Grants talk:APG/Proposals/2016-2017 round 1/Wikimedia UK/Proposal form
Thank you for your application
Hello, WMUK team! Thank you for submitting your complete application on time. We look forward to reviewing it in the coming weeks, and will contact you if we have questions or need more information.
Please add a concise summary for the purposes of community review
Hello, WMUK team! Question #1 is intended to provide a concise summary of your programs in the upcoming year for the purposes of community review. Accordingly, we need a summary that is short enough to include in the template at the top of your page, so that a casual reader can get a high level view of the content of your proposal. We found it difficult to shorten the text already provided here, which is complex so we are requesting that you write a brief summary here on the discussion page, so that it may be added to the template. Please contact us if you have questions about this request. To give you a clear idea, this summary should not be much longer than the note I am currently writing (e.g. 4-5 sentences would be ideal). Thank you! Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 17:14, 4 October 2016 (UTC)
Just to note for transparency purposes, a summary was emailed to the FDC support team on 4th October and added to the box at the top of the proposal by that team. LucyCrompton-Reid (WMUK) (talk) 16:36, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
WMUK's strategic plan is now available in open, standard (ISO 17469-1), machine-readable Strategy Markup Language (StratML) format at http://xml.govwebs.net/stratml/drybridge/index.htm#WMUK or, more specifically, http://xml.govwebs.net/stratml/carmel/iso/WMUKwStyle.xml User:Owen Ambur 20:54, 19 October 2016 (Eastern US)
Thank you WMUK for your independence. You are among a few affiliates who rely for less than fifty percent of total spending on funding by WMF. You are not only an independent affiliate, but a financially independent one as well. I appreciate that. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 07:08, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Questions from FDC members
- Program 1 provides some information about working with the House of Commons, including education and engagement targeted to staff. Historically, there has been quite a bit of negative publicity about government/political personnel editing English Wikipedia, not to mention the challenges of addressing conflict-of-interest charges on-wiki. How do you foresee addressing these issues?
- Program 2 includes your work on EU initiatives. Thank you for explaining your reasoning for the continued work in this area in light of the Brexit vote.
- Hi, apologies for the delay in response and thanks for your questions. The House of Commons is the lower chamber of the UK Parliament and distinct from Government. We will be working primarily with staff (rather than members) who are similar to Civil Servants and must be strictly politically neutral. As such, they are a great partner that have as much (if not more) interest in avoiding the above mentioned conflict of interest editing as we do.
- On the EU initiatives, the UK is currently still a full member of the EU and will be for several years. Additionally, any changes to that status will likely result in arrangements where we are still required to comply with EU law as part of accessing the EEA. Moreover, while we can still influence EU policy we should do so for the benefit of the wider Wikimedia community. Stuart Prior (WMUK) (talk) 10:26, 29 October 2016 (UTC)
Hello. Thanks for your proposal! Please forgive me for the late questions.
- Programme 2 contains a large fraction of your programmatic budget, and volunteer time, but it's not clear to me what the direct outputs would be. It also looks more like work that will take up time, but not particularly much budget (in contrast to program 1, which is more WiR/event-based). Please could you explain a bit more about how the ~£70k for this program will be spent in practice?
- I'm also curious about the division of staff time between the three programmes, particularly that of the three programme coordinators, but also more widely. Presumably some of the programmes take up more staff time than the others?
- Ping @LucyCrompton-Reid (WMUK) and Stuart Prior (WMUK): just in case my question hasn't been spotted yet. :-) Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 22:19, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
Reponse to Mike Peel's questions:
Question 1: Mike, it’s possible that you’re assuming that our partnerships activity is all budgeted under programme one, however we have actually analysed our different activities and attributed a percentage across each of our three programme strands (illustrating the extent to which our activities are all interconnected!) So for example, you might assume that our budget for supporting residencies all goes under programme one, given the link between these activities and the creation of content. However the way we work means that these residencies involve a substantial amount of advocacy for open knowledge, which is reflected in our budgeting for programme two. To make this clearer (I hope!), 90% of our volunteer and community support budget is allocated to programme one, with 5% allocated to programmes two and three. However only 40% of our partnerships activity budget is allocated to programme one, with 50% allocated to programme two and 10% to programme three. The entire external relations and advocacy budget is allocated to programme two, which includes things like the chapter’s contribution to EU advocacy and all our print materials.
I hope this helps to explain why the budget for programme two is larger than you might expect, but if you need more clarification we should be able to send you more detailed budget information. I’m actually on leave at the moment but feel free to email me and we can discuss what would be most helpful for you and the other FDC members to access in order to better understand our budget (and financial planning process). Thanks for the question Mike and apologies it’s taken so long for me to get back to you.
Question 2: The short answer to this is yes! The more comprehensive answer is that in creating our fully costed budget for each year we produce a staff time budget based on quarterly projections by each staff member; giving us planned budgets that include staff time, a proportion of overheads and direct costs. We then look at these figures as part of our quarterly management accounts, comparing budgeted staff time to actuals and analysing variances. Staff time budgets for 2017/18 are currently being developed in time for our Audit and Risk Committee and board meetings in December, which is why the detailed breakdown is not available at this point.
Less is More
It's important that Wikimedia observe "The Rule of Truth" (TROT); in other words, that Wikimedia publish articles that are as close to the Truth as humanly possible. The UK proposal is all about window dressing and the incorporation of potential propaganda from the UK government, which is not only expensive but wrong. There's no proposal on how to best improve the accuracy of an article or expand the knowledge base with the most accurate, unbiased information available devoid of the agenda of special interest groups, corporations, governments. Wikimedia needs to concentrate on TROT and not get side-tracked on white elephants. $400,000 is a lot of money. And this money is best spent on upgrading the accuracy of Wikimedia: to make it as unbiased and propaganda-free as possible. So that Wikimedia will be a beacon for lovers of Truth everywhere. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Disjunction (talk)
Thanks for your interest in our proposal and for adding your comments. At Wikimedia UK we are very committed to expanding open knowledge with accurate, unbiased information and we achieve this through working with and supporting volunteer editors, subject specialists, content holding organisations and others to contribute to Wikipedia and the other projects. Incorporating propaganda from the UK or any other government would be wrong - as you rightly point out - and in direct contravention of our charitable status as well as our role within the Wikimedia movement. I think the project you are picking up on is our proposed work with the House of Commons - which is part of the UK Parliament, not government - and which is one of a great many different projects that we are likely to run next year. This particular project aims to open up Parliamentary information and ensure that the politically neutral staff within Parliament understand how to work with Wikimedia in an appropriate way that increases access to unbiased knowledge and information. The activities will also be funded by the House of Commons, rather than Wikimedia UK (although we will cover our own staff costs). I appreciate your passion for truth and knowledge but please believe me that we share this at Wikimedia UK! LucyCrompton-Reid (WMUK) (talk) 17:02, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
Questions from RightCowLeftCoast
Why this amount? What is the minimum amount that the grant submitter believes is needed to accomplish these goals? Can the grant submitter accomplish the goals stated in your proposal, without funding? If the grant submitter can't, why not? If the grant submitters grant request is not approved, what alternative sources of funding are you seeking? If only one grant is approved during this round of grant approvals, why should this grant be approved rather than all the other grant proposals--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 17:11, 29 October 2016 (UTC)
Hi there, thanks for your questions, some of which I can answer and some of which are more difficult! We have budgeted carefully for the next financial year based on our previous experience and our delivery plans for 2016/17 - which is how we have come up with the amount requested - and we believe that £310,000 is the minimum amount needed in order to meet the plans outlined in the proposal and deliver our strategic goals and objectives. We are already seeking other funding as we need to raise £337,000 ourselves to make our budget balance, from a range of funding sources including individual donations and trusts and foundations. With our current resources and capacity, and being mindful of the current external environment in the UK, this feels like an ambitious but achievable fundraising target which we are committed to achieving. However it is extremely unlikely that we would be able to raise alternative sources of funding to replace the Annual Plan Grant if this was not approved. We would therefore be in a position of having to cut our budget for 2016/17 in half, which would mean a major organisational restructure and redundancies and a significant impact on our ability to deliver our planned activities. I don’t feel that I can answer the question about why this grant should be approved rather than all other grant proposals, as whilst I have skim read most of the applications from other Wikimedia chapters I have not undertaken the sort of detailed analysis required to make funding decisions of this nature, and would feel uncomfortable drawing comparisons between our own proposal and those of our peer organisations in other countries.
It may be worth noting that at the time of writing, the amount we are requesting in sterling (£310,000) is actually the equivalent of about $378,000, rather than $406,000 as declared in the bid. With the value of the pound continuing to fall it’s likely that the net cost to the Wikimedia Foundation of supporting Wikimedia UK would be considerably lower than the $406,000 requested.
Innovation Idea for WMUK -- Method of Access
I'm really inspired by this WMUK proposal. I also fully support the idea of using this to spark innovation for Wikipedia. For example, I'd love to see some "new" methods of interaction explored (ideally, querying and also contribution), similar to Siri / Google Now / Amazon Alexa for the partially sighted, and also those who are occupied by something which means they cannot look at a computer screen. I realise this is very, very difficult, but it would be great to try to break the problem down. For example, how might someone like Prof. Stephen Hawking interact and update the Wikipedia of the future?
Innovation Idea for WMUK -- Nuggets in Wiki-nodes
Another possible innovation area that could be part of the UK Site, and folded back into other Wikimedia sites, could be to leverage contributions, or somehow flag contributions made to other wikipedia sites often in other languages (e.g. Wikipedia Germany) that relate to a topic already covered in UK wikipedia but in greater depth, such that editors and contributors can then properly incorporate those into the UK site.
A topic in de.wikipedia.org might actually be highly relevant to the UK, such as a description of a village or a church or whatever it is, however they will have written it in their own native tongue Wikipedia (in this case, naturally German). However this content is high quality and would be great if folded back into the WMUK site. So I wondered as an innovation idea, could those good contributions be flagged for incorporation back into the relevant sub-Wikipedia (in our case, UK)? Machine Learning / AI might be required (I'm guessing) and my apologies in advance for incorrect use of Wikimedia jargon. I'm just thinking that if we did have this capability, it might potentially make even greater use of those topics / nuggets of information within Wikimedia UK, that can be reflected back into Wikiedia Germany (and vice versa, as appropriate). This is probably much harder to do in practise, again apologies if this isn't clear! I can always annotate with a sketch or diagram if required. Thanks. All in all, this is very inspiring and I wish you great success!
Wikimedia UK Budget Reforecast
The Senior Management Team at Wikimedia UK reports to the board about budget variances on a quarterly basis, and generally reforecasts (with a year end outturn position) at the end of the third quarter. This year however, given that there were some signifiant changes to certain income and expenditure lines (as detailed below), it made sense to reforecast our annual budget at the end of the first quarter in order to avoid having to report on known variances throughout the year.
There were a number of reasons for reforecasting this early in the financial year, as follows:
- The original budget was based on our proposed grant amount of £310,000, rather than the £297,500 we were awarded
- Following a highly successful campaign at the start of the year to encourage our donors to sign up to the UK government's Gift Aid scheme, the amount we expect to receive from Gift Aid during 2017/18 went up significantly from £12,000 to £33,500. Please note that a substantial amount of this represents backdated claims (as we are entitled to backdate Gift Aid by four years) and therefore the figure won't be as high as this in 2018/19, but will still be higher than in previous years
- At the time of budgeting, we were aware that we would possibly be moving offices in 2017 due to Development House being sold; however by the end of Q1 we were able to more accurately forecast the associated costs of the move, taking place in August 2017. Given that there were a number of one off costs associated with the move including legal fees, agency fees and actual moving costs, the board agreed that we could draw on some of our reserves for this expenditure and plan to end the year with an operational deficit of £12,000 (against our original breakeven figure)
- We budgeted for an increase in our full time staff equivalents of 0.6, but following feedback from the FDC to grow incrementally, we changed this to a 0.4 increase in staffing
- At the time of creating the budget, we weren't aware that one of our team would be going on maternity leave in June; however by reforecasting the budget at the end of Q1 we could ensure that this information was taken into account
- At the request of the Foundation, we are now budgeting for an external audit for our 2017/18 accounts, rather than an independent examination; and whilst this will take place in Spring 2018, the cost will be accrued to the financial year the audit pertains to (as per good practice).
As you can see from the attached document, our budget for programme expenditure has remained almost unchanged:
For the purposes of our Progress Report for 2017-18, please note that we are using the reforecast figures in place of the original budget submitted with our proposal last September.
If you have any questions about any of this, or need any further details, please do get in touch.