Talk:Conflicts of interest policy/2012 redraft

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fine Victuallers (talk) 13:45, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

"Expenses will only be reimbursed if they ... are on the proper form ..." - It looks like I won't be getting any expenses then, because there's no way I'm using that form. Otherwise it all looks good to me. --RexxS (talk) 23:50, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

We have a number of forms that could be considered 'proper', and there may be future variants that are made available. As such, I've tweaked the wording to say "have been properly filed", which makes things a bit more flexible whilst following due process. Hope that helps. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 07:18, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Balancing opportunities between trustees and volunteers[edit source]

One topic that is becoming increasingly frequent is opportunities for delivering paid training and contracting related to Wikipedia. Given that these opportunities often come through Wikimedia UK work or contacts, trustees will naturally end up in the front line for responding to these opportunities. We need to figure out a way of balancing these opportunities evenly between non-trustee and trustee volunteers, to make sure that there isn't a significant trustee benefit arising here, whilst not excluding trustees from having an equal opportunity for responding to these opportunities.

This may be more a case of process than policy, but I think that a high-level description of our approach would fit into this policy well. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 07:15, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

One way we are making sure that this is properly done is through the Training the Trainers programme. We are moving to the point where anyone doing training on our behalf has to have done the training on how to train. I foresee a world where there will be the following categories of training activity
  • Where volunteers deliver the training and claim out of pocket expenses if needed.
  • Where organisations offer us a fee for the training but volunteers decline to accept any payment but as above take out of pocket expenses if needed.
  • Where organisations offer us a fee and volunteers decided to take a part of that payment as a fee for the training. We will have to work out what a fair rate would be.

Of course if any of the trainers are also trustees this has to be declared and handled very carefully. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 11:04, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

  • I note that this is more than a little theoretical, despite the introductory claim that this is an "increasingly frequent" scenario. In 2012 so far, I don't know of any paid training or contracting opportunities that have been externally requested through Wikimedia UK work or contacts that trustees or anyone else could have actually bid for in an open process. In 2011 I was offered a small honorarium for an academic sector event that I declined rather than having to go through the fuss of declaring. I would rather policy reflect the needs of non-hypothetical situations. The board has been exceedingly cautious in terms of open declarations and open bidding, far more open than almost any other charity would be prepared to offer and far in excess of any Charity Commission guidance. In practice we have the reverse problem, trustees are actually put off from taking payment of any kind or thinking of participating in an open bid, even when it is obvious that they have the best experience and skills to offer and the activity (such as speaking or helping with a workshop) does not represent any obvious or tangible conflict of interest. In practice there are two major challenges in attracting future trustees (1) our history of past directors and trustees shows that anyone sitting on the WMUK Board is likely to be out of pocket by several hundred pounds per year, mainly due to avoiding the administrative hassle of submitting minor expenses, (2) anyone with an obvious related professional interest, a related political or personal hobby, or even a "less than dull" personal life is at risk of being heavily and repeatedly criticised, scrutinized, and obsessively investigated. With this background we are likely to attract a less diverse board and being a trustee will become only suitable for the independently rich and the retired. -- (talk) 13:53, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Restrictive practices[edit source]

"where anyone doing training on our behalf has to have done the training on how to train" - What? So I'm a qualified teacher and I cannot now talk about Wikipedia in a lesson without sitting through someones powerpoint and getting WMUK to pay for me to be bored? This is crazy. Victuallers (talk) 13:38, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Yes, as an alternative, "I see a world where any new volunteer can take part and support our charity in any of our activities making best use of their abilities." If someone has the right skills and experience then the training is a "nice to have", not a barrier to entry for supporting our charitable mission. This fits our values rather better I think most will agree. Let's not create a closed shop where we are seen to eagerly raise the drawbridge after making up rules to suit ourselves. Thanks -- (talk) 15:18, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
Several points:
  1. Why will trustees "naturally end up in the front line for responding to these opportunities"? Is this covered in the Equal Opportunities Policy? I have searched this wiki and understand that it is available on request. Perhaps it should have be made available with a its own page?
  2. "Expenses will only be reimbursed if they ... are on the proper form ..." The procedure for claiming expenses should be made proportionate to the amount and circumstances. Volunteers (including trusteess) should feel confident that reasonable expenses will be paid promptly and with the minimum of bureaucratic fuss.
  3. This issue relates to anyone doing training on behalf of Wikimedia UK. What teachers do in their class room outside of WMUK activities is not constrained by WMUK policy.
  4. If "volunteers" take part of any payment (above and beyond agreed expenses) they are then being paid/employed.
    1. If the payment is made through WMUK and then disbursed to the person delivering training, then they are working for WMUK. I am not sure that this scenario is compatible with being a Trustee. There would also be a number of contractual issues which would need to be sorted out.
    2. If WMUK refers an organisation to a WMUK member who is then taken on by that organisation to deliver training, then that is a different situation. This could prove problematic and an effective referal system needs to be worked out.
  5. However if WMUK refers enquiries to a OTRS managed by a different organisation, then a distinct "different situation" is created. This may take more work to set up, but in the end it could prove easier.
  6. It would be more than useful to have a clear explanation of what Training the Trainers consists and how it is envisaged working. In particular it would be useful to have an explanation of what is meant by accreditation and how this meaning relates to the use of the term by such organisations as the British Accreditation Council and other professional organisations dealing with accreditation.

I take on board Fae's point, and I feel that there may well be a number of members who would be interested in helping out supporting people become editors, but without taking on full accreditation. On the other hand, effective training often involves having people take on administrative tasks which are less appealing to volunteers. I feel this needs full discussion.Leutha (talk) 00:21, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Overlap with Finance Policy[edit source]

Parts of this draft - specifically the expenses section - overlap with our Finance Policy... for example, "Travel by train or aeroplane will be reimbursed for standard class only unless First Class is cheaper." conflicts with "First class fares may be reimbursed where the cost is less than standard class plus the reasonable benefits of first class [e.g. internet access and catering]". Some clarity on this would be appreciated! Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 11:22, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Better idea is not to restate text particularly where it is obvious. For example restating the rules on the use of bicycles and that we do not authorise the use of personal jets doesnt need to be re-said here. It just creates a maintenance problem. Victuallers (talk) 13:33, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

What does this mean?[edit source]

"No board member may:"..... "sell to" .... "the chapter" ... "unless" "A majority of trustees do not receive a benefit." Victuallers (talk) 13:49, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

I think that stops a scenario where a board is effectively bought off, or a scenario where a commercial form of entryism might destabilize the charity. Strategically such a policy ensures that a diverse balance of trustees should be maintained on the board, rather than, say, it being acceptable that half of the voting trustees declare financial interests in the same major supplier. Probably. -- (talk) 15:25, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
But if the trustees with conflicts of interest are declaring them and leaving the room then does it matter? The trustees who've left the room can't outvote the rest as they can't vote on the issue at all. WereSpielChequers (talk) 15:42, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
This is covered in Article 5.4 (d) (i) so not really something we have a choice about at the moment. Am not sure what the rationale was originally but it does seem sensible. 86.163.189.127 20:18, 10 August 2012 (UTC) - sorry, that was me, just not logged in. The Land (talk) 09:23, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
This is not just hypothetical, but vanishingly unlikely, so I can't get excited about it as a constraint on a future potential board. The only sort of scenario I can imagine would be where a big name like Google takes over the Foundation and starts making contract or share offers to UK board members. I'm likely to be dead and buried by then, so not one for me to worry about. -- (talk) 21:56, 10 August 2012 (UTC)