Development Group Report 2017 02

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Development Report : November 2016 – Feb 2017

Members 66

Freegle Development is a group where new policies are discussed and voted on and any changes of existing policy are discussed.

The group welcomed five new members over the last four months.

Starting new Groups

Continued from October we are discussing starting new groups centrally to help fill gaps where Freegle has no coverage .We discusssed how GAT would cope with having a list of groups to create and whether we have the manpower to run more groups centrally . This topic bled over into the next topic of priorities and finding more volunteers.

A question of priorities/ Finding more volunteers

The suggestion for this topic is that we have two priorities. To recruit more central volunteers and to obtain funding to help keep Freegle going. One idea for recruiting new volunteers is to list vacancies and send them out to members like we do community events, targeting specific vacancies on Freegle groups.

Any email sent out needs to be friendly and welcoming.We also discussed the merits of groups staying on Yahoo and whether new groups should be FD only. Many people on Development could see no point in starting new groups to include a Yahoo group, it is a known barrier to recruiting new moderators for groups when volunteers are told they need to create a Yahoo account to be promoted. We agreed it is probably best to allow GAT to use their discretion about adding Yahoo groups when a group either transfers or starts from new on Freegle.

Update on Tasks

In order to complete the discussion on starting new groups nationally we looked at the wording of the current policy:

Freegle as an organisation never sets up groups even to fill gaps. Where there are gaps in provision, however, Freegle can proactively encourage new groups to be set up in line with this policy. Groups should come from a local requirement for them. Our aim is to have locally run and locally promoted groups, but there is no volunteer residency requirement or limit to the number of groups that volunteers run, as long as the set up of each group is in the best interests of the community, the volunteers and Freegle

So if we are to set up new groups, that statement needs to change. It was polled on and agreed that we should remove that first sentence so that would make way for groups to be started centrally if it is agreed. The recommendation was sent to the board who approved the recommendation to amend the policy and the wiki has been amended accordingly. The updated policy is Freegle Affiliation Policy.

Update on Task 33 – Task list review

This was regarding the task list review. Most of the tasks yet to be reviewed are to do with local group support, information and promotion. Most of these will be within Mhairis remit, so they have been passed to Mhairi to deal with.

Task 61 - Produce a contact procedure for non viable platforms

Following the AGM discussion and vote, tech polled on which platforms are viable for continued Freegle use and support. The results of the poll are

  • Viable platforms:

Norfolk FD + TN FD only Yahoo + FD + TN Yahoo + FD

  • Not viable platforms:

Yahoo + TN Yahoo only TN only Google Groups Facebook

We need to create a procedure for contacting groups which are not using viable platforms and encourage them to do so, but if this fails, the group may ultimately be disaffiliated so criteria are needed for initiating that as well.

Several ways to contact groups were discussed and it was agreed that any method of making contact is acceptable as long as we cease to attempt contacting a group if asked. Mentors agreed to be the first contact for groups that are considered not be on a viable platform. Any information gathered needs to be entered onto some type of Google sheet or document and a procedure for doing that needs to be agreed that is within the data protection act. A central database has been suggested where groups maintain their own information. A procedure on collecting and collating that information needs to be agreed.

We also need to agree a procedure on dealing with groups that are on a non viable platform. We need to focus on getting through to the owners or moderators of all groups

Jacky created a Googledoc where a procedure has been written up and is still being finalised.

Wanda has suggested a new national working team for Freegle admin in order to stop the bulk of the procedures being agreed falling on Mentors shoulders and so sharing the load a little. New teams usually just consist of the same people as are on the other working teams though, new volunteers aren’t usually easily found, so it is not considered to be a good idea. It is being proposed that Mentors deal with the bulk of the procedures currently under discussion in order to keep access to the database to a minimum, but for such a small team that may be a little too much without at the very least, more help. This discussion is continuing.

A new discussion group

We discussed whether there should be a new non Yahoo discussion group that all mods would be required to join. There is some reluctance to make mods join yet another group and the discussion turned to groups that are not currently represented on Central and how we can engage with the owners of those groups. Trying to make contact with groups not represented on Central by emailing each group directly was agreed is probably the best way forward.

Finding more Volunteers

Mhairi gave some ideas for recruiting and the sort of volunteers we need within Freegle volunteers may need to be found outside of the Freegle organisation including some of the board members . We already allow for two non Freegle Board members and the feeling is that the remainder of the board should be volunteers. Asking for references was suggested for new volunteers and trial periods. Needing references was felt to be a barrier to recruiting, but trial periods could be something we can consider so that new volunteers don’t feel they are committed to doing something they then find they don’t enjoy and group owners are more easily able to let unsuitable moderators go. A three month trial period is the agreed suggestion..

Mhairi has volunteered to write up some volunteer role descriptions so that we can then write up something to encourage members to volunteer. Edward is hoping to automate something to let people know of the vacant roles within Freegle

Member liability

This was originally a member query questioning whether members are liable for the safety of items given away. Freegle has a disclaimer that distances itself from liability but members don’t have that. It would only really be in the case of it being proved that a member had deliberately failed to disclose that an item was in a dangerous condition, that it would be a problem and so as generally it is up to the person receiving the item to ensure it is safe to use, it is not a significant risk for us to be concerned about.

Development Team