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Questions and Answers related to the governance review


Q: How did this report come about? Who originated the suggestion for the report?

The report was commissioned jointly by Wikimedia UK and the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) in October 2012 following community discussions about conflicts of interest concerning Wikimedia UK, specifically relating to the management of wiki-based outreach initiatives, including QRpedia, Monmouthpedia, and Gibraltarpedia.

You can read more about the report background on the WMF blog here

Q: What is the conclusion of the report?

The report looks at how pre-existing policies and procedures were managed in light of conflict situations. The report also provides insight and advice on how to address any deficiencies in Wikimedia UK’s policies and practices. The report makes those recommendations and also provides a timeline for implementation.

The report was not intended to lay blame or identify any individuals nor actions who may have been at fault. The focus was on policies and how decisions and actions were carried out. Through this report we also aim to build a better future for Wikimedia UK, and lay the groundwork for stronger governance. We also believe the report may benefit the wider community of Wikimedia affiliated organizations by providing an example of best practices around governance and decision-making as applied to a chapter.

Q: Who conducted the report and how was it carried out?

The report was conducted by Compass Partnership, a UK-based management consultancy with experience conducting reviews of this kind, and advising non-profits on issues related to compliance with UK charity laws. Compass Partnerships was chosen from a list of candidates developed by both Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia UK.

The report involved collection of records (primarily minutes from meetings, emails and correspondence), interviews with officers and others involved in the projects (from Wikimedia UK, WMF, and other organizations), review of on-wiki and publicly available materials, and other fact-gathering.

You can read more about the report background on the WMF blog here and you can also review these details within the report itself.

Q: What was the desired outcome of this report?

WMF and Wikimedia UK jointly commissioned this report to gain an objective view into the activities that took place and the decisions made by Wikimedia UK, and to produce suggestions that address any observed issues in governance – particularly as they relate to the management of conflict of interest matters in the UK context.

We also believe the report may benefit the wider community of Wikimedia affiliated organizations by providing an example of best practices around governance and decision-making as applied to a chapter.

Q: Who paid for the report and the review?

The report was commissioned jointly. WMF covered the costs of hiring the consultancy firm; however both WMF and Wikimedia UK contributed considerable time and effort into the collection of information and in assisting with the report authors.

Q: What is the Foundation’s view on the findings of this report? What is Wikimedia UK’s view on the findings of this report?

Please see our joint statement. Wikimedia UK and WMF will also be taking part in the discussion here

Q: What are the immediate outcomes of the review? Are any actions being undertaken immediately by Wikimedia UK or the Wikimedia Foundation?

WMF and Wikimedia UK jointly undertook this review and the creation of the report with the shared understanding that the recommendations would be reviewed and adopted immediately where appropriate. The Wikimedia UK board will be reviewing the report, and the timeline for implementation of the changes proposed, at their Board meeting on Saturday 9 February. Some of the proposals will need to be discussed by the whole Wikimedia UK membership before they can take effect.”

Q: What is the status of the QRpedia project – and the other community ‘pedia’ projects

The report outlines clear recommendations for clarifying the ownership and operation of the QRpedia project. The other community projects are still active, although neither WMF nor Wikimedia UK are planning to support new projects of this nature at least until that question is resolved. Updated, 11 February: Wikimedia UK, Roger Bamkin and Terence Eden have reached an agreement about the future ownership of QRpedia. Full details of this agreement will be shared in due course.

Q: Will there be more community ‘pedia’ type projects and use of QR codes?

There are no current plans from Wikimedia Foundation to expand the number of the community projects. The Wikimedia Foundation is not planning to review nor approve any licensed uses of the Wikipedia trademarks for the purposes of community projects at this time.

The report makes recommendations about clarifying the ownership and operation of the QRpedia project. Wikimedia UK is currently in negotiations about the possible transfer of ownership and operation of the QRpedia project. Updated, 11 February: Wikimedia UK, Roger Bamkin and Terence Eden have reached an agreement about the future ownership of QRpedia. Full details of this agreement will be shared in due course.

Q: Will Wikimedia UK now be permitted to take part in the Wikimedia fundraiser?

This report was not commissioned to examine Wikimedia UK’s fundraising activities and its conclusions and recommendations are focused more broadly on governance and operational details. We expect Wikimedia UK will revisit the topic of the Wikimedia fundraiser when the time is right.

Q: Did the governance review cover any issues related to financial matters?

The focus of the review was to examine the decisions made by Wikimedia UK, as well as pre-existing policies and procedures. The report does make specific recommendations relating to the disclosure of financial information as it relates to transparency and accountability. Wikimedia UK’s finances were audited by UHY in 2012.

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