Share

Investigation into governance at Wikimedia UK launched

Investigation into governance at Wikimedia UK launched
News

Investigation into governance at Wikimedia UK launched

Governance | Niki May Young | 2 Oct 2012

An independent "expert adviser" is to be appointed to undertake an investigation into the governance of Wikimedia UK after the recent resignation of its chairman and a further trustee.

The Wikimedia Foundation, the charity which governs Wikimedia chapters worldwide, has called for the investigation to "ensure that governance arrangements are commensurate with the standing of the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia UK and the worldwide Wikimedia movement", the parties advised in a joint statement on 28 September.

The review will consider Wikimedia UK’s current governance arrangements, internal policies including the trustee Code of Conduct, the Nolan Committee Requirements, the Conflicts of Interest policy, the Representing Wikimedia UK policy and other relevant policies of Wikimedia UK, and best ethical practices.

In the statement, posted on the Wikimedia UK blog, the Foundation and Wikimedia UK refer to the resignation of trustee Roger Bamkin on 23 September over a conflict of interest where he was paid by local governments to lead two Wikipedia-related projects - Monmouthpedia and Gibraltarpedia. The investigation will specifically address Wikimedia UK's handling of this conflict of interest.

Although not mentioned within the statement, the review also follows the resignation of Wikimedia UK's chairman, Ashley Van Haeften, in July after he was banned from editing the English-language version of the site for, among other things posting an inappropriate link and using ad hominem attacks to try to discredit others. Van Haeften remains as trustee but was replaced as chair by Chris Keating, whose trustee term will run until the 2014 AGM. Bamkin is yet to be replaced, leaving six trustees responsible for the governance of Wikimedia UK.

Control over funding passed to Wikimedia Foundation - UK chapter will lose out on gift aid

While the investigation takes place Wikimedia UK will not be able to process payments from the annual Wikimedia fundraiser, which provides the main source of income for the charity - the Wikimedia Foundation will process payments for the UK instead.

This transfer of control to the international organisation means the charity will lose out on additional funds generated from gift aid, which it would have received since gaining charitable status in the UK last year.

Last year Wikimedia UK raised £1.05M (although under a fundraising agreements half of this was transferred to the Wikimedia Foundation), and the chapter projected a substantial increase to £1.4m this year including gift aid, estimating that 50 per cent of donors would participate in gift aid.

But the organisations advise that the transfer will demonstrate the high standards of the Wikimedia movement:

"Wikimedia UK has the benefit of legal and professional advice to assist in understanding and handling conflicts of interests. The goal of both organisations in carrying out this review, and Wikimedia UK’s in deciding to absent itself from the 2012 fundraising campaign as a payment processor, is to demonstrate that we mutually recognise the importance of handling conflicts well beyond simple requirements of the law.

"We understand our responsibilities to you: the members of Wikimedia UK and the Wikimedia movement, its donors, editors, and readers," the organisations advised. 

The review will not, however, make any changes to Wikipedia's policies and practices, as reviewing Wikipedia's editorial policies is left "to the community", the organisations said.

 

 

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

SIBs have advantages but face problems with complexity, scale and evidence, BIG report finds

28 Nov 2014

Social impact bonds have several advantages but face challenges to success including complexity, scale...

Charities could lose out on gift aid under devolution settlement, tax experts warn

27 Nov 2014

Proposals from the Smith Commission to give Scotland powers over the rate of income tax will have “significant...

Joint registration between Charity Commission and HMRC delayed

27 Nov 2014

Plans for the Charity Commission and HM Revenue & Customs to set up a joint registration process for...

Listen pledges £45k to emergency appeal to save Damilola Taylor Trust

28 Nov 2014

A charity set up in memory of Damilola Taylor, the schoolboy who was stabbed to death in south London,...

Charities could lose out on gift aid under devolution settlement, tax experts warn

27 Nov 2014

Proposals from the Smith Commission to give Scotland powers over the rate of income tax will have “significant...

More will-writers prompting clients to leave legacy gifts, research shows

27 Nov 2014

More solicitors and will-writers are telling their clients about leaving a legacy than at any time in...

‘The challenge is getting people to use IT systems’

28 Nov 2014

Whatever type of customer-relationship management system charities use, the biggest challenge is convincing...

'Be careful what you say and don't be boring on social media'

27 Nov 2014

Don’t be too serious on social media and be prepared to pay for premium services, delegates at yesterday’s...

'Focus on people as well as technology', IT experts told

27 Nov 2014

IT directors need to learn when to step back and allow others in their organisation to experiment with...

Join the discussion

Twitter
 
Training

Attending our one day courses is a highly effective way of ensuring new and existing trustees fully understand their role, responsibilities and liabilities.

>> Find out more <<