Below please find CoTech Fund report for the pilot year 2019. You can download it in PDF format from our Nextcloud instance.
At the Space4 Hack in November 2018 a working group on Governance and Membership developed a proposal for an internal fund.
The purpose of the fund was to pool our resources and strengthen the CoTech network. During the pilot year participation was voluntary, and participating co-operatives contributed £1 per member per week to the fund.
On 8th February 2019 CoTech approved a one-year pilot fund to test the idea.
During the gathering in Sheffield 2019 we workshopped more details of the fund, considering different ways we could process and manage the shared resources. During the final discussion at the gathering, the following immediate and longer-term expenditures seemed relevant:
- Gatherings (e.g. venue hire)
- CoTech communication (e.g. stickers)
- Outreach events
- Internal tooling
- Business development
- R&D innovation
- Mutual support
For complete minutes please refer to the document on CoTech Nextcloud.
Members of Animorph, Go Free Range and Outlandish volunteered to become signatories of a CoTech bank account, which was set up with Unity Trust Bank.
Over the course of the pilot year, 8 co-ops contributed a total of £2964.00 to the fund:
|208.00||Go Free Range|
|156.00||The Dot Project|
|260.00||We Are Open|
At the time of proposing the pilot fund project we considered establishing an equivalence between time and money, such that co-ops who could not afford to contribute £1/member/week could contribute equivalent time. There has been no further interest in developing that proposal.
There have been two spending proposals submitted, based on the discussion in Newcastle:
- Reimburse outstanding costs for organise the gathering to Code-Operative (£217.00)
- Reimburse Webarchitects for running (a part of) our infrastructure (£1687.82)
In addition, Unity Trust Bank has charged £54 (£18/quarter) in service charges.
The balance in the fund as of 20th February 2020 is £1005.18.
Passing Spending Proposals
We originally proposed using CoBudget to decide what to fund. At the gathering in Sheffield we decided instead to facilitate spending using Loomio:
A group/thread will be formed at Loomio to screen potential spendings, primarily to understand how the fund can be used, what do we want to spend money on. A person/co-op can suggest what they want to spend money on and members will have a week to inspect the notion and block it if they disagree. If there are no objections, the spending is approved.
It’s not clear whether the lack of engagement with the two spending proposals that we have funded this year indicates consent from all 8 members, and we need to think a bit more about how best to encourage engagement.
Integrating the Fund into Governance of CoTech
The challenges the group diagnosed were the following:
Lack of clarity regarding binding decisions
Patchy and partial engagement
Trying to address these and knowing that the pilot year was soon to approach its end-date, the working group came out with two intertwined proposals:
These were approved for putting forward for a vote on Loomio, which happened shortly after the gathering. Both proposals were passed on the 16th of January 2020.
Starting from the 28th February 2020, we will begin collecting co-op fund contributions for the year 2020, which will secure voting shares for members of respective co-ops.
Contributing co-ops will be encouraged to request Loomio accounts from firstname.lastname@example.org if any of their members do not already have one. At the end of each vote on Loomio, the votes will be counted and compared against the list of co-ops that contribute to the fund.
Decision Making Process
While the Voting Membership of CoTech proposal extends the life of the fund, it is the Bringing a Proposal to a Vote proposal on decision-making process that gives it a practically significant role. CoTech’s decision-making process attempts to encourage individual participation from all members of each of the member co-ops of CoTech.
We have outlined a decision-making flow that builds on the Governance Circle Calls agreed on during the gathering in Sheffield.
The next call is taking place on the 26th February 2020.
Challenges and Improvements
As highlighted by CoTech members taking part in the discussion on Loomio, our decision making process will continue evolving. The discussion about specific improvements will be brought to the Governance Circle Call in March 2020 to amend existing procedure before the coming CoTech gathering during Worker Coop Weekend.
Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to the process in any capacity. The work is far from finished, and everyone is welcome to join the process!