Wikimedia Chapters Association/Governance/Checklist
Chapter Governance Checklist
How to use this checklist
This checklist is intended as a general self-assessment checklist for any Wikimedia Chapter. It may also be used for an inter-chapter assessment. The WCA can assist with inter-chapter peer review, please contact your council member or the Chairperson if you wish to have an independent and documented peer review for your chapter.
This checklist and supporting processes have been created by the WCA Governance committee, the checklist and the committee have yet to be ratified by the Council.
Not all questions on this checklist are relevant for every chapter. For example a new chapter may not have annual reports ready to present as evidence and the majority of chapters have no staff to be concerned about.
Mission and Plan
- Are the chapter's governing documents agreed and published?
- Governing documents are often in the form of a constitution or a set of rules.
- This is often supplemented by evidence of implementation and public benefit in an Annual Report and then often used to help with publicity and communication.
- Is there a detailed plan and budget for activities for the next year?
- Is an annual report published every year ?
- Is a strategy published setting out priorities for the next 3 or 5 years?
- Are legal requirements for board members defined and communicated?
- Training for new board members or prospective members may be required for them to fulfil their requirements as directors or trustees. Examples of legal requirements may include managing declarations of interest, regular financial reporting, tax requirements, annual public reporting requirements and reporting compliance with the defined constitution.
- Procedures should be in place for necessary declarations of interests of board members.
- Are board meetings held regularly?
- Meetings should be against a published schedule.
- Are board meetings minutes published with decisions and actions recorded ?
- Are there regular reports to the board on progress against budget and plan?
- Has the board agreed processes for making decisions?
- Has the board agreed processes for making delegation?
- Delegation to staff or contractors for financial or planned activities will need published agreements or terms.
- Oversight of legal and regulatory requirements may require regular reports.
- Does the board consult with independent professionals to ensure plans are robust?
- The board is unlikely to have a balance of all relevant skills and experience. Chapters often contract support as required for accounting and tax, legal concerns, public communications, governance and staff recruitment.
- The Board should regularly review any professional support contracts to ensure they offer value for money.
Members and users
- Are the benefits of membership defined?
- Are the activities of the chapter accessible to all users?
- Access by members of minority or disadvantaged groups may require specific plans, including those who may find it difficult to travel to events but may be able to take part remotely.
- Does the chapter communicate its services and activities?
- Members and other users should have unhampered access for planned activities and their resulting outcomes.
- Feedback on services should be encouraged and recorded.
- Processes for recording and acting promptly on complaints should be available.
- Are there training and outreach events for volunteers and users?
- As well as general Wikimedia project outreach, specific workshops designed to address the support needs of the chapter may encourage new volunteers to help with answering emails on OTRS, planning events and acting as key points of contact with other organizations.
Leadership and improvement
- Is the long term vision effectively communicated?
- The organization and volunteers should understand the vision and be part of its development and implementation.
- Are improvements made based on feedback, reviews and measured outcomes from events?
- Are the systems and processes of the chapter reviewed on an annual or more frequent basis?
- Reports of systems and process assessments and reviews should be retained and preventative and corrective actions tracked.
- Chapter activity plans and the long term strategy should learn and adapt from review feedback.
- Are key performance measurements tracked and monitored by the chapter board and staff?
- Examples of key performance measures may be time to respond to requests, on-time external chapter reporting, performance against the activity plan and the ratio of spend on programmes versus administration.
- Is a complaints process defined?
- The process should be easy to use and understand.
- Complaints to a chapter should be recorded, responded to in writing and independently assessed.
- Preventative action should be taken to avoid similar repeat complaints.
- Is there a development and improvement policy and plan?
- The organization should have systems to share information, learn from experience and establish best practice.
- Are there processes for recruitment and selection?
- Processes should be transparent and fair, complying with local equality and diversity requirements.
- Do all staff and contractors have published terms of reference?
- The chapter board must be aware of legal requirements for staff and volunteers.
- Is there introductory training for new staff?
- Are there regular meetings with staff and volunteers to discuss and review activities?
Access and transparency
- Are user groups identified and procedures assessed to ensure there is fair access to chapter events and services?
- Language needs, cost of travel, disabled access, internet access, access needs for minors or seniors and perceived minority or disadvantaged group discrimination are typical areas that a chapter may need to plan for to ensure fair access.
- Is there a communications plan with a maintained list of users and stakeholders?
- Volunteers and staff that are authorized to write or speak on behalf of the chapter should be identified, and their role as part of the organization defined.
- The communications plan may include a monitoring and reporting strategy to regularly assess media impact.
- Methods of communication with different stakeholder groups may require separate plans. For example, active volunteers may respond well to on-wiki discussion and chapter list emails, but past donors may require planned email shots.
- Are users provided with information on the chapter's events and services?
- Information should be timely and communicated in a format relevant to the user. For example geo-notices on Wikimedia projects may not be relevant to attract new users to chapter outreach events.
- Is user feedback encouraged and acted upon?
- Are there policies on confidentiality and transparency?
- There may be an expectation of confidentiality for some chapter correspondence, policies need to balance this against the common Wikimedia values of openness.
- Compliance with data protection legislation may restrict the chapter's transparency or the detail of membership records and attendance at events.
- Are the results of projects and events documented?
- Significant chapter projects are often documented as case studies. See outreach:Main page for previous examples.
- Are funding plans agreed a year ahead?
- Chapter funding applications may require significant planning and supporting evidence. Chapters often name a single key representative to coordinate the funding agreement and plan for each year.
- Are financial reporting and tax requirements planned for?
- Is a realistic annual budget agreed by the board and tracked against monthly income and expenditure?
- Income and expenditure should be recorded and accurate.
- Cash flow projections should be regularly updated.
- Are there published procedures for banking, payments, expenses and salaries?
- Bank statements should be reconciled with internal accounts on a monthly basis with procedures for alerts and action when there are discrepancies.
- Procedures for banking must ensure secure access requirements are in place, including multiple signatures being required for all significant transactions.
- Are appropriate insurance policies in place and reviewed every year?
- Are there independent financial audits?
- Recommendations from audits should be reviewed by the Board and acted on.
- Are capital items maintained and secure?
- Is the computer network and key records secure?
- Key records include membership, financial and official correspondence.
- Are resources managed to be environmentally sustainable?
- Chapter policies should encourage environmentally sustainable travel, recycling and ensure new purchases are assessed for sustainability and long term maintenance cost.
- Is there a published asset register?
- Is there a purchasing policy?
- Are organizational partnerships identified supporting programmes and administration?
- Some partnerships may include financial grants or financial commitments for which partnership agreements should be in place. For example a Museum where the chapter sponsors a Wikimedian in Residence project.
- Points of contact and expected outcomes for both organizations must be documented, notes of joint meetings are often sufficient.
- Activity plans are annual plans produced by the chapter which explain the activities of the chapter over the coming year and are part of the justification for any chapter requesting grants or receiving income from other fund raising activities. Regular activity reports are expected to be published by chapters receiving grants to demonstrate progress against the Activity plan, these are often published on a monthly or quarterly basis.
- Services are all planned activities of the chapter that deliver the mission. Examples include outreach events, financial reporting and membership processing.
- Stakeholder is any interested party that a chapter may need to communicate with. Examples include volunteers, other chapters, the Wikimedia Foundation, institutions that support chapter events and donors.
- User is any user of the services of a chapter. Examples are a subscribing member, a volunteer in chapter projects, an attendee at an outreach event or a donor during a funds raising event.
- Volunteer is anyone who provides their time to support the mission of the chapter and is not paid for their time.