Minutes of the board meeting on 14th December 2020, 5:30-8pm online
Present: Nick Poole, Sangeet Bhullar, Rod Ward, Andrea Chandler, Doug Taylor, Jane Carlin, Marnie Woodward, Lorna Campbell, Kelly Foster. Staff: Lucy Crompton-Reid, Davina Johnson, Daria Cybulska, Katie Crampton (minuting).
Apologies: Natasha Iles
Review and approval of minutes
Action: DT and NP to discuss access to the Board Wiki, and new board members to add e.g. KF.
It was noted that the changes to the bank mandate were underway.
The autumn has been a particularly busy period for the whole team, including time spent writing our Annual Planning Grant (APG) proposal and budgeting for 2021/22. LCR was very pleased to report that we have been awarded the full £345,000 that we applied for.
Our new Head of Development and Communications, Natasha Iles, has been with us for 10 weeks and has settled in extremely well. LCR, NI, and KC have been interviewing candidates for the Fundraising Development Coordinator role with some very strong candidates. DAJ and Cath Taylor to join NI for the second round of interviews.
An update on Wikipedia’s 20th Birthday update will be covered later in the agenda.
LCR noted that she and NI are working on a large (£120k) fundraising application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), with the deadline in January.
We’re likely to end the financial year in a very positive position considering the current climate, with our funding not significantly impacted by Covid and the recession at this point. It was noted that the diversity of Wikimedia UK’s income streams has helped this situation, as has our lack of reliance on earned income.
In early December we took part in Giving Tuesday for the first time as part of a new social media fundraising drive. LCR thanked the staff in their absence for their amazing effort, and NP thanked LCR for her brilliant leadership.
Quarterly Performance Report
DC spoke to her high level summary report, which included some analysis of the situation within the sectors we work with.
Delivery on our first strategic goal has seen a lot of work around languages, with a particular emphasis on technical tools for translation.
We are increasingly involved in conversations about decolonisation, but mindful of the wider context of this work given the attempts by the DCMS to intervene in curatorial and other decisions by arm’s-length bodies.
The number of education activities have gone down, apart from at the University of Edinburgh thanks to our excellent Wikimedian in Residence there, and the Welsh Baccalaureate activities have stayed strong too.
Despite the pandemic we have been engaged with a number of policy and advocacy initiatives. We’re also engaged in more institutional advocacy, as organisations have reached out to us as the need for digital open access has become clear.
Despite the challenging circumstances, we had a good level of participation for Wiki Loves Monuments, the world’s largest photography competition.
The case study in the report is on Scots Wiki, which has proven not just to be a flash in the pan in response to the Reddit post, and is now a strong community with some excellent events led by Sara Thomas (and others).
DT asked whether Wikimedia UK can get involved in the project that’s been set up to pay volunteers to do specific tasks on projects. RW cautioned against a conflict of interest, as it was a very techy project and we’d need to know the parameters.
Action: NP suggested we get in touch with Naomi Korn regarding copyright.
Update on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
LCR provided a one page update on our activities following the discussion we had in a September meeting about EDI. LCR asked for any trustees to step forward to be involved, LC and SB volunteered. LCR will be reaching out to potential consultants to work with in the new year. NP commented that there is a culture war out there and asked if we are prepared for it. KF suggested pulling from organisations like Art+Feminism to see if there’s anyone there that can be a critical friend.
The board was given a summary of a survey taken by all WMUK staff, who are currently working from home. LCR asked for feedback from the board on whether we need a better policy for equipment and home working, or at least some guidelines? MW felt that a paper on homeworking would be helpful if not a full policy. Action: LCR to follow up. NP emphasised the importance of investing in the staff.
Report from GovCom
We had an excellent discussion at GovCom. We talked about the away day and we discussed the meeting structure for 2021 dates. Post-Covid we agreed that board and subcommittee meetings will continue online except for the board and away day in September. The board agreed that virtual meetings worked for multiple reasons, e.g. financially sound, convenient, and better environmentally.
LCR is working on the Trustee Code of Conduct, which will be brought forward in March.
Had an EDI discussion with Rosie Chapman, talked about really meaning it and culturally supporting the team in making EDI a reality.
We are planning to advertise externally for a new member of ARC.
JC ran through the agenda of the ARC meeting. The board discussed the recruitment of the new ARC member, and whether or not there would be the option of co-opting them as a full board member. Action: We’ll review what skills we need on ARC and on the board.
QFMR for Q3
The nine month position is quite healthy, we saw a surplus of £38k. Against the reforecast everything looks favourable, the only shortfall is major donors but that’s covered in other areas. We received funding from the Foundation to increase fundraising capacity over a three year period.
The year end forecast - we’re expecting income to come in above the earlier reforcast other than major donors, note the Science Museum. We expect to absorb the cost of new staff in other under-spends.
We’re presenting a break even budget. We had a talk around the fundraiser’s impact - there will be some stretch targets but we’re not predicating the budget on the new fundraising capacity, as it will take some time for this to make an impact.
The NLHF (National Lottery Heritage Fund) will be great but we don’t know if we’ll be successful in our bid yet.
We’re working on the basis that in person events will start happening in the summer, but will obviously review this nearer the time.
We’ve had a pledge gift of £5k from a donor to support our train the trainer programme, and we’ll be contributing to the extra £8-10k it takes to run this project. We will still be contributing towards the EU advocacy group, both to show faith in the global movement, but also for access to their expertise. There’s some budget for the birthday, which we’re planning as a year long celebration.
LCR has done benchmarking across the sector for an increase in living wage, and based on the Foundation’s invitation to increase APG amount by 3% for living wage. New financial year starts on the 1st February, so this would come into effect then. We will back date pay if the board can’t make a decision until March. We’ve absorbed NI’s cost in other underspends.
DT said RPI is 2.5%, and RW agreed it’ll likely be much higher after tariffs.
JC said we don’t want to be out of step with the rest of the charity sector, much of which is having to make cuts to their staff and projects. MW commented that a cost of living increase looks historically rather than forward. Action: LCR to email the board with a proposal for staff salary increases.
Move to approve draft budget as a working document - unanimous agreement.
NP said to take this moment to add to our reserves because there are hard times coming.
Nothing’s changed status. RW asked for QRpedia info, Jo did spend time fixing it.
LCR asked for focus on the two red risks: damage to the public profile, and on covid and brexit.
We’re proposing a change from having a specific number of months in reserve, to a risk based approach. For the current year there were a number of financial risks identified, with a reserves target set at the highest of these materialising, plus an additional one month’s operating expenses. RW asked about the reserves against activities cost and what is reasonable, LCR answered that we spend it within a year and wouldn’t have disproportionate reserves.
DT thanked DAJ and MW for the target and the presentation of the range, which seems tight. DAJ explained that the number has a basis, reserves are also there to spend as needed and then to be built back up. NP said it was a brilliant policy. Unanimous agreement to approve the new reserves policy.
ARC asked the board for approval to bring PKF in as our new auditors after a thorough tendering process.
LCR gave key highlights. We’ve decided to treat the whole year of celebrations, NI and KC are working on a communications plan throughout the year:
15th Jan is our virtual birthday party. 15th - 18th Jan is our #WikiLovesCakes virtual bake-off.
Wikpics - a Wikipedia picnic.
A Wikipedia treasure hunt.
The birthday will present opportunities for advocacy from the board. AC would like to be involved.
Date of next meeting
Saturday 20th March 2021.