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Grants talk:APG/Proposals/2013-2014 round1/Wikimedia UK/Staff proposal assessment

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We have read and noted the comments. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 13:16, 11 November 2013 (UTC)Reply

Response by Wikimedia UK


Introductory remarks


First of all thanks to the hard working FDC staff for their efforts in what is an impossibly short timescale. They are developing systems that have the potential to make spending by the whole movement more accountable and effective.

And thank you for acknowledging the very hard work we have done in moving towards governance of the highest standard. In two years we have moved from being a startup charity to reaching level two on the UK PQASSO charity standards matrix with significant inroads into level three, the highest. This has been achieved in a short time despite the difficult board issues we faced. Some of the issues we faced have worldwide community significance and we are sharing our learning with the community through workshops and dialogue.



We recognise the need for strategic planning and are working hard to achieve this. We have been debating our five year plan for two years with a great deal of community discussion and learnt a lot. We completely accept the need an agreed five year plan with high-level objectives and proper SMART targets. This will lead into detailed metrics in our annual plans. We are now reaching a final version which will be brought to our December Board meeting. We recognise the importance of assessing what we are doing and its merit. Over the last two years we tended to follow our established patterns. The 2014-15 plan has the built-in flexibility to re-balance our programme based on what we demonstrate works best.



We also acknowledge that we need coherent monitoring and evaluation systems.

While virtually everything we do is measured through feedback surveys, customer satisfaction, new participants, attendance, etc. we have been struggling to find a unified system that can bring all of these together. This is one of our top management priorities. We have recently brought our CiviCRM database into a state where it can be used as a central register of volunteer activity which will have a big impact. Staff training on this is scheduled for mid-December with roll out in time for the 2014-15 programme. We will also take advantage of the Foundation's Wikimetrics when it becomes available.

We believe that impact is not always measurable in terms of edits or Featured content. For instance some of the relationships we have built, or are building, create reputational benefits for our projects and can lead to the release of significant material. To be seen to be working with the UK's most prestigious galleries, museums, libraries, archives and educational institutions enhances the reputation of our projects but is less simple to measure.

To choose one example our recent Ada Lovelace events whilst attracting significant numbers of women editors also led to a feature broadcast on Women's Hour, one of the BBC's most-listened to programmes with more than 3 million listeners. The reputation of our projects in the UK must have been affected for the better, especially among women, but measuring the exact effect is more tricky.

Value for money


We have a very wide range of projects. With the smaller volunteer-led activities we recognise that immediate results can be difficult to identify but we are working to build follow-up systems to ensure better outcomes. We are also testing various formats and types of event to see which work for improving content, cross-training and retaining existing editors, and indeed recruiting new ones. At the other end of the activity scale we have established high-level relationships which will lead to significant reputational merit for the projects i.e. we work with the British Museum, the British Library, The Royal Society etc, and are working towards accessing thousands of important images and documents for our projects.

Two broader points about the process


A one-year FDC settlement does not allow chapters to plan far enough ahead. By the time we know our allocation we are only a few months away from planning our next application. A three year settlement would avoid this. It can of course be adjusted and the monitoring processes of the FDC should be adequate and could reduce a lot of time spent by chapter staff that could be used on planning, monitoring, evaluation and delivery.

We would like the FDC to be less negative about underspending. In the UK the NHS and local authorities have a perverse attitude to underspend. On March 31st every year such institutions spend or lose their funding leading to a burst of purchasing to use up underspend or lose it. At WMUK we are sad if things do not go to plan, for example we had three projects fall away through lack of partner capacity in Q2/3, but we are not going to spend for the sake of it to make the cash flow look good. Chapters should be praised for spending donor money wisely. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 17:01, 14 November 2013 (UTC)Reply



As a final reminder of what we are doing here is a list of our public events this year:








I've read your detailed response to the Staff Assessment and will take it into consideration during the deliberations about your proposal. Sydney Poore/FloNight (talk) 18:09, 15 November 2013 (UTC)Reply

Reserves and underspending


This passage is weird: «However, WMUK reduced its overall budget by only 9% in 2013, and maintained a budget closer to its originally proposed budget by using funds from its 2012 underspend and reserves». Compare to the completely opposite evaluation of reserves spending for another organisation: «proposing rapid growth in movement resources [...] However [...] also had used reserves to finance its current plan». An 8 % underspend on a budget of 91 % is still 44 % more spending capacity than the 58 % you had suggested, so I have absolutely no idea what you're trying to say here. --Nemo 11:24, 16 November 2013 (UTC)Reply

Yes Nemo it is very complicated! We had a budget set for 2012-13. We underspent it. The FDC allocated less than we wanted for 2013-14 so we used the 2012-13 underspend to top up the budget. In 2013-14 we still expect to underspend, though not by as much as in 2012-13. Our plan for 2014-15 is to reduce our budget compared with previous years as we think that is sensible, we need a year of consolidation. That is the story without getting into percentages. I hope that helps. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 10:59, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply
I understand the scenario that you are describing. :-) Sydney Poore/FloNight (talk) 14:27, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply