Freegle Board Minutes May 2016

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Meeting of Directors of Freegle Limited held on 26 May 2016 at 8pm by Skype Chat


All Freegle Volunteers are entitled to be Members of Freegle Ltd

Registered in England as an Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community.


The Board are pleased to welcome Calin Vasile Cristea as a new Member of Freegle Ltd.


Andrew Ludlow, Trusty, Cat Fletcher, Christian B, Edward Hibbert, Ollie Clark


There are currently 2 vacancies. The Board would welcome applications from interested Members.

Cat drafted a role description for the Director vacancies:

Action: Cat to mail document link to group and progress.

We need to approve this and discuss how to publicise it.


Christian B, John Carroll, Edward Hibbert, Andrew Ludlow, Andrew Trusty,,


Cat, Ollie

Chairman: Edward

Minutes: Alison via text transcript


This is now






  • Business Cards

Edward said this was an example of a general point of concern, ie a tendency to be reactive rather than active. We have no active process for encouraging people to get business cards and use them to publicise Freegle. The Board discussed how, in future, processes could be implemented to automate tasks such as sending out business cards.

  • Patrons

Action: Cat to update Board

  • Returning Officers

Action: Ollie to update Boar

  • Business plan.

The Board is not actively using this document. The current focus is on the volunteer support role, but we should return to it.


Platform (John)

Sent out a Platform update to Central.

The first signs of the new platform interface are emerging with some early Alpha testing as paid for work.

The Board discussed that it would be preferable to find a way of sharing the FDV2 code between the website and the mobile app with Chris having responsibility for making that happen, while Edward focuses on the website code itself. Andrew T will talk to Chris about the practicalities of doing this. Further discussion will take place on Geeks. The Board will then ask Chris to quote for the necessary work.

John will report back on updating the risk register around platform support, and looking into a realistic plan to mitigate or have alternatives.

Finance (John)

We need to re-register with PayPal for their charity donation service (which is currently promoted on FD and raises significant funds). Edward is driving this. Edward has checked and we are still receiving donations although Paypal are being rather slow.

Freegle Ltd Total Income: 40,495.80

Total Expenditure: (14,519.87)

Reserves carried forward (keep min of £1,000, poll 35049) 46,840.37

Share capital 117.00

Total Share Capital and Reserves 46,957.37

Represented by:

Bank 49,192.37

  • John will do a rest of FY forecast and then show 2-3 years as a run rate based on income & expenditure averages
  • Freegle UK Bank account has £173 balance, with 5 individual donors still paying in £31 per month. No expenditure is taken from this account and we will transfer the balance when the 5 have moved to VMG.
  • Amend Finance Rules and get debit cards – Rule change voted on, have asked Jacky to amend rules on the Wiki, will restart the application with Jane.
  • Re-assess the Current account banking since Unity introduced charges : - have spoken with Jacky to do some research but I need to write up key criteria.


  • Look at a savings account to gain more interest whilst we have a good chunk of cash. Best ones lock the cash up for longer but can get nearly 2%
  • Look at future planned spend for FD and other areas and forecasting of income required.

Board Secretary (Edward)

Edward is doing agendas; Alison is doing minutes.

Company Secretary (AndyL)

There are 117 Members with 1 new member this month

Volunteer Support (Edward)

Development have drafted a job description for a Volunteer Coordinator role

We need to review this, and discuss how to publicise it. Specifically whether/where we advertise. Edward thinks we should use; there was some support for advertising it on other free sites, but (so far) no specific examples of such sites.

The Board agreed unanimously:

  • The contract for paid Volunteer Support should be written to allow 3 months for the paid person to deliver a clear plan to the Board; 3 months to show progress implementing it, after which extended on a rolling 3 month basis for upto a total of a year.
  • Advertise the post on and possibly other cheap but relevant sites.
  • Pay up to £500 for advertising.

Further discussion will take place on the Yahoo group.

Action: Edward

Partnerships (Edward)

  • A key guy here is Gordon Strause, once of Yahoo, who is a fan of ours. Edward appealed for volunteers on Central to try their UK beta, with a view to closer integration if this is successful. There was a good response.

The Board discussed some of the practicalities surrounding a possible partnership. Edward will continue to keep the Board posted on developments.

The following are stalled pending new platform work.

  • Nimber. Useful meeting. The response from Central to a delivery option was not enthusiastic.
  • Friday Ad. We’d discussed cross-publishing.
  • Olio. Some promising contacts, but they’re probably fine doing their own thing.

CTO (Edward)

  • Hosting:

Stable. Ongoing work required to stay within the disk space we have. This will ease significantly once the new platform goes live - at the moment we have two lots of similar data.

  • ModTools:

There are some issues (e.g. loading stuck) which are byproducts of bugs in ongoing dev. There’s a balance here between annoying people and making best use of the testing that ModTools offers for the platform which the user interface is also built on. Edward needs to make sure we get that balance right.

  • FD v3 aka new platform aka Iznik:

I’ve just started very early alpha testing with a select group. This needs to be kept small for a couple of reasons:

  1. Too much function doesn’t exist to expose to a wider audience, otherwise there will be a lot of confusion.
  2. At this point I’m focussing on flow and level of user input rather than appearance, which is not a way that most people are (perfectly understandably) used to thinking.

Action: Edward to produce a diagram explaining the development and launch of FDv3.and FDv4.

(Edward has produced this since the meeting and is


Action: John/Board members to assess and identify potential issues that volunteers may have with design .of FDv3.

  • FD v1-2:

Nothing of interest.

  • Yahoo:

Usual message delays from time to time.

  • Core business up for sale and people are bidding (and bidding low - see

  • Trash Nothing:

Nothing of interest. There is some integration to do with the new platform further down the line.

Media (Cat)

No report.

Health and Safety (Ollie)

No report.

Development (from Jacky)

  1. Since last report of 11th April 2015:The main discussion has been a remit for a Volunteer Coordinator and we also held a straw poll on whether the idea to employ someone in this type of role was a good idea or not. The results and recommended remit were posted to the Board on 14th May. This task generated a lot of interesting discussion and also the largest participation in votes for a long time. The discussion on the value of specialist groups was concluded with GAT kindly taking on the task of contacting present groups to see if they wish to continue or not.
  2. A new conversation has arisen about T&C for the new platform which is resulting in two strands - T&C for members of groups and T&C for groups as part of Freegle. Chris has offered to work on this if others wish to join him. So far no-one has offered!
  3. Contacting groups: Edward has introduced a new way to bulk mail groups, which sends a message to all Yahoo owner addresses as well as personal email addresses known by Modtools to be used by volunteers groups when moderating. Development are now discussing whether the information on which groups have not acknowledged receipt of central mailings should be used as a basis for extra contact to find out if there is a need for support.
  4. Best Practice review continues.
  5. GAT are still contacting specialist groups to see if they wish to continue


We should offer assistance to people who might be able to attend FreeStock, as we have done in previous years. There is one particular case. This will be discussed further on the group.


29 June 2016 at 8pm.


The Board unanimously agreed:

  • We should change Freegle’s Financial rules in line with message #58485 on Central 15 May
  • We approve the previous minutes. 29 Apr
  • The board recommends the disaffiliation of Orkney Freegle based on the report received from mentors: 18 Apr
  • We agree to refund Edward £138.59 for renewal of our SSL certificate. 13 Apr

The meeting ended at 21.20.