Govcom minutes 2018-11-15
GovCom Minutes 16th November 2018
Present Josie Fraser, Kate West, Michael Maggs, Lucy Crompton-Reid, Katie Crampton
Apologies Rosie Chapman
Declarations of interest relating to matters on the agenda
Minutes of last Govcom meeting
- Minor edit needed to the minutes for clarity regarding plans for the board away day.
- Lucy to put the away day agenda on the GovCom meeting agenda prior to the 2019 away day.
- Minutes to be amended to say that Carol was thanked for her term at the last GovCom meeting.
Trustee Skills Survey
JF talked through the results of the trustee skills survey, which included an evaluation of the board’s effectiveness as well as a survey of skills and expertise held by trustees. The results of the survey were broadly positive, however there were a number of areas in which further discussion, consideration or training is needed, including:
- Whether the board tackles the ‘big issues’
- Whether trustees commit enough time to the board
- Whether trustees are sure what their legal role as trustee is
- Whether the board identifies key stakeholders
- Whether the board learn from past issues
- Whether board members should be editing Wikipedia more
Several gaps in skills were identified, which should be prioritised when identifying potential new board members. These include:
- Communications and marketing
- Legal skills (following MM’s departure next summer)
It was agreed that a training session on the legal duties of trustees should be arranged for early in the new financial year for all board members. We also need to review the board’s access to training more broadly. In the meantime, LCR stressed that the board can contact her with any training needs and/or conferences, events or training courses that they would like to go on in relation to their trustee role.
Board committee membership
There is an upcoming gap in legal skills on the board once MM has to step down in Summer 2019. The committee would like to find a new trustee with legal skills who would ideally also sit on GovCom and/or ARC. It was suggested that Rosie Chapman may be able to suggest possible candidates.
Michael and Kate will come to the end of their maximum term at the next AGM, and Jordan has already indicated that she will be stepping down. In addition, Lorna and Josie will be coming to their end of their existing term but eligible for re-election.
The potential appointment of Sangeet Bhullar was discussed. It was confirmed that as we currently have three co-opted trustees and therefore can’t co-opt any more at this point, Sangeet could be appointed by the board to replace an outgoing elected trustee until the next AGM. This would have to be by unanimous vote of the board, as stated in 17.5 of the Articles of Association.
The board need to recruit in the areas of technology, legal, communications and fundraising. Action for board to look at their own contacts. Action for Lucy to make a table of board members with appointment and term expiry dates.
Membership numbers are fairly steady at around 520. There was a discussion regarding whether we should be pressing ahead with more members despite the quoracy issues at the 2018 AGM and the fact that there was no resolution at the AGM to lower the quoracy requirements for future meetings. It was generally felt that these issues weren’t specifically connected to the number of members and that we should continue to push for more members. It was agreed that there should be a resolution about quoracy at the 2019 AGM. KW mentioned that at ERS, quoracy was based on a fixed number rather than a percentage of membership, which is something for Wikimedia UK to consider.
Organisational membership wasn’t progressed during Lucy’s maternity leave so she will be following this up now.
The 2018 AGM was held in London because of the opportunity to hold the event at the Natural History Museum, and the fact that the vast majority of WMUK members live in London; however the 2019 event should be outside London. The city with the second highest number of members is Bristol, and it was agreed that this be recommended to the board as the host city for the 2019 meeting.
Schedule for 2019
Lucy highlighted that this is the second year of trialling a mixture of full day and evening board meetings, and sought feedback over whether this has been successful. It was felt by the committee that this pattern is working well and that Lucy and Katie should recommend a schedule of board and committee meetings for 2019, for circulation to the board in December.
Wikimedia UK’s servers have been migrated to Amazon Web Services. An external technology consultancy are supporting the upgrade and migration of Civi, which is an essential discrete piece of work but which will also be used as a trial for whether we want a longer contract to use their support services. Doug has suggested a potential replacement for Emmanuel and a meeting is currently being arranged. Amazon could be ideologically controversial among our community. Action for Lucy to share the paperwork about this decision.
Michael believes the organisation needs to be able to access more technical expertise, either in the form or volunteers or staff, and also commented that some Wikimedians in Residence appear to have these skills.
Date of next meeting
Thursday 28th February 2019.