GovCom minutes 2020-11-14
GovCom Minutes, Monday 14th September, 3.30 - 5pm
Nick Poole, Sangeet Bhullar, Lucy Crompton-Reid, Katie Crampton.
Declarations of interest relating to matters on the agenda
Minutes of last GovCom meeting
Matters arising that are not covered elsewhere
We put in a lot of effort into creating an event that wasn’t just for compliance. We had more sign ups than usual for an in-person meeting, with attendance about the same as a London event and higher than previous AGMs held outside London. We’ve made changes to the articles to allow a hybrid meeting in future but would need to think carefully about how that might work in practice.
The feedback we had was positive, although one person wasn’t able to join the meeting for technical reasons. In future we should provide a mobile phone number for situations like that, and SB also suggested we could hold a dummy run for anyone unsure about the platform we’re using. LCR asked for comments from GovCom members.
SB said it really worked, and there’s something about the equality of everyone being online rather than a hybrid meeting. It was great to see most people stay until the end. LCR said the feeling of the ‘room’ was really warm and collegiate, and NP added that he agreed that the feeling of community was very strong, with a sense of people coming together with a common interest. NP thought the pre-event communications were good, everything felt very well organised. It felt like a fair process for the voting (although this would be improved in future by being able to have live voting).
KC felt it was easier to arrange online, and it was a huge cost saver in not hiring a venue and catering, and not posting packs. Whether the cost of the event is worth the benefit of holding an in-person meeting is an interesting question. KC suggested that we could hold a separate event that gives the opportunity for members to meet in person, but hold the AGM online.
We had three excellent lightning talks, and Gavin’s talk seemed pitched at a really good level for the audience. It was quite detailed, which attendees seemed to really respond to, and was a great example of an organisation that has creative a positive response to the shutdown.
The only jarring note for LCR was that we didn’t receive any questions on the reports.
Accountability of the board will be discussed at the away day, so we can have the conversation about the role of trustees at the AGM.
Well done from GovCom to everyone involved in producing a great AGM!
Upcoming board away day
NP feels that the away day has three linked purposes, if we come out of it with a common purpose, language and culture as a board. It’s a diverse group of people with different professional experiences, and we can get trustees to consider their roles as trustees. What is the board’s job and what is the staff’s job, where do we draw the line and how can the board help the staff. LCR noted that an additional benefit for her was the opportunity to draw on the skills, experience and knowledge of the board.
SB thought the main thing would be whether we need new staff, what expertise we need. There’s a need for a shared understanding of our roles, being an ambassador for Wikimedia and what that might look like. That’s going to be quite individual, but what would help WMUK and what are we doing in the year? Getting everyone on the same page, in governance and advocacy and identifying roles of the trustees.
NP highlighted that we should identify our funding goals again for the board, and wanted LCR to be confident that we’ve got what we need from the board. There was a discussion about where that could fit within the current draft agenda.
There was a detailed discussion about the content of the agenda, with LCR talking through each agenda item and NP and SB raising comments and questions and making suggestions in terms of the content.
Board membership and development, including co-opted trustees
A schedule of whose term ends when was circulated. We have two co-opted trustees whose current two year terms expire this month. NP will have conversations with both trustees.
It was noted that both NP and DT will have to step down next year. As RW was elected for two years rather than three he would need to stand for re-election to continue on the board. We have up to two vacancies for co-opted trustees that we can use to fill skills gaps. LCR reminded the committee that we had identified legal skills as a priority area for recruitment; however as discussed, we may need to drill down into what sort of legal skills are required.
LCR noted that currently both committees have fewer trustees than in their respective charters. It was agreed that all trustees should be strongly encouraged to join one of the subcommittees, if they are not already on one.
Towards an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion framework
LCR briefly talked through her current thinking on this, and explained that she would be preparing a paper for the board meeting. NP commented that all organisations he’s involved in are being tested on this, and it’s not good enough being diverse in our ethos but not in action. He noted that a broad and diverse leadership is going to make decisions that will diversify the staff team.
LCR noted that there were upcoming discussions amongst the European chapters regarding the possibility of establishing a Wikimedia Europe office/entity. She will keep this group and the board updated on this issue.