Minutes 2023-03-16

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Wikimedia UK board meeting

16th March 2023, 4 pm - 6.30 pm, online meeting


Chair’s Welcome

Present, Apologies, and Introductions

Present: Monisha Shah, Vivan Wineman, Marnie Woodward, Sangeet Bhullar, Caroline Ball, Rod Ward, Adrian Beidas, Julian Manieson, Daria Cybulska, Jane Carlin, Lucy Crompton-Reid, Natasha Iles, and Chuks Ogbonna (minutes).

Apologies: Mark Cruickshank, Kelly Foster.

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting, thanked Sangeet for coordinating the appraisal on her behalf, and said that she will sign them off.

Declaration of interests


Review and Approval of minutes of the previous meeting


Matters arising


Executive Reports

CEO Report (LCR)

The report was taken as read and LCR was invited to make additional points, which were as follows:

LCR highlighted things around the risks and mentioned that we are in the process of moving £100k each to our bank accounts, Shawbrooks and Co-op. AB asked about the £85k protection, and LCR answered that we should be in the process of opening another savings account to further spread our risk. MW made a point that we should move fast on opening these accounts, supported by AB.

Action Point: Open the account as quickly as possible

Decision: delegate power to approve accounts opening to the ARC committee

Update on the Online safety bill

LCR gave this update and mentioned that some aspects of this bill are being dropped by parliament, this has zoomed up on our risk register. LCR mentioned that the legislation is currently incompatible with the WMUK model. SB asked a question about the possibility of lobbying to create exceptions before it progresses, and LCR answered that she's been in contact with a few members of the House of Lords. MS wanted to know what we can put in place if the bill comes into practice and what we can do about it.

Organisational Dashboard for Q1 (LCR)

The board chair drew members' attention to the dashboard and asked for opinions on it. NI talked about the issues we’ve had with tracking our social media and gave an update on where we are compared to our targets. CB asked about why we have gone from green to amber on the EDI plan, and LCR answered by saying that …..

Programmes Report  (DC)

Daria gave this report and mentioned that for the first time, we have done our Train the trainer in-house, and DC also supported the national collection. She mentioned that the UK civic space has been downgraded and this will affect our work around information literacy.  

She reported on the foundation awayday attended and that she has established a connection with the person in charge of the movement, there was a considerable focus on research of the community around fundraising, and also there is an affiliate strategy. She also mentioned that the foundation is interested in funding ‘the education hub’ which is a new idea, focused on technical infrastructure, according to her, it is worthwhile for us to keep an eye on this.

MS mentioned a point to new trustees that there is no obligation on the WMF to fund us or our activities, they have the right to fund other activities too. She thanked Daria for her report.

Development and Communications Report (NI)

NI presented the report, and mentioned a strong performance compared to the budgets, she said that we are pulling information from the different places that we receive income from and trying to make sure that we receive gift aid from as many donations as possible. As for donations, there is a good performance in the past year.

MW requested that Lucy send links to any press interviews for us to see what is been written about us in the press.

SB asked Natasha to please look into a platform called ‘Charity extra’ for fundraising, NI thanked her and asked members to send through any potential grants to staff.

Finance Report (SM/MW)

Monisha welcomed Sharon to her first board meeting. Sharon gave an update on what she has been working on and they include: upgrading our bookkeeping systems, and processes, amongst other things. She mentioned that the office move is part of her top priorities in the coming months.

Strategy and Business Items for Discussion

The proposed budget for 2023/23 (LCR)

LCR broke down the report sent to members, she highlighted that staff salaries are increasing, there's been a small restructuring among the programs team, and the number of staff has increased, among other changes.

  • MW pointed out that we have already received our full grant for the next 2 years, among other things saying that these will put us in good stead going forward.
  • JC thanked the team for the wonderful work they have done and looked forward to the next year.

Decision: The budget was Unanimously approved by the board.

The proposal for new CRM (SM/NI)

Sharon mentioned that we approached 3 organizations and in the end chose Access. The decision was based on several months of research, including meeting with one board member, Andrea Chandler, meeting with several members of the team who engage with the CRM, and also meeting with other organisations who currently use Access Charity.  SM highlighted that ongoing costs will be t approx. £13k a year amongst other fringes, there has already been a small proportion budgeted for our current provider Veda.

  • JM asked if moving to this CRM will further make us not meet up with GDPR and the online safety
  • AB asked what the return on investment for this is, considering our position as a charity. NI answered that we may not get anything significant in the first year, but that this will help us engage more with our donors and drive fundraising forward, she also mentioned that most of the benefits are intangible.
  • RW stressed that he does not believe that financial return is the main reason for doing this.
  • JM followed up by asking about how the costs will change over time and SM answered by saying that the costs will reduce with time.
  • AB asked that we have a look at this decision again in 1 year.

Decision:  New CRM approved by the board.

QRPedia update and discussion (LCR)

Issued by LCR. this was taken as presented. Members had a very brief discussion on it. LCR mentioned that whilst we do not actively use it as a tool, others do.

  • MW expressed confidence in this report. She also said she wasn’t very aware of it but it may be an opportunity worth taking.
  • RW said we should think about the IT support costs which are already substantial, LCR said for it to be more useful, the entire code would have to be rewritten, but that the risks are minimal.
  • JM echoed what RW asked about the costs of transferring the ownership rights and LCR answered that is possible but does not see many benefits from such a transfer, but may be worth knowing that such companies may be even smaller than WMUK. MS summarised by saying that the board is willing to let the CEO try some options.

Action Point: Look into the costs of transfer of QRPedia.

Reports from Committees

ARC, 9th March (JC)

LCR mentioned that we had a fairly heated debate on the staff salaries increase and revealed that there was information from 10 different chapters and that our proposal was in line with what other chapters have done in terms of increasing staff salaries.

Decision: Staff Salary increases approved by the board.

  • MW said that we have had a good year so far, and thanked Sharon for her work towards year-end.

Risk Register(LCR)

LCR has made some changes to the risk register and added additional outcomes. Members were happy with the presentation.

Governance Committee, 1st March (MS)

MS thanked members for meeting with her individually and updated them that there are a few things to iron out with LCR.

Community Development Committee, 16th January (LCR)

LCR gave the update and revealed it was a useful and important meeting. LCR added that we have started working on the idea of community support.

Any Other Business

The board chair asked for this and thanked everyone for attending the meeting.

The meeting ended at 17:58pm.

Date of the next meeting: Away Day on Thursday 9th February, Morning meeting followed by lunch, in person

2023 meeting dates:

Friday 16th June - Q2 board meeting, online or in-person to be considered, Morning meeting

Saturday 1st July - AGM, online morning meeting

Friday 15th September - Q3 board meeting, online, morning meeting (9.30 - 12.00)

Wednesday 13th December - Q4 board meeting, in person, afternoon meeting (4 - 6.30 pm)