Talk:Reports 17Nov12

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Fæ's report

I'm leaving comments on Fæ's report here - I wasn't sure whether to put them here or to intersperse them amongst Fæ's points. I note that using the report page for requests to our staff is rather unusual, and I hope that they have been properly pointed towards this page.

On (1), I note that the trustees have already been provided with information that answers some of these points. Personally, I would be more interested in seeing a cost:benefit analysis, as well as an assessment of the current and long-term benefits of the program.

On (2), yes, I was also rather surprised by the high costs here. Improvements to our procurement methods do need to be made here.

On (3), I'm not sure that this is a matter for the Chief Exec; it's a much more general issue that relates to the board. We should talk about this at the meeting. However, I'm not sure that this task was properly handed over during the change of chair - I note that I (as an exec board member) only became aware of this issue yesterday.

On (4), this is a delegated responsibility for our CE to manage. If we want to revisit this, then that's a much wider question than you're asking here.

On (5), I think we've actually purchased 4 laptops here. I'd love to see their bookings being tracked on a wiki or public calendar. But this is a low priority issue compared to everything else...

On (6), yes please. I'm rather concerned that this may have exceeded the budget allocation without the board having been informed of that fact, and being presented with a request to modify the budgets.

On (7), I think we already have access to that information...

On (8), I believe that this is being tracked and dealt with. I look forward to seeing an update on this.

On (9), (a) and (b) see my email earlier today on this, I think you're fundamentally misunderstanding the situation here. On (c), I note that WMUK's hosting is currently being provided for free by myself, and that QRpedia is currently hosted by an external body. We'll be migrating both to a WMUK-paid server imminently, but I expect that the costs specifically relating to QRpedia then will be somewhat lost in the noise (since we're moving to a single general-purpose server, rather than dedicated servers for specific activities). On (d), I note that this will be the same sort of situation that Wikipedia operates under routinely.

On (10), I note that the contracts for development work are being awarded via a competitive bidding process that has taken place to the best of our abilities, with two trustees being involved. No consideration was given during that process as to whether the applicants were active volunteers for WMUK or not. The costs (which are on the basis of hourly or daily work) have been duly recorded - if there are other locations where that information needs to be recorded then please let me know.

On (11), I note that our trustees are also putting in rather significant hours per week, but I'm not sure how this is being tracked and managed to avoid trustee burnout. The idea of staff timesheets has been opposed by staff, trustees and volunteers equally in the past, but we do need to figure out a good approach here that balances the increased workload on staff that would be needed for them to keep track of their time against the need to record the amount of staff time that is put towards different activities - and that also needs to be done in such a way to maintain staff and trustee morale. I'm sure that there are 'best practice' documents available here, but they haven't been flagged in our discussions on this topic yet.

Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:02, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

On the how to respond point, I am expecting the CE's report and specific reports if necessary to be available which will address the questions. These can be cross-linked when available in advance of the meeting. If you know the answer already exists in an easy form, then it would be fine to add a cross-link now under any specific question. For example (7) probably is 'calculable' from current information, but it has never been presented in a simple form in an executive summary and is a commonly used key metric for assessing the efficiency or improvement of charities.
BTW, as Richard is quoting this report already, I would guess staff are aware of these questions being raised. -- (talk) 22:07, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
I haven't yet had time to read the report in full, Fae - have been too busy! Is there any chance that you could do a short section at the beginning of your report - or via email if you prefer - on where we currently stand with GLAM, a 'handover report' as it were, so that I can plan for future spends in the GLAM budget? I'm currently re-working the budget to take into account overspends and underspends. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 23:21, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

I am the volunteer you refer to in (10). I am happy to be named, and for us to discuss this publicly - indeed I strongly encourage it. The main reason I have not done so to this point is because it was my understanding my report & recommendations were awaiting board input. If the board, or you Fæ, wish me to answer questions or fill in details directly please do get in touch. --ErrantX (talk) 09:23, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Re. point 7: Staff salaries are not an administrative cost, except when they are doing administrative work. Their salaries while they are doing programme work is a programme cost. That is one of the reasons I have been stressing the need for some kind of tracking of what staff are doing with their time - otherwise it is impossible to answer these kinds of questions. Knowing how much time is going on admin vs programmes is vital for any charity, but WMUK doesn't have a clue because the relevant information isn't been kept. --Tango (talk) 12:05, 19 October 2012 (UTC)
Optimising time is an important thing that the staff should be considering. As a consultant my time tracking is crticial and I use various tools including on screen time tracker (choose the project then click Start/Stop) and automated monitoring tools. It might sound invasive (and any implementation should be done with care and sensitivity) but I've helped implement these sorts of mechanisms in small companies and seen dramatic improvements to staff motivation and reduced burn out.
Working lengthy overtime is non-optimal and if it is happening it needs to be examined and addressed.
Of course; implementing such tracking can sometimes be bad if it ends up focusing on deliverables or the monitoring is used against staff. Never good.
But allowing staff the ability to monitor their work and then go over the data with a line manager will probably give you massive gains in staff happiness :) It lets you identify areas of improvement to productivity (e.g. you might find that afternoons are *really* not your productive time so schedule lunch a bit later to take advantage of morning productivity). Alternatively a lot of people answer non-urgent email throughout the day; I've seen big performance gains by reading/replying to email in blocks (usually before lunch and before the end of the day). These things can all be identified/monitored with time tracking.
Also if staff have multiple programmes of work then this sort of thing will help them schedule it throughout the week. Everything should focus on deliverables ("By Friday I want to deliver a complete quotation for X, have phoned Y about Z, written document A about D and C") with staff creating daily todo lists that they can check off.
Productivity tools are often frowned upon as very "corporate"; but with proper training and use they can cut down long hours and improve staff sanity! :) --ErrantX (talk) 12:21, 19 October 2012 (UTC)
Second that, although it isn't quite that bad. Katherine & Daria are relatively straightforward, then it gets more complicated. Johnbod (talk) 16:00, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
I've moved your comment below ErrantX's to maintain chronology. Katherine's time may be fairly straightforward. Daria's isn't. She's been managing the interns, organising the logistics for board meetings, and probably various other administrative things. And even if it she was working 100% of programmes, you still need to know how much time she spends on any given event in order to know the cost of that event in order to know if it was value for money. Given all the attention the accountants and WMF have been giving to WMUK's accounts recently, did neither of them mention your failure to accurately account for staff costs? --Tango (talk) 17:04, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
No, neither of them mentioned monitoring (or even apportioning) staff time, even briefly, as far as I can recall. I think we're getting two different things confused here: firstly, staff measuring their own time for personal analytical purposes (like ErrantX is suggesting). I think that is OK - "allowing staff the ability to monitor their work and then go over the data with a line manager" is something that I do myself, and others do from time to time as well. The other sort is what Tango is suggesting: time monitoring for budgeting and cost analysis. I think that for such a small organisation - just four staff - it's going to be impossible to do that with any real accuracy. As far as that goes, I think it's simply best to make a broad split at the end of the year - something like "60/40" or equally broad - just for the first few years. And also, with the greatest of respect, I'd really prefer if my working style was managed by Jon, rather than by volunteers on a wiki - I am genuinely worried about this being used against staff, even with the best of intentions. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 10:37, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
A small organisation is precisely where this kind of thing is important. In a larger organisation, people tend to have narrower responsibilities so you know what they're doing with their time. WMUK staff split their time between lots of different things because there are so few of you. The individual work patterns of staff members are, of course, Jon's responsibility, but oversight of the staff as a whole is a job for the board, and oversight of how the board oversees the staff as a whole is a job for the members, so this is a legitimate topic of discussion on this wiki. --Tango (talk) 16:40, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, neither did when I spoke to them at the end of the reviews, nor is it in their written reports. Personally I favour a self-assessed "broad split" monthly - you can never remember over a period of a year - but not daily time-sheets. We are never going to be able to produce a neat Income & expenditure account for each event - quantifying, let alone monetizing, the benefits produced, such as new editors or edits, is the really difficult part. For bigger events we should produce more detail, but for the majority of small events, with barely any actual cash changing hands, it's not worth it. Scheduling/project management software is a different matter, and probably useful, but one to leave to Jon and the staff, at least at the moment. Johnbod (talk) 15:26, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Monthly is too long. In my experience, even leaving my timesheet until the next day makes it difficult to remember what I did. I record my time to a much greater precision (both in terms of time and task) than WMUK staff will need to, so I expect weekly would be sufficient, but if you leave it until the end of the month it will just be wild guesses (people tend to be very bad at estimating how long jobs took them - that's why the kind of start/stop timers ErrantX mentions are so useful, although I find I get interrupted too often for them to work for me so I just keep track of how long I spend working and then divide that time up at the end of the day - I often find I have an hour or two left over because I didn't realise how long jobs too me).
I think recording each week's work in half-day (ie. 10%) blocks would be sufficient for WMUK's purposes. Keep in mind, filling out a daily timesheet takes less time than filling out a weekly one (even in aggregate) because you spend less time asking yourself "Now, what on earth did I do on Monday?" and going through your emails and IM conversations to see if any of them jog your memory (which is especially annoying when your timesheet is all that stands between you and the pub at the end of the week!), so I would suggest staff members fill it in daily even if it is only submitted at the end of the week.
I think it is very important not to think of the cost of an event in terms of how much cash changes hands. The staff costs will be the biggest cost for most events, I would expect, so they really can't be ignored. Even if you can't quantify the benefits of a project very precisely (although we should be trying to get better at that), you can at least figure out the cost to a reasonable precision. You can then assess things relatively - you know one project cost twice as much as another, so you ask yourself if you think it was twice as beneficial. That will usually be easier to answer than trying to quantify the absolute benefits. Then you know what are the more efficient projects you do and can either concentrate on them, or concentrate on making the other projects more efficient.
I'm going to invite Garfield to comment here, since I would be interested to hear how the WMF handles this. I expect most WMF staff are sufficiently focused on one task that they can just allocate their entire cost to one budget, but that won't be true for all staff. --Tango (talk) 16:40, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

I recieved the following response from Garfield (reproduced with permission). --Tango (talk) 11:22, 26 October 2012 (UTC)


I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

I agree some allocation of staff time to program activity is ideal. What I would suggest, instead of real time allocations based on time logs (as this is time intensive) is quarterly allocations of time based on good assessment of allocation of time.

So in our case, we do an initial allocation of time across projects where the amount allocated is meaningful to measuring the cost of the program or activity and then readjust during the year as needed.

Looking at your budget and staff listing I could see allocating material portions of staff time across the projects of staff like your events manager so that she is recognized a program expense as appropriate.

Let me know if this helpful or we need additional conversation on this.

I am sorry that we did not get to meet and I hope we do soon.

Best regards,


Midas Training

1.c. Confirm how many and which volunteers that took part are interested in using their received training to gain personal benefit in their future commercial or career purposes (noting that being a paid WIR would be counted as such a benefit).

Look at the Objects:
The Objects of the Charity are, for the benefit of the public, to promote and support the widest possible public access to, use of and contribution to Open Content of an encyclopaedic or educational nature or of similar utility to the general public, in particular the Open Content supported and provided by Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., based in San Francisco, California, USA.

I think the point here is not so much whether "volunteers that took part are interested in using their received training to gain personal benefit in their future commercial or career purposes", but rather to what extent they have provided training for WMUK on a volunteer basis.Leutha (talk) 21:21, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Indeed. I'm not sure where this idea has come from that you can't benefit personally from charitable work. The personal gains are one of the main reasons people do charitable work (there is such a thing as pure altruism, but it's not as common as we might like to think). I've certainly gained personally from my time as a trustee. The skills and experience I gained in that role have been very valuable to me, and I think having it on my CV was one of the main reasons I got my current job. You have to put the interests of the charity above your own interests, but that doesn't mean your own interests can't be served as a by-product. --Tango (talk) 22:07, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
To put this in context, Wikimedia UK is spending several hundreds of donated pounds per head (I crudely estimate at least £800 per head including expenses) for these courses and giving certificates and (the equivalent of) grades for those that pass enabling them to offer different levels of training services. We do this for free, without much consideration or vetting to check if the person taking the course will be likely to help the charity delivering courses for Wikimedia projects and partners, and without any discrimination between those who have no intention of offering commercial services from those that are only interested in continuing their effort as a free charity volunteer. We are open to making proposals with partner organizations to recommend certified trainers who may well offer professional levels of remuneration for the trainer's time. I fully recognize that there are good things going on here, perhaps great things, but as someone heavily involved in the programme (having passed the course and been certified myself), I am also aware that:
  • we have no policies for handling declarations of volunteer interests with respect to this expensive training programme
  • or a process making it completely clear how future certified volunteers will be invited to deliver training to Wikimedia UK partners
  • or how Wikimedia UK will ensure that the process is suitably open and positively encourages volunteers who are happy to work for free (such as myself) rather than being in the odd situation where another volunteer effectively delivering exactly the same type of training would be paid £500/day for doing so, possibly even being paid by Wikimedia UK itself
  • Wikimedia UK has not discussed how recommending Wikimedia UK certified trainers who may charge a day rate for their services, is effectively turning Wikimedia UK into a agency for these professional services, or at least a professional certification body

Value for money and "budget holder"

One of the much overlooked requirements on trustees by the Charity Commission is that trustees must consider if any non-core service might be better done outside the charity's internal administration by bodies who can do so more efficiently. These on-going training courses and the eventual marketing of this service should be reviewed in the light of this requirement. I have raised this before with the board, but discussions have become bogged down and bypassed with the pragmatics of staff being busy with ensuring the courses are delivered to schedule as agreed and contracted with Midas. I only recently discovered that the Midas contracts cannot be terminated, which may explain why there is such a lot of pressure to protect the training schedule rather than consider the governance and ethics of what we are doing. -- (talk) 22:29, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Can we get confirmation of that £800 per head figure? I had no idea it was so high. We definitely need to think about whether that is good value. How are you allowing for fixed costs in that costing? --Tango (talk) 10:15, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
I asked for the per head figure in Question 1 of my report - "Detail the the running cost per head of Train the Trainers including all expenses as well as Midas fees." If I had confirmed figures, I would not be asking for them, only for them to be published.
My crude estimate only accounts for what I have been told about the contract price with Midas (I have an email somewhere in my mail-storm that had this at over £6,500 per event, such as the session this coming weekend, in agreed fees, before expenses and before post-training telephone reviews which are charged at a separate hourly rate), and what I know average per head expenses for volunteers staying overnight in London are likely to be, and makes no allowance for fixed costs, which I have assumed to be "free". As a consequence you can be assured that my estimate/guesstimate of £800 per head is likely to be an underestimate of total costs to the charity.
You will note that I stepped down from having any authority or responsibility for this budget two weeks ago. Just before I stepped down, not a coincidence, it became very clear to me that I did not have adequate reports from the Chief Executive and was excluded from necessary proactive reviews of commitments and changes to this programme, that would have enabled me to personally give assurance to the members that I had suitable oversight of operations as is my duty as a trustee. The inadequacy of budget controls, financial reporting and poor/missing communication from the Chief Executive, such that trustees are failing to have a level of credible oversight to meet our collective obligations will be a matter I would expect to be presented, very clearly, in the November board meeting. This should be conducted under the agenda item I have already added, but has sadly been moved to the bottom of the agenda where one might expect AOB; perhaps the plan is to drop it from the weekend's business in preference for status reports and discussions of detailed work instructions. Unfortunately this is the classic problem of people wanting to run "committee meetings" rather than really useful and effective board meetings that might focus on risks, issues and actions rather than status reports. See "Reviewing the effective implementation of delegation of authority for the Chief Executive." -- (talk) 12:29, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
I've just reviewed the finance policy, and it doesn't make it clear what the process is for authorising expenditure (which is probably the most important thing for a finance policy to do, so that needs to be fixed...). My understanding was that all expenditure within a budget had to be approved by the budget holder - I thought that was what "budget holder" meant (it's certainly what it meant when I first started using the term). If you didn't authorise it, who did? --Tango (talk) 20:35, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, good question and one that I have been asking in-camera and will raise, again, at the November board meeting. I suspect the answer is Jon, but it seems a poor answer if budget authority was not delegated to him either officially or as an informal working practice. According to the 2012 Activity Plan (which uses the term "Budget responsibility" not "Budget holder" or "Budget authority"), you might think it was Martin, but the board had clear discussions about delegation of budget authority to non-board members and future Associates (primarily to support committees) and as far as I am aware we never established a policy or process for making that delegation work. I was previously described in the Activity plan as "supporting" Martin, I am no longer prepared to be in any position where members who elected me might assume that I have apparent responsibilities when in practice I have neither authority nor the information needed to have oversight of whatever delegation of authority appears to be in place. Interestingly I reviewed this point with Martin, he is completely clear that he never thought or assumed he was the budget holder. Unfortunately nobody now seems to understand what "budget holder" really means if it does not mean that they have authority for how the money is spent and do not have the simple monthly/quarterly executive summary one might expect (rather than A3 spreadsheets of spend and forecast data) in order to make real budgetary decisions.
Until we have systems that I find credible when compared to other organizations, I will not be putting my name against any decision I do not have sufficient real information to understand the consequences of. Hopefully you will see that in my pattern of votes in those votes that are now being made public. You can be assured that pattern is identical for in-camera votes. -- (talk) 23:36, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
The finance policy says the budget holder is responsible for various things like "We shall endeavour to choose suppliers and purchases that reflect the values of the chapter, in particular not-for-profit, open source and free information". If they aren't actually making the spending decisions, then they can't take responsibility for that. The financial controls I drafted while Treasurer (which I can't find now) were flawed in many ways, but they did have a very clear process for how expenditure was authorised (which was never fully implemented because I never found the time to create the necessary forms). It was very clear that the budget holder authorised the expenditure and then the signatories made sure it had been correctly authorised and paid it and there was supposed to be paperwork at each stage so it was very clear that everything had been authorised correctly. That clear division between authorising and executing transactions seems to have gone missing, and I think it is a very important one. --Tango (talk) 11:16, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

How much it costs — £1,000 per head?

I included above an estimate of over £6,500 for the event this weekend. However Richard's spreadsheet recently linked in the FDC discussion page, see google doc, shows a figure of £8,369 for the June training event. I have no idea if this includes per diem, travel and accommodation or other expenses for the trainers and volunteers, or the post-event costs of supporting reviews (which may be the £2,184 figure in August). Putting this together with the fact that there were 9 volunteers taking part in June plus one staff member (Daria), this definitely looks like more than £1,000 per head for training volunteers, a price level that many members might find unexpected considering that the trainees make no particular commitment in return or are asked to explain their plans for using their certification for commercial income or career development. I note there are currently 11 volunteers signed up to the October session this weekend, though there has been a lot of churn on the names in the last few weeks so the final attendance may differ. I am sure this will be adequately explained in the November board meeting.

It is interesting to compare with some of the costs listed at Board/Training#2012_Trustee_training_register, the maximum of any training event per head has been £199 plus expenses for training trustees how to be trustees; in fact most of the useful training has been provided by other charities either for free or for the price of the lunch. -- (talk) 13:40, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Not quite: the budget document you linked to shows a figure of £8,369 spend on the Train the Trainers budget in the month of June. Not all of it is for that event - it is just the amount spent in that budget during that month, and may include other costs (such as hosting for Moodle, etc). It'll all be explained in the board meeting, of course, as you have requested. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 13:53, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, I had no idea that Moodle hosting was being charged to the Train the Trainers budget. I assume this was an agreed interpretation of "for the creation of teaching resources" under Train the Trainers Programme in 2012 Activity Plan, which seems to make sense compared to trying to shoe-horn it in elsewhere.
Could someone help me find where this payment for Moodle hosting was agreed? I can't find any matches in my email (theoretically I was probably the budget holder at the time) or in the public minutes but this is probably down to not having an easy way of searching it out. Cheers -- (talk) 20:08, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
This was before I became a trustee, but I'm pretty certain the budget-holder was (and still is) Martin. He might be able to tell you when the VLE project was approved. --RexxS (talk) 14:31, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
I'll send him an email as nobody on the board seems to know where to find the agreement. If you are losing track of the background here, I suggest you refer to the email thread "[WMUK Board] URGENT URGENT URGENT URGENT" started on 10 October 2012 by Jon, where I said in reply "I do not believe this has been clearly presented to me as the named budget holder apart from being buried in incomprehensible massive spreadsheets of guesstimates. From this point on, I am no longer the budget holder for train the trainers events. I cannot accept responsibility or authority for a decision to proceed with these events when I have significant doubts and questions and have had defensive and dismissive responses for a fortnight." Thanks -- (talk) 15:46, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
This is just a note that I've just spotted 'Train the Trainer' courses by GMCVO, which have a course fee of £150. I'm not sure whether they are comparable activities, but thought this might provide a useful data point. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 15:42, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
I attended the last train the trainers event, found it more worthwhile than I expected it to be, and learned something new to me about my teaching style. With a bit of luck it has made me a less worse trainer. I am not in a position to compare cost effectiveness of this event with other alternatives, but I can suggest a way to knock a four figure sum from the costs of future Midas events. I gather that Midas charge a significant premium to operate weekend training sessions, a quick discussion amongst my fellow trainess identified that several of us would happily have attended in working time if that had been an option and the saving to the charity would have been significant. So I would suggest that if we continue to use Midas and if we continue to run two such events a year, we should make one of them not a weekend (this might also enable us to involve the potential attendees in setting the date of the session, instead of simply announcing it and hoping that everyone would free themselves up for it). As for Leutha and others and their comments re personal gain, I would like to suggest that we indicate an expectation, and then run that on the honour system. To my mind a reasonable expectation would be that we only offer such a course to people who intend to volunteer as a Wikimedia UK trainer on at least half a dozen occasions over the subsequent couple of years (I've done rather more than that so far this year - but I'm in London so there are more opportunities). WereSpielChequers (talk) 23:18, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Trading Agency

"*Wikimedia UK has not discussed how recommending Wikimedia UK certified trainers who may charge a day rate for their services, is effectively turning Wikimedia UK into a agency for these professional services, or at least a professional certification body"
I am somewhat surprised by this:
"We know that some of our members are already delivering professional-quality training. They may think they don't need this weekend event, but it's especially important for them to sign up. It's a chance to:
"1. Get accredited. Being a wiki expert does not necessarily mean you can pass it on to other people: this makes it all the more important that we recognise and appreciate people who have that expertise and also the ability to train.
"2. Share your skills with others.
"3. Help design a training and accreditation programme that serves WMUK in the long term.
"If for whatever reason you aren't included in the initial group, you are not excluded from being an approved trainer in the future."
This was included in the first iteration of the page.

See also: * File:Midas tender from WMUK site.pdf Leutha (talk) 14:18, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

I stand by my statement and I am surprised too. None of the above text you refer to explains the implications to the Wikimedia UK mission or the significant change in charitable scope (as defined in our application to the Charity Commission) of acting as a consultancy services agency or a professional training certification body with commercial benefits for members. In fact none of the above discusses organizational impact, only the delivery of the training course. I believe I have raised the issue with the Board at least twice in the past‡ and I shall continue raising this as a serious reputational risk relating to organizational scope creep and potential governance failure until we have unambiguous policies and processes in place, we change our scope with the Charity Commission, or the programme is factored out of the operations of our charity. Thanks -- (talk) 14:58, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
In fact, I believe I first went on record to raise this an an issue in-camera with the board on 30 June 2012 (:office wiki, restricted access). Unfortunately though I pressed the matter, it was deferred. The minute made of my discussion was "We are planning an effective approved supplier list, is this fully in line with our mission and values?" The most recent follow-up was at the in-camera part of the Board meeting of 8 September where the draft minutes (rather naff-ly, I suspect I was far more eloquent at the time, at least in my head) state "Fae has issues with training people who might then go on and sell their services. He does not want to do this." -- (talk) 06:42, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
The target audience for the quoted text was volunteers who wanted to be trained, so it's not surprising that it discusses the reasons for going on the course, rather than organisational impact. If there's a problem with the idea that WMUK gets trainers trained and certifies their quality, what is the suggestion of how we deliver and assure professional-quality training (which we need) and why weren't the objections raised when the idea was first discussed a year ago? There are various ways to regulate what training is done in the name of Wikimedia UK, but it's tougher to regulate what people do in an unconnected context with skills they have learnt from working with Wikimedia UK. Fae, you need to spell out how in practice you would train others but control what they do with it. MartinPoulter (talk) 16:37, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
I consider managing potential financial conflicts of interest and delivering best value from use of our charity's donated funds the most serious issues of governance and cut to the core of our mission. I am not obligated to solve the problem before I am allowed to raise it as an issue, and I am not going to attempt to justify my actions or those of others from a year ago before I am prepared to raise this as a public issue in line with the Nolan principles and the Wikimedia UK values of openness and transparency. The UK Board must take these issues seriously and with the highest priority, and as a community we should not put pressure on committed volunteers with serious concerns to go away and find something else to do, rather than ensuring the matter gets fully dealt with. I assure you, I have plenty of other things to do with my time, but when I find myself repeatedly marginalized, de-prioritized and shouted down on these issues, then I believe this is when my duties as an elected trustee are shown in stark relief, and I continue to reflect on whether the Trustee Code of Conduct is a meaningful document to govern the board of trustees if I am not able to follow the principles set out therein when they really matter.
To repeat a point I made earlier, Wikimedia UK's mission is not to deliver education or training; specifically this is outside of our scope as a registered charity. If we wish to continue to have a successful education and training programme as part of delivering outcomes in line with our mission, this does not have to be delivered by Wikimedia UK and there are benefits to having the delivery factored out of our organization, including the ability for us to focus on standards and good governance rather than operational issues, even if we support it financially. -- (talk) 07:37, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
I disagree that delivering training is outside our scope, and I'm quite sure the people doing it disagree as well. Our mission is (in part) to support the creation of free content - training people in how to create free content (or, in how to train others in how to create it) definitely qualifies as supporting it.
I think the reason people aren't paying much attention to the issues you raise is that you aren't raising them in a very constructive manner. It seems to be more an exercise in political point scoring than an effort to help improve the charity. I suggest you write a short paper (2 sides of A4 - when in doubt, everything should be 2 sides of A4, it's long enough to get enough detail in, but short enough to be read during a coffee break) explaining precisely what it is you are concerned about and why, giving evidence where applicable and making recommendations if you have any. Then you can submit that paper for discussion at a board meeting (discussions work much better if there is something concrete to discuss). At the moment, it is very hard to know exactly what it is you are concerned about, because you keep changing it. At first you were concerned that the training wasn't value for money, then you were concerned that people were going on training for personal gain rather than alturistic reasons, now you're concerned that the training isn't within the scope of our mission. It is hard to keep up! (You have the same problem with your concerns about how decisions are being made - you fundamentally changed the nature of your concerns after people started responding.) If you have multiple concerns, outline all of them at once. I find myself agreeing with most of the concerns you raise, but it is difficult to do anything about them because of the way you are doing it. --Tango (talk) 12:23, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
I agree there are many issues here. I disagree that I have been shifting ground that much, it seems logical to address other points as they have been raised by others who seem to mistakenly think that I am trying to break the Midas contract rather than seeking clarity. I asked for information in Reports_17Nov12#fae1 on 18 October, this text has been unchanged and is outstanding. When I have that information, preferably in advance of the board meeting rather than by being surprised by answers in the meeting, perhaps some of these issues naturally dissipate. I do not intend to spend several days of my time as a trustee writing a lengthy report when I have been raising these same simple issues and asking the same questions for several months and am still waiting for basic factual answers. If you know of more constructive ways to ask these questions than by raising them in-camera over several months and then escalating them when this fails, I would be happy to consider them. Thanks -- (talk) 12:39, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
I have suggested a more constructive way - submit a short (not lengthy - no need to spend days on it, a couple of hours should suffice) paper for discussion at a board meeting. --Tango (talk) 12:58, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
When I have the facts then I'll consider a paper, not before. I have no intention of wasting everyone's time with speculation. Thanks -- (talk) 13:47, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
Minor clarification; in terms of training and education being out of scope, I stated "outside of our scope as a registered charity". Quite specifically during our charity application preparation and several legal reviews, it was made clear that unless we could demonstrate regulated competencies in examination and certification that WMUK could not be classed as an educational charity for the public benefit. Should we wish to either establish or partner with a separate organisation that is an educational services delivery partner, or change our registered scope as a charity with the Charity Commission (and amend our Objects) to now include this classification, then this may become our new scope and mission. I would welcome a resolution along these lines being prepared for the AGM next year if our members wish the charity to move in that direction.
With regard to your crack about politics, this is the second time you have made this allegation about me personally. I would be interested in understanding where you believe the benefit to me lies, considering that I am neither running for an election of any sort now or in the near future, nor hold what I consider a political position. Tackling risks and having adequate oversight is part of the necessary role of a trustee, I believe that most of our leading volunteers and members respect and understand that. Thanks -- (talk) 16:48, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
I really wish I knew why you're doing it... --Tango (talk) 17:53, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
Well, if you are not prepared to believe what I had said at length, then I certainly cannot help you. See you at the weekend. -- (talk) 18:10, 14 November 2012 (UTC)


Will somebody be reporting on progress in handing over the QRpedia urls at this meeting> Filceolaire (talk) 11:15, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

As you probably know, there is an action point outstanding from the August meeting (Board meetings/2012-13 List of actions #5 Minutes 21Aug12) for Chris and Jon to work on. I'm sure that one or the other will update us on progress. --RexxS (talk) 14:24, 3 November 2012 (UTC)