Minutes 2018-12-13

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Board meeting 13th December 2018 4pm, Wikimedia Offices, Europoint House.



Josie Fraser (in Chair), Kate West, Doug Taylor, Michael Maggs, Jane Carlin, Marnie Woodward, Nick Poole, Lorna Campbell. Staff in attendance: Lucy Crompton-Reid, Davina Johnson, Daria Cybulska, Katie Crampton (minuting).


Jordan Landes

Declarations of interest


Minutes from the previous meeting

Lucy let the board know Wikimedia UK were not successful in the bid for the Mayor’s Fund.

Michael highlighted that the minutes from the September board weren’t on the website prior to the December board meeting, and in the interest of transparency they need to be. This delay was due to the minutes needing to be tracked down, as they were taken by someone who has now left, and the minutes having not yet having been approved.

Matters Arising

There is a recommendation from GovCom to appoint Sangeet Bhullar as a replacement elected member until the next AGM, at which point she will hopefully stand for election. Several people wanted to meet with Sangeet before the discussion, but there have been bereavements in her family which meant she was unable to attend the meeting. Josie asked the board whether they were happy to make a decision on Sangeet’s appointment in her absence and Sangeet Bhuller was unanimously voted in as a member of the board.

Action for trustees to coordinate through the office for when to meet with Sangeet.

The board is aware that Jordan Landes is preparing to step down as she is leaving the country in March, so the board need to be looking for potential candidates and collaborating with Josie to find a replacement. There will be several other vacancies at this year’s AGM.

The board needs to appoint additional trustees and/or external members to both GovCom and ARC. Action for trustees to let Lucy and/or Josie know if they are interested in joining either committee.

CEO quarterly report

Lucy presented her CEO report, the full version of which can be found here. Lucy is currently working on a part time basis, but will be back to full time in January.

Lucy relayed some of the highlights from the last quarter in the report:

  • Ada Lovelace Day in October provided an opportunity to bring into focus our work on gender, with events focused on women in science in partnership with Digital Science.com, GirlsCode (in Liverpool and Milton Keynes) and others, plus a Women of Skye editathon organised through SLIC which was covered by BBC News.
  • Technology has been the focus of recent work on the Welsh Wikipedia, with projects including the collaboration with the Dictionary of Welsh Biography over a new interface powered by Wikidata, and work with the Welsh National Terminology Portal at Bangor University, on which thousands of images from Wikimedia Commons now appear following our previous work with Llen Natur.
  • Other Welsh initiatives worth mentioning include the National Library of Wales project ‘The sum of all Welsh literature’, which aims to create a Wikidata item for every piece of Welsh literature in the Library’s catalogues (around 350,000 items); and the ‘Wicibroject Cyfoes’ infobox project.
  • Through our Scottish Co-ordinator, who has been in post since April and is doing very well in the role, we are working with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations on a new Essential Digital Literacy Framework. We are also building a relationship with Historic Environment Scotland, which funds many of our current and potential partners in the nation.
  • Our work with universities continues, with new partnerships emerging with Coventry, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, St Andrews, Stirling, UCL and Winchester.
  • Wiki Loves Monuments proved to be an excellent opportunity to galvanise our communities, enabling us to make connections with many new and existing partners as well as engage established and new Wikimedia contributors. The energy from Scotland was great in particular, and a special thanks to Michael for his volunteer hours was given.
  • During this quarter the work undertaken to refresh and improve our volunteer engagement started to bear fruit, with productive connections made between new volunteers and partners including Halsway Manor, Waddesdon Manor and Watercolour World. We will be exploring this model of working further in 2019.

We are now developing plans for 2019 - 20 and exploring potential new partnerships, as well as committing to various projects. These include:

  • Scoping a project with the Horniman Museum focused on their world ethnography and music collections, which have Designated status
  • Developing plans for a Wikibase project with the online archive of artists’ publishing, Banner Repeater, who are seeking funding from Arts Council England
  • Undertaking discussions with the National Gallery regarding how best they can integrate Wikimedia into their digital, curatorial and outreach practice
  • Supporting ContentMine’s proposal to the Wikimedia Foundation for funding to mine the LGBT corpus, in a project called DiveTech
  • Agreeing, in principle, to be the fiscal sponsor for John Cummings’s, long standing Wikimedian residency at UNESCO in Paris, which is currently being funded by the Wikimedia Foundation. Lucy contacted Josie and Michael for their in-principle agreement, but if John’s current application to the Foundation is we will need formal board approval. The board were broadly in support of this, and very positive about the work John has been doing at UNESCO, but will need clarity on any financial risk.

Lucy will be speaking at several upcoming conferences and has submitted further papers for consideration.

In November, Lucy hosted a meeting in the Wikimedia UK office with a number of open knowledge organisations including Open Rights Group and Mozilla and freelancers working in the field. There is a real energy to do work collaboratively with WMUK which Lucy will follow up.

Quarterly performance report

Daria touched on the highlights of the Quarterly Performance Report. She talked about themes of uncovering content in the strategy, like pulling out content that’s hard for people to access. The case study in the report is an example of this, with WikiData being used to help people find data though they have less expert knowledge.

Lucy mentioned the potential DiversiTech project with ContentMine and Nick supported the idea, but highlighted the need to be careful of ascribing an identity to a community. Lorna mentioned that Edinburgh University has a large archive of AIDS content, which she can be contacted about if DiversiTech want to use it.

Josie congratulated Daria on achievement against targets but queried whether this meant they were being set too low. Doug responded that the actual figures were very impressive, particularly compared to what was being delivered a few years ago. There was a discussion about ways in which we can measure quality rather than quantity. This is challenging, but Lucy and Daria will look at possible metrics for this as part of reviewing and updating the KPIs for 2019/20.

There was also a discussion about how we evaluate digital literacy, which is the key driver for our education programme. It was felt that a combination of metrics and user stories was probably the right way forward. We should also consider working in partnership with a university or other research institution on this and the quality question.

Annual Plan Grant Proposal

We submitted a much shorter proposal than is usually required by the Foundation as they are in a transitional year and were not involving the FDC in their decisions. Nick congratulated Lucy on producing an excellent proposal.

Lucy and Daria talked to the new programme strands, which align with the new draft strategy: 1. Creating knowledge equity, 2. Developing data literacy, and 3. Changing policy and practice.

Josie questioned why capacity and profile does not have a single programme strand and Lucy responded that this work underpins programme delivery but shouldn’t be a key part of Daria’s remit as Head of Programmes.


GovCom report

Josie gave a report on the GovCom meeting held before the board. Full minutes here.

In regards to the Trustees Skills Survey Nick proposed a discussion is needed around the differences in meaning, but as we were limited on time he just flagged it for the next board’s agenda. Lucy suggested this could be discussed at a trustee dinner if people are able to make the time for this.

Trustees need to be aware of community contact time, although Josie acknowledged that trustees already volunteer a lot of time to the charity. Being visible at community events would help the organisation be more visible and in touch with the community. Doug suggested the board discuss ways to make attending meetups more feasible, e.g. carpooling. It was also noted that as the board diversifies, the location of meetups, which are usually held at a pub, may need to change.

Action for Michael to do a proposal for the next AGM on quoracy.

ARC report

Jane and Marnie had their first ARC meeting as Chair and Treasurer, the minutes of which can be found here.

Consent items

Board to agree for Lucy to go on CAF mandate. The Finance Policy currently states that staff can’t be on a deposit account mandate which is what CAF is, so the board needs to agree to this change in policy.

The board was also asked to agree to adding Marnie and Jane to the CAF mandate and for

Greyham and Michael to be removed.

All items regarding the mandate were unanimously agreed, Davina to action.

As it stands, no one on SMT can approve anything over £2,000, so every month trustees were having to approve HMRC and salaries every month. It was at £10,000 but then was changed at an ARC while Davina was on leave. Marnie asked the board to consent to delegating a full review to March to which the board agreed. .

Nick questioned whether it’s time to take the risk to our annual grant off the register, however Lucy responded that given the new movement strategy, this risk is looking more likely over the next few years.


Jane explained that this is a provisional budget as there are two items (staffing and technology) where exact costs are currently unknown.  

There is a 3% cost of living increase for all staff except the CEO (who doesn’t have the authority to increase her own salary).

Lucy clarified that we receive our grant from the Foundation in GBP and it is a fixed amount.

ARC recommends accepting it as an interim budget and revisit in March to allow the team to carry on spending. Lucy pointed out that in fact the board has always seen a draft budget at the December meeting because the grant from the Foundation is not confirmed at this point.  

The board unanimously approved the provisional budget.

Marnie noted that there will be a statutory increase in the minimum amount that must be paid into a pension under auto-enrolment, which is going up to 8% in April. To be discussed in ARC and fed back to board at next meeting.



Date of next meeting

Sunday 24th March 2019 from 12noon to 4pm.