Start Group Report 2009-10

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Group Reports

October 2009

Summary 1. 

Covering posts numbers 1-76

This group currently has 23 members, and is open to any member of Freegle UK Central who would like to be involved:
The spokesperson for this group is Jean (Trafford)

This working group may cease once we have completed a start up policy and process or may be kept semi active in order to review and change the procedures over time.

Decisions have to be made on many issues.

  • Who will be allowed to join Freegle?
  • What the procedure will be for individual new groups?
  • What the procedure will be for groups from other networks, either as a whole or in part?
  •  What the procedure will be for the splitting of groups?

Present Guidelines

For reference, these are the guidelines being used for interim consideration of requests, until we have a longer term policy in place (see below). These are mostly based on the UKFC NGA procedure (which was different from that of TFN

               Freecycle groups..

  •  It appears that as Freegle Affiliated Groups are intended to be locally run, moderators should have some connection with the area they intend to moderate, but there should be no strict residential requirements.
  •  No future rules should be applied retrospectively. This is to safeguard any decisions made before a new remit is given.
  •  Any existing Freecycle® Yahoo group which has an active owner who wants to transfer to Freegle, can do so.
  •   For existing Freecycle groups:  Any owner on an existing Freecycle® group on MF which has active members and no significant Yahoo competition, can transfer their group to be a Yahoo Freegle affiliated group.
  •  If the owner(s) of an existing Freecycle® group on Yahoo do not wish to transfer their group, then a new Freegle group will not be admitted in competition at this time.
  • For the purposes of decision-making, the people who are considered relevant are local owners, so this will exclude EF, IMODs and Mentor Mods. In the case of sacked local owners, they can establish a Freegle affiliated group and work towards "getting their members back" using legal means.
  •  New groups that are requested to be established in areas where the only Freecycle® alternative is a MF group will only be admitted if it is clear that the the MF group is an Imod run group, with no local leadership or significant local involvement (for example where the local owner of a pre-MF group intended to move the group to Freegle but was demodded prior to moving).

 For existing groups from other networks:

  •  If an owner of an independent re-using group wants to affiliate to Freegle and, if they were a Freecycle® group and there is no Yahoo based existing Freecycle® group covering the same area, then they will be treated as a transferring Yahoo Freecycle® group.
  •  Groups that are affiliated to other networks(eg Realcycle,Freeshare) will not be admitted to the Freegle family at this time.
  •  New groups that are being proposed to fill a gap in provision or to split existing large Freecycle® Yahoo groups will be considered for admission, but not automatically admitted.

Future  topics.

  •  We may wish to decide a time limit to the giving priority to Freecycle groups. Somewhere between 3-12 months of the inception of Freegle seems to be the current view of the team.
  •  The new team(s) will have to deal with those applications that have been put on hold. (Some mandate needs to be in place ready for this)
  • We may decide to adapt the current procedures to work on a regional level,with most of the consultation being done with the local groups. Some on this group feel it is better to work from the guidelines developed and written by TFN as they were the result of all the mistakes made early on. However if we decide on minimum interference and for all decisions to be made on the ground, in the regions or indeed to have an open structure which allows anyone entry without restriction then they will have to be adapted.
  •  The team will have to decide on which points have to be put forward for approval and which may be given to a third party, depending on the outcomes of other polls. Some points may well cease to be relevant.
  •  If the majority decide for all decisions to be made at the regional level, we need to have a team appointed for consultation. (in each region and also in central) This is especially the case for amalgamation of groups. Some of us would like to aim for the final decision to be made locally rather than centrally others disagree..
  •  It has to be decided which rules all groups have to meet for entry for instance carrying a logo, putting a link on, free and legal before we can make progress in accepting other networks.
  • There are four main types of group applications, (see below) which may have to have different criteria.
  • However it was pointed out that we cannot really proceed with rules or guidelines when we don't as yet know what is expected of us.


No groups of any sort officially covering the area.
  •  Who will be consulted?
  •  All local sources, local groups area teams?
  •  Will account be taken of groups who claim large areas. Ireland for example.
  •  What information will be requested of the applicant and will there be a team checking it and recording it?
  •  Will Freecycle be treated differently to others?
  •  Will there be a policy of treading on no one's toes, or approaching other groups to see if they want first choice?
  •  IMOD run groups - the Working Group definitely felt we could discount them.


  • What criteria, do we take all or part of a group. Who will negotiate? Everyone felt it seemed wrong but could see no real option to discussing groups on a case by case basis. Or to give them the criteria we have set, and let the groups make a clear and informed choice for themselves.
  • Should we have different rules for individual groups which are already part of a network to those of other new groups?
  •  If they have their own server and wish us to use it what is our response and who will make the decision?
  •  What minimum criteria do we request for affiliation. A link, a set of minimum standards, a contract?
    • What is our own ethos. Do we once we decide this make sure all connections feel the same. No swaps or loans for instance.
  • It was felt that if listed on our website members will not differentiate between our groups and affiliated ones therefore they should be treated similarly.


  • Should Freegle allow them, what for, who should we consult? Can it be done nationally, regionally, or will it have to be decided locally?

4) Applications for more than one group in an area.

  • We need to agree whether more that one official Freegle group is acceptable per area; this is something that needs to be decided by the members. Other groups do exist already - does the name really matter? Would it cause confusion among people looking for a local group?

Top down or bottom up decision making?

Some feel that doing it all from the centre will prevent regions acting on a different set of guidelines to each other which could be potentially divisive
and un-necessary.
 There was concern expressed that we might be at risk of doing something we realise is wrong, because we're keen to get the numbers up or that a group would be admitted because it was part of a network when it wouldn't be admitted on its own.
 Some would prefer a situation where groups were admitted based on a consistent set of guidelines which were based purely on the local situation.
 There is the question of boundaries being artificial and not how people on the ground often think about 'their area' and who is better deciding.
 It was felt the danger of going too local with new groups, is a natural local resistance for new groups be formed. Group owners/moderators feel
threatened about someone moving into an area they consider to be ours. Some feel any anomalies would be just as clear at a more local level others are scared that those who shout loudest may be the ones that get their own way. That you have to allow enough flexibility that allows for the 'silent' majority in some places. Ballots could help here although some feel they will not work on a local level as too few participants.

 A system in which the area team do the investigations make the recommendations, and the central team are there for advice, and can overturn
the area decision only by negotiation and consent was suggested. If the central group cannot convince the region then perhaps the regional decision is the correct one?  It is the overuling of local opinion which breeds resentment some felt.


Although the working group cannot itself make decisions, we seem to have reached
agreement within it on the following points.

  • Freecycle groups will be given a time limit after which they will be treated on the same basis as other applications.
  •  We cannot allow networks in en masse - so we need a group to negotiate. (Contact the Structure group?)
  •  We need an official team to help groups move across. (What will they be called and who appoints them?)
  •  We have to revisit the cases so far denied admission, so have to have a full mandate. (Elections) or allow the committee to chose?
  •  New groups which are for areas not presently covered by Freecycle or one of the negotiating networks, or groups which are in areas at present covered only by IMOD groups can be allowed in. (Need to make sure there is not a split between moderators though and check with local freegle groups and areas)
  •  Most moderators on the Start working group would like one group per area. (This needs a wider mod poll to confirm or deny) However we do not have access to the original areas delegated and need some way of ascertaining a group's coverage.
  •  It would be better to wait until we know which guidelines Freegle will follow etc, before starting negotiations with other networks or individual groups, within those networks. This is because we don't know if Freegle is going to exist as an organisation establishing a national network of groups or purely as umbrella group for support and guidance.
  •  A team of those with expertise needs to be invited to be available for consultation and guidance, and perhaps can be made from the elected committee or by the committee.

Summary 2  Posts 77 -123

OCTOBER 31.10.09

This group currently has 27 members, and is open to any member of Freegle UK
Central who would like to be involved:
The spokesperson for this group at present is Jean (Trafford)

  • There h as been little new discussion as we have been waiting for the poll results.
  • There has been some confusion over the purpose of this group. Anyone wishing to apply to start a new group or enquire about applications should email GroupAssessmentTeam @ (squish)
  • We did discuss whether group's boundaries should be fixed or could be expanded by the groups moderators. You have now decided that it should be fixed by Freegle. We now have to decide how and who should undertake this.
  • We had a request for more information to be forthcoming from the present team dealing with new group assessments and they have promised to supply the information.
  • We have been informed of two new additions to the Group Assessment Team team to move things on a little quicker.
  • We now think that we are in a position to draft a document for new groups applying for entry based on the conditions you have voted for, which we intend to proceed with.
  • It seems that as you do not want more than one group per area whole networks will be unlikely to be able to join as a whole, because they will probably overlap with some existing groups; applications from networks will therefore need to be considered on a case by case basis".
  • We need to discuss the ramifications of this.
  • We intend over the next week, to see what questions we need answering in the next poll. We intend to approach the Structure group to see if they wish them included in theirs, or if we will have a separate poll.

                 Freegle Start Group

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