User:Mike Peel/Living Paths/12Nov13 Report

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This is my report from the 'Welsh Steering Group' meeting held on the 12th November 2013 in Crewe.

Present:

  • Robin Owain
  • Terry Jackson
  • Mike Peel

Elfed Williams sent his apologies.

Robin and Terry gave an overview of the status of the project. The project is more or less going to plan (to be more precise, it is going according to the revised plan). Q1 deliverables were sent in today. Some funds have now been received from Geovation (circa £10k), and there is around £7.5k to come. Geovation and WMUK money is being spent as the seed money to pay invoices, then the receipts are sent to the Welsh government for reimbursement (this then enables the next round of spending, as the welsh government money is only provided after the fact). Overall the project is around 6 weeks behind, which is primarily due to delays with WMUK hiring the post. As a result, cashflow will be in the red near the end of the project, and the project will need a loan of circa £6k about 3 months before the end of the year-long project. There is a question of whether this could be resolved using a bank loan or an advance from WMUK. In my opinion, it would be better if it is a WMUK advance, as a bank loan would cost a few hundred pounds extra (plus more bureaucracy). The Welsh government is willing to be flexible with timing of the end of the project in this case.

Recommendation 1: WMUK should plan to provide this advance, if it is ultimately needed, to enable the completion of the project.

Robin and Terry then gave an overview of how the financial procedures are working. The process starts with Robin, who finds out the costs, and obtains 3 quotes for anything over £500. These are sent off to the treasurer if they are classified as petty cash; if they are not petty cash then the treasurer also authorises it. The relevant budget line is indicated to Terry, who then records the transaction in the cash flow; it is also recorded in the ledger by the book keeper. A purchase order then goes out to supplier. When the work is done, Robin records it and notes that the invoice needs paying; the ledger is then updated and the invoice is paid. An overview with finances is given to Jon Davies (JD) monthly. The money from the Welsh government is from the European Union via the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO); as such, the financial policies in use here are based on the WEFO requirements.

Robin's reporting to JD consists of talking over the phone for about an hour, either every month or every few weeks as necessary. Robin is reporting everything, including financial aspects of the project. Richard Symonds (RS) doesn’t have access to the project's bookkeeping; I’ve recommended him as a point of contact if any financial problems arise.

The training aspect of the project is going well. Training sessions focus on articles on listed buildings etc., and after the session it is up to them about how they go on to use that knowledge, for example when it comes to writing about articles directly related to their interests. They are working with, for example, a non-profit related to Welsh quarries, and Welsh colleges (which led on to a discussion about how they can teach wikiskills, leading to a 'snowball effect'). I mentioned the global education project in connection with this, and described some of the good and bad experiences from the US and India. There are also some links being developed with Swansea university, among other organisations. The focus is on English Wikipedia articles about villages/settlements/communities - there are lots of these that still need to be created, which are all notable, and this is an important part of supporting local communities. The aim is to have neutral articles, and the work is not related to tourism - the project is a 'Community project', not a 'digital tourism project' (NB: this isn't exact terminology here).

Robin had a question about reusing Wikipedia content. I pointed to the BBC Nature Arctic Fox article as an example of the best way to do this (see the Wikipedia transclusion some way down the page).

The first claim that has been sent in to the Welsh Government covered the period up to the end of October. We ran through the Welsh government deliverables as specified in their funding agreement letter. The relevant sections are the initial study and the first quarter deliverables. Item 1 ("Main Welsh and English Portals launched") and 2 ("16 sub-portals launched covering District Paths") are done; Item 3 ("Write, print and distribute 6,000 bilingual A4 guides to editing Wicipedia. Half page advertisement in Golwg plus online banner in Golwg 360 with link to dowloadable version of A4 guide. Letter / press release to all Papurau Bro.") has been moved to Q2 due to the funding needs; Item 4 ("9 coastal county councils contacted by surface mail; interest and comments to be logged.") is done. With regards Q1, item 1 ("10 new Welsh-language, online training videos published to complement the guide and publised on Wikipedia, YouTube or Vimeo.") is done, with around 24 videos created and released, and Item 2 ("Publication of commercially- sustainable, business plan for 2013-2014 extended project.") is also done. Wici Cymru are maintaining a document that tracks this. The Q2 deliverables will be done by the end of the year rather than the original deadline of the end of November, due to the 4 week delay. We also talked about the GeoVation deliverables, which are recorded in a separate document. Both tracking documents were shared with me at the meeting. I was impressed by both documents, which look like good practice that WMUK could learn from.

Recommendation 2: The deliverables tracking documents, and the budgeting spreadsheet, should be shared with WMUK/RS for info.

We discussed the copyright of government images; as part of this I pointed Robin and Terry to the Open Government License (and images that are already available on Commons under that license), which they weren't aware of.

Wici Cymru is in the process of becoming a charity. Robin and Terry explained that the application and relevant documentation has been sent in and that they are waiting to hear back about the application.

With regards staffing, the plan is that the project has 1.5 FTE, which is made up of a full-time Welsh Contractor (i.e. Robin) and also a part-time coordinator to deal with the paperwork. This latter role is a part-time one, at around 2.5 days a week, and is included in the project plan at a cost of £8.3k. As Wici Cymru doesn't want to recruit staff directly before they become a charitable organisation, for very good reasons regarding individuals being personally liable should anything go wrong, I recommended that they talk to JD about this position being recruited through WMUK, and seconded to them along the same lines as Robin (with WMUK invoicing for the costs). I pointed out that if the recruitment takes place via WMUK then this would have to be done according to WMUK's Recruitment Policy.

Recommendation 3: WMUK and Wici Cymru should talk to see whether this would be a good way forward and, if so, WMUK should recruit this part-time position.

We talked about the use of Google tools for the project. I pointed out that pages like that at [1] could be hosted by WMUK instead, and that Emmanuel is investigating alternative tools that weren't accessible by PRISM.

Recommendation 4: Wici Cymru should contact the tech committee/developers to discuss their technical needs, and to see whether WMUK could provide support and hosting.

I explained that I have been in contact with the Wikimedia Affiliations Committee (AffCom) about Wici Cymru's existence. I forwarded the correspondence to Robin and Terry to read through and respond accordingly.

Recommendation 5: Wici Cymru should contact AffCom to discuss their status within the Wikimedia movement and organisational structure.

Wici Cymru is currently meeting on the 1st Wednesday of each month. It was mooted that I attend one in about 3 months time. After discussion, it was felt that the next steering meeting should take place in early January, potentially prior to the start of a Wici Cymru meeting.

ACTION: Robin to send the date of Wici Cymru's January meeting to MP once it is known, with the intention that the next steering group meeting will take place beforehand.

Yes check.svg Done Meeting will take place on 5th February rather than January.

In summary, overall the project seems to be going well, and is proceeding according to plan. I was very impressed by the competence and professional ability of those working on this project.