How do others feel we should collectively run HSF? I personally think if there is interest their should be at least one director from each member space, as that makes most sense to me to avoid conflict or inbalanced? What other ideas do people have or feelings about that one?
Having attempted to coordinate organisations in the past with an unbalanced representation of its members it sounds to me an excellent idea that each space should have one representative on the council/committee.
The directors list should probably be a very small subset of that committee and exist only as 1) legalities require it and 2) the tie breaker to make shit happen if the committee stalls out in disagreement.
Since the ukhf foundation was created,it has always been the intention that we would a) signup some member spaces/individuals, then b) elect some directors… Russ+Jonty are only currently directors because someone had to be.
One per space sounds quite unwieldy to me, I assumed (and I think we wrote down, tho would have to look where), we’d have the same smallish odd number (5-7) of directors as spaces tend to do (in my experience).
Big decisions I assume, will be made democratically, the directors mostly get to do the boring stuff…
Edit: found it
Yup, the intention is to allow each member space to appoint one person to the “management committee” (along with supporter members). That committee will make all the major decisions.
There will be a small board of directors elected by the committee who will handle the legal necessities but the intention is for the committee (or subcommittees) to do most of the work.
We don’t want to elect new directors until we’ve allowed a reasonable number of member spaces to join. This will hopefully be soon, but it still depends on some website work.
Rumours of my plans to stand down as a director have been exaggerated - I intend to stand for re-election in order to help with the financial stuff and to provide consistency, but I hope that we can find people on the committee to help with the majority of the work.
I am sorry if i accidentally exaggerated your intention not to be directors, I was basing that entirely on what was posted by jonty yesterday, maybe i mis-understood his post.
My main aim here is to keep the HSF as flat, fair and simple as possible. If the directors will have no power, what is the point in having the complexity of a two tier system and the added administrative burdon that creates? Why would we waste time voting on a subset of people to be directors when allowing any member to be one would be much simpler and fairer? adding and removing directors has no cost and add’s no budron. IF there is a genuine reason not to do this i haven’t seen yet i would love to learn.
It has a huge cost - you have to file paperwork with Companies House whenever a director is added or removed, or changes address. Some people may be ineligible to be a director or object to having their details on the public record.
We expect 40+ spaces to join as member spaces. Managing a company with 40 directors is completely impractical (it’s hard enough with ten).
i thank you for your time discussing this with me, i am here to learn, sorry if i can seem attacking, that is not my intention. i am aware i have poor language skills sometimes.
i submit my own papers to companies house (AP01 for director changes) and it doesn’t cost me anything if send electronically and only a stamp if sent by paper? if your paying a management company to do that yes it costs but i don’t see why we would pay someone to fill out and post a simple form for us?
can you explain how managing 40 directors is any different to managing 40 committee members? surely all the process used will be practically the same? what things do you envisage the directors doing that the committee won’t be involved in? surely all the directors do is approve a budget which would only be a rubber stamp anyway as the committee will prepare it?
your point about not being able to keep your address private is partially valid, although it’s totally legal to use the hackspace address as long as post would get to the person somehow. also, apart from directors barred for fraud, anyone who can reside in the UK over 16 can be a director, so what type of ineligibility are you talking about?
From the perspective of someone joining:
- I have seen a couple of situations where people don’t want to become a director. I believe some employment contracts prevent people from being a director of another organisation.
- I have personally experienced financial fraud related to the fact I was listed as a director on Companies House, even though my director’s service address wasn’t my home address.
- Directors have a number of legal responsibilities which members don’t. Some of these legal responsibilities carry criminal penalties. It’s unfair to force those legal responsibilities onto people - it should be a voluntary decision.
From the perspective of an organisation:
- You’re right that the costs are not financial, but there are significant costs in bureaucracy.
- If we have 50 directors who each change address every 3 years, and hackspaces change their representative every 2 years, you’re looking at about three Companies House filings per month. Each of those filings must happen within 14 days of the change or all directors are subject to criminal liability.
- Financial institutions will require personal details - and sometimes ID documents - for every director to conduct money laundering checks. I’ve experienced this with Barclays (our bank) where they will require a paper form to be posted in for every change of director, even if they don’t need access to the bank account. So you’re now also filing forms with the bank at least monthly.
- This means that you have to securely store and handle lots of sensitive personal data on all members, which presents a risk in itself.
- An organisation with more than 10-15 directors is quite unusual, and this setup could cause problems with getting future funding.
Having all members as directors is an extremely unusual approach and I suspect there are other issues I haven’t considered. It’s definitely not simpler than electing directors.
By comparison, handling members (rather than directors) requires that we keep a list internally - and that can be kept up to date by members themselves on the website.
thanks for taking the time to reply, those all seem like totally valid reasons and i now retract my suggestion! as long as as much power as possible is in the hands of a committee that includes all uk hackspaces that meet the definition and that definition is always up for debate i am much happier that the HSF is now moving to be a real representation of our wonderful community!
I only brought this up because @jonty said he didn’t want to do it anymore, so i guess that issue still stands but that is up to him how he wants to handle that. if its taking up too much time i’m sure others would step in
A few years back (when we got the articles written, etc) I think consensus was to have minimal directors of the HSF who are not currently serving as directors of any particular space to avoid conflict of interest. Then as Russ mentions above, encourage a large membership to conduct most of the actual work of the foundation.
I’m sure we could easily come up with some good nominations even without member spaces. I for one would be happy to stand as I would love to see things progress, and it seems we need a catalyst for change.
The foundation seems to have been in catch-22 for a few years now… not wanting to hold an election before signing up member spaces, but not actually initiating sign-ups. All the while there are significant funds sitting in the account, not being leveraged. It’s disappointing and frustrating, although I appreciate everyone is voluntary and has other priorities.
Perhaps amidst amidst the pandemic, we can leverage some downtime to make real progress.
I guess it also depends on what Russ and Jonty wanted to do after EMF which obviously was their last year so might have given more time for them?
Perhaps, although we’ve been waiting for Russ and Jonty for a few years now…
I am happy to co-opt someone as a director if people think it would succeed in getting things done. However, I’m not sure what adding someone else as a director would achieve at this stage. You yourself said that the directors should not be doing the day-to-day running of the organisation.
I am against distributing any money to spaces until we have a committee established to oversee that - and for that I think we need membership.
In order to get membership going we need someone to spend some time on the website. Again, I’m not sure why we need more directors to get this done.
Again, I’m happy to co-opt someone but I’d like to see a proposal for what people want to do and why we need additional directors to do it.
Its also worth saying that the directors can delegate responsibilities to be discharged by others, this is effectively how businesses operate anyway, so perhaps we need to understand what people perceive is missing or what action needs to happen and explore why it hasn’t happened.
Personally I think what might be called for is leadership, or in lieu of that given the structure of the organisation, a refreshed and agreed plan of action to move forward.