Talk:Charity Commission application

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Two points

Two points:

  1. If I understand the legislation correctly, our financial year is determined by our date of incorporation (I think, since we incorporated in November, our financial year runs to the end of November, I would need to look that up to be sure). If we want to change that I think we need to fill out a form with Companies House.
  2. We should specify the winter fundraising drive as a reason for wanting the registration done quickly in the "special circumstances".

--Tango 16:13, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the comments Tango. You're right about #1 but it takes about two seconds to do - we may as well decide this now and I'll fill out the form straight away. #2 I've added as a discussion. AndrewRT 18:17, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Does it need discussion? What are the possible arguments against it? --Tango 21:09, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
We might appear too pushy. AndrewRT 18:08, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't see why. It explicitly asks if there are any fundraising events you need the registration before. --Tango 21:21, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
#1 is it a wise idea to have the end of year at a time when everyone will be busy & not working? I assume there isn't much work required precisely on that day, as there is with a commercial company?
#2 makes sense, but bear in mind there isn't much space in the box (Andrew, do you have very small writing? ;-) ). Mike Peel 18:43, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
There's more work for us, at least until CIOs come out. We have to file with the Charity Commission and Companies House, a commercial company only has to file with CH. At the moment we are well below the thresholds for having to do complicated filings with CC, but hopefully that won't remain the case for long. (I think the first threshold is £10k annual income, we're not too far off that.) I think it would be good if the winter fundraiser doesn't cross a year-end, it's not essential but it would be more convenient. Also, we want to think about where our AGM falls with regards to Wikimania and the year-end. If we want the AGM to be a mini-conference (which I think we all do) then it would be good to evenly space the AGM and Wikimania, which suggests an AGM in around February time. It doesn't make much sense to have the AGM before we have our annual accounts worked out, and that takes at least a month or so after the year-end, longer once we have more hoops to jump through. So, taking all this into account, I would suggest a year end of 30th Sept or 31st October (I'd say the former, since it might help for the year to line up with the usual quarters). --Tango 19:24, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
mpeel - #1 doesn't require any work at all on 31 December itself (we have no inventories to count, for instance) - our main financial asset is cash which is shown on the bank statement! This gives us two-three months to prepare accounts before laying them before the AGM. They should be approved by the AGM before they are submitted to Companies House (required by 5/8/2010 or 30/6/10 if we have a Sept y/e) and the Charity Commission (reqd 30/10/2010 or 31/7/10 with a 30/6 y/e). As we're a corporate, it's just the same document sent to both places. Assuming we keep with a spring AGM and have accountants in place I don't think that should be a problem although it might be a bit tight in future years. I agree we should avoid having a year end in the middle of the fundraiser - looking at page 23 of the Foundation's annual plan, it seems that the fundraiser will be over by the end of December, making that a good cut off time. Presentationally, I think it would be better to include the annual fundraiser in this year's accounts - makes them look better, and wouldn't make sense to present accounts to the AGM and say - btw we've had a whole load of income since then. Based on that, I'd still suggest December year end but happy, of course, to go with a board decision. #2 - there's an electronic form somewhere (I haven't seen it but the person on the phone mentioned it) which I presume has no length limitation. If neccessary we can always attach further papers. AndrewRT 00:15, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
It looks to me like the fundraiser will be mostly over by the end of December, but not completely. In previous years it has finished in January. We should also consider when we would come up with an annual plan (or, at least, a rough budget). Having the fundraiser just before the year-end would help with that, we could have an annual plan published just before the year starts with accurate figures about how much we have available to spend (it would be written based on projections, but could be updated with actual values just before publication). That means having the year end 31st Jan, which would probably mean pushing the AGM back to March, which is fine, but I would rather not have it any later or it will be too close to Wikimania. --Tango 02:56, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

The WMF's financial year ends in June; perhaps we should match it? (The funraising agreement is changing to annual, rather than nov-jan). Mike Peel 05:46, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Policies to write

We need to write some policies to make sure everything we all understand is formally noted. --Tango 20:39, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Child protection policy

In accordance with this guidance, I suggest this policy:

Whereas, the welfare of children is of utmost importance.
Whereas, all children, without exception, have the fundamental right to protection from abuse.
This Charity resolves, as policy, that:
  1. Trustees, volunteers and anyone else working for the Charity should never be alone with a child or children.
  2. Trustees, volunteers and anyone else working for the Charity should never be responsible for a child or children without having been CRB checked.
  3. In the event of any concerns about or complaints against anyone working for the Charity with regards to abuse of children, the Chair will take responsibility for investigating the issue and, if appropriate, contacting the relevant authorities or seeking legal advice.
  4. This policy will be made available to any child or children that will be in significant contact with anyone working for the charity and to the legal guardian(s) or other responsible adult of such.
  5. The welfare of children will always be taken into account when hiring staff or selecting members to take part in activities involving children.
  6. This policy will be reviewed on an annual basis and updated to account for any changes in law, recommended practice of the Charity's activities.

All comments are welcomed. --Tango 20:39, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for this Tango - very useful. Don't fancy doing a "conflicts of interest" policy while you're at it! ;) AndrewRT 00:16, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
mpeel told me he had delegated that to you - I was very impressed at his strong chairing. Don't disappoint me! (I can do it if you really want, though, it shouldn't be too difficult.) --Tango 02:58, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
He's asked me to do it - I've declined ;). If the Board decides on Tuesday it wants one and no-one else has drafted it I'll volunteer then, but I wont have time before the meeting to do one in addition to all the other stuff I'm doing! AndrewRT 12:00, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Non-Wikimedia related activities

Theoretically, our articles allow us to support projects other than Wikimedia projects. In practice, we have no plans to do so.

In section C, we state "Our primary means ... is via the projects of the Wikimedia Foundation ... but also include such services as Flickr"

I'm not sure we should do this. I think we should reflect on what we actually plan to do - i.e. support the Wikimedia projects - and drop all mention of non-Wikimedia projects. AndrewRT 00:24, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

We have used Flickr, though, haven't we? For Wikipedia Loves Art? --Tango 02:59, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
Ditto Tango. Also, mentioning other projects has several benefits - it reduces the one-to-one link between us and the WMF (we're not all about Wikipedia), and it reduces the likelihood that CC will come back to us and say "you should narrow down your Objects to just include the WMF projects." Plus, I think it's good to show that we are using the broader tools on the web available to us to benefit our Object - we're not narrow-minded and thinking just of benefiting the WMF projects. Mike Peel 08:26, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
The purpose of Wikipedia Loves Art was never to create a set of free copyright photographs on Flickr. Flickr was only ever a conduit for getting the photos onto Commons. There isn't a single thing we've done, or proposed on Initiatives/Proposals or Initiatives/Ideas, which doesn't relate to Wikimedia. Wikimedia is what we do and what we are - hence our operating name. AndrewRT 17:09, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Length of section C

When we applied to to HMRC, this section ended up being about 5 pages long. I suggest this is about the length we need to answer this section. Ignore the fact that it refers to "public benefit". What it means is - prove to us you're a charity. I suggest we include pretty much all of Submission to HMRC. AndrewRT 00:26, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Whatever you do, don't ignore that fact! It is a fairly recent change to charity law that you have to pass the "public benefit test", that is in addition to having charitable objects. --Tango 03:00, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

The submission to HMRC was very much focused on responding to "The production of an encyclopaedia is not the charitable advancement of education" - however, my understanding of this section is that we don't need to defend that specific point, just talking in general about why our goals are for the public benefit. That said, it would be well worth including a copy of that correspondance with HMRC with the application, if that is possible. Mike Peel 08:19, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Have you read this guidance: "The Advancement of Education for the Public Benefit"? It makes some specific points about wikis, for instance, which may be worth addressing directly. AndrewRT 12:10, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
I can't read it, the file seems to be corrupt. I tried reloading it, but to no avail... --Tango 16:40, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
can you read the html version here? AndrewRT 17:06, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! --Tango 17:47, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
From that page:
The provision of factual information in a library is capable of being education because, in that case, the information forms part of a structured arrangement of accessible resources for broader educational activities.
That seems highly relevant to our dispute with HMRC. Replace "library" with "encyclopaedia" and the reasons still hold. --Tango 18:00, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Section C answer

Please pick and choose words, sentances and sections that are good to include:

Wikimedia UK is a novel form of educational charity. Many studies point out that certain groups are at risk of disempowerment in britain today, because of lack of equal access to information and knowledge. This includes minority language groups, remote groups, groups that lack access to high quality educational facilities, books, textbooks, and information, and those in areas of troubled teaching.

A form of modern communal empowerment known as a "wiki" has been created over the last ten years. A wiki allows minority groups to manage their own information, for their own benefit. This might be practical information suich as dictionaries, medical terms, legal and other public information, or information such as maths and science principles translated into their own language, books and texts, cultural information on britain, and materials they themselves find useful to create.

A huge amount of this material has been created already, in over 160 langauges from English to , on a charitable basis. That information is available for these people to use and reuse freely, an immense "leg up" for such groups and individuals. They need to be aware it exists, and how these tools and pre-existing data banks can be used in their lives, daily tasks, businesses, and education.

These tools, once a new invention, have proven their worth. The biggest wiki - the well known "Wikipedia" - is the 4th largest website in the world, used as a reference source by ?00,000 people daily, used in British court and trademark cases, for legal purposes, by doctors, and researchers. The current standing of Wikipedia is summed up by this extract from New Scientist (Date):

"How does Wikipedia fare as a medical reference? Its collaborative, user-generated philosophy generally means that errors are caught and corrected quickly. Several studies, including one examining health information, another probing articles on surgery, and one focusing on drugs, found the online encyclopedia to be almost entirely free of factual errors."

Wikipedia as most people know it is one of hundreds of such banks of information which Wikimedia UK is attemping to provide knowhow, and accessibility, to minorities and other disadvanatged social groups in Britain. We educate and provide training and resources directly and indirectly through schools, by provision of media, by free talks given "pro bono", and groups with specific requirements, such as local groups, groups providing local or niche information, and groups with branches distributed across the country, can use these tools for knowledge sharing and collaboration far easier and for free, compared to most traditional tools.

Seddon 00:46, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure how this should be incorporated within section C, as it seems a little broad (put another way, not specific to the question being asked). Perhaps it could be incorporated into a cover letter for the application? Mike Peel 13:47, 31 August 2009 (UTC)