided many opportunities for volunteers and editors to get involved with our programmes.
  • In June we collaborated on the Amnesty International’s BRAVE campaign focusing on Women Human Rights Defenders. The volunteer bases of both movements were combined to create content on human rights in multiple languages. This had many positive outcomes, including new content, new opportunities to collaborate, and multilingual participation.
  • Wiki Loves Monuments is under way and we are hoping for a good response. There has been a repeat of the debate about whether Wales can enter as a distinct entity. Despite this, there has been a good response and we have back it up with videos and social media promotion. Thanks in particular to Michael for leading on this.

Organisational matters

Statutory filings are up to date. The Annual Report and Accounts and the Annual Return (the latter for both Cultural Outreach and Wikimedia UK) have been filed at Companies House. The Charity Commission filing is due by 30 November.

The up to date versions of the Memorandum and Articles of Association have similarly been filed and accepted by both Companies House and the Charity Commission.  

Our application to register as a Charity in Scotland was successful. As of 22 August we are registered with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. Our Scottish Charity number is SC048644. Lavington Street is the registered address. We will have to file reports annually with both the Charity Commission and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

Fundraising and business development opportunities

In August we established a very good relationship with the Institute of Education and managed, at very short notice, to submit a bid for up t £450K funding for the London mayor for digital skill training.

In addition we have done some fundraising scoping; there are significant opportunities for digital skills training and for work with museums either to preserve or to make more widely available our cultural heritage. Both of these speak to our current programme priorities.

Board, Staff and Movement Update

In July we welcomed Davina Johnson back from her extended leave. She is working 3 days per week and Rich Matthews, who worked increased hours while Davina was away, has gone back down to 2 days per week.

In August we welcomed Karla Marte back from maternity leave. Her role and job description have changed slightly and she will be working 3 days per week (down from full time). Her replacement, Agnes Bruszik, completed her contract in August. I am grateful to Agnes for her excellent work.

Sara Thomas and Hannah Evans have both successfully completed their probation periods.

Discussions with the Wales User Group have continued and we now have an agreed version of the contract. One challenge was that the User Group was not formally constituted and did not have office bearers who could represent a united view. Negotiations have been cordial and I am confident we will sign a useful agreement in support of agreed aims.

I know that board members were disappointed with turnout and the presentation of the AGM. No doubt this will be discussed during the Away Day. I would like to thank the staff for all they did. Any shortcomings are my responsibility and I apologise.

External Relations and Advocacy

Articles 11 and 13 of the proposed EU Directive on Copyright have caused disquiet throughout the open knowledge movement. Wikimedia chapters and the movement as a whole reacted strongly. As Wikimedia UK we wrote individually to all 73 UK MEPs. We tailored a number of arguments to the known positions of various parties. More than one quarter of MEPs contact responded, and 13 gave detailed policy outlines. A sample letter is here and the responses are summarised here. I sat in on some media appearances with Jimmy Wales, who was particularly vocal in opposition Article 13, and we co-ordinated some media work with the Foundation.

We are working on  responses to the DCMS consultation on open data and digital literacy and, as you will see in the ARC minutes, we made a substantial bid for funding from the London Mayor’s digital talent fund. We will not know the outcome of this until October.

We have maintained a wide presence across various media. Some highlights include:

Blogposts on a wide range of topics including the sharing of UK election maps on open licences, reflections on OER 18 and a new initiative to improve articles on cutting edge medical science.  We continued to produce entertaining videos. Two examples are a short history of open knowledge and copyright and a recent one on Wiki Loves Monuments. Our Twitter profile continued to grow - we now have over 10,500 followers. Twitter takes some managing and in August we agreed new internal guidelines for how and why we use Twitter.

Daria will be speaking at the Museum Group Conference in October and at Tate Lates on 29 September.

Engaging with the global Wikimedia movement

Josie, Kate and Daria attended Wikimania in Cape Town in July and  will report back separately on this.

Daria has been invited to take part in the global strategy working groups, and will keep WMUK informed of developments.

Sandy Balfour

September 2018