Planning session for Wortley Hall weekend - please fill Doodle

Thanks @PeteBurden @Sion and @Laura for putting together the proposal.

I have a couple of concerns and would like to know what other people think about it. Please note that these concerns are in no way criticisms or intended to cast doubts on your fabulous facilitation skills.

  1. It’s quite a lot of money - three times more than last year - and adds £140 to each ticket
  2. I’m concerned that having internal facilitators could cause friction - e.g. no-one from Outlandish will be paid to attend but they’ll still be working; people who spend the time improving the website will also be using their professional skills to help CoTech; there’s the potential that people will be accused of facilitating in some non-neutral or ineffective way

Personally I’m more concerned about point 2 as we had a few issues with that last year when some people from Outlandish were paid while others weren’t and it took a couple of months to unpick the issues that arose.

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Thanks Harry. I talked about some of this with @aaron yesterday, and we also discussed this question of breaking down ‘what needs to be done’ in terms of facilitation (not just shaping the programme and interlocuting, recording, etc but also the nuts and bolts of registration, joining process, liaising with the venue, all that stuff that Outlanders did last year). It’s right to get transparency and accountability about ‘who does the work’ and on what terms.

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thanks @PeteBurden for posting this and sharing your thoughts at this stage. And thanks @harry for kicking off the conversation.

  1. Cost - as you note, it is a lot more than last year, and I am planning to put in an application to Solid Fund to help with this as well as helping to subsidise accommodation costs for those coops that need it (details tbc). At the recent planning meeting, we agreed that facilitation was crucial to the success of the event and also felt that it could be improved on last year. That said, it is a substantial difference, which is why we felt it important to raise it now.
  2. Internal facilitation - I think your points here are slightly separate: Some people will be paid for their time while others are not; can facilitation be neutral if we use people from within the network? One option to consider, maybe, is paying for the preparation time ahead of the event plus the cost of accommodation but not time during the event? I’m personally not worried about non-neutrality and I think the big benefit is in having people who know the network and the culture (something that I felt was lacking last year). I would hope that it’s a strength of the network to be able to use the skills of those within it.

Perhaps one of the challenges at present is that some things are being done on a mostly voluntary basis, some is being supported by a coop (Go Free Range, I think), and some is paid. We don’t have agreed basis for deciding what we pay people for and what not.

I think this may be a bit of a ramble, apologies!


Thanks for the thoughts so far.

I should also have made a broader invite - I hope everyone feels free to ask any questions they like - about anything at all to do with the facilitation, or us. We’ll answer if we can.

If you don’t want to ask here, please also feel free to call, email or DM one of us.


Thanks for the proposal and contributions so far everyone. I personally have no problem with paying for skills required to facilitate an event like this - it isn’t easy by any stretch. The issue I have is the day rate suggested. £600 per day is a lot of money when most of us will not be paid, or will at least be not doing our normal money generating work whilst we are here. All participants will be ‘working’, so for me the difference between one person participating for £0 (or effectively losing out on income) and another facilitating and taking home £600 is too much.

I think having an agreed approach for what sort of work is paid for and what is voluntary is really important, but also to have a steer on what the rates might be. I have some knowledge of the breadth of day rates and salaries that are paid to members of CoTech (and that Outlandish is on the higher scale) but maybe understanding a bit more about what we all ‘cost’ and having something like an average day rate paid to people who do the paid work bit might be a way forward.

In terms of proposal process - I do have a critical concern with the day rate proposed, and as you raised Pete (Sion and Laura), it seems you thought this might be the feedback, so I’d like to know what you would be willing to do it for that makes it more affordable for the 50 attendees.


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Thanks Abi. Great input. And yes I’d like us to come up with a fee that is affordable for everyone, and properly reflects the value provided. And I really get that many people are ‘losing’ money by attending.

One thing I’d point out is that facilitation is rarely like programming (it was me who made the analogy!). In that, few facilitators that I know work on contracts - few do 20 days or even 10 in a row. So event facilitation is often much more 2 or 3 days here, then big gaps, then maybe a day or a few days somewhere else.

So an annual average will work out differently from what you might expect if it is compared with someone who works 150 days a year doing software development work.

Beyond that I need to have a think. Maybe Sion or Laura have a view. It’s International Facilitation Week next week. A good time to be thinking about the value of facilitation!

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Thanks @Abi, all. My position/observations/suggestion:

Position: if not part of a facilitation team, I would be coming to Wortley Hall in any case as a punter (not Calverts but Principle Six - my Calverts colleague Rowan is coming with her Calverts hat on). When I’m doing this type of facilitation as work, whether through Calverts or Principle Six, the rate is between £400 and £800/day + out of pocket expenses per facilitator/consultant, depending on the job/client, and it would usually be 2-handed for a whole day session involving more than 12 people. I do think 3 is probably right for Wortley and that will be intense. I’m easy about whether I’m part of the working team, and pretty easy about terms. @harry s correct that the three of us have ‘skin in the game’ as members of CoTech member worker coops, with our own views about what CoTech’s priorities might be, so while being professional we couldn’t be ‘purely neutral’. On the other hand we know the network a bit.

Observation: it’s good that we’re shedding light on the real cost/effort not just of programme faciltators (as per Seeds for change last year), but the cost of all the other people who facilitate the event and how they are compensated; and, indeed, how CoTech itself is resourced. At the risk of inflating the present issue; understanding, auditing and agreeing these inputs/outputs, and budgeting for them equitably, including acknowledging labours of love, is what we could be moving towards.

Suggestion: we have a little bit of time to work through this. One approach might be for people to suggest a facilitation/event management budget that seems doable in terms of the scale of the event and peoples’ resources, and work back from that in terms of defining roles/responsibilities and putting together teams, and how they will be supported. I like @aaron’s idea of opening a disussion in SolidFund with a view to proposing SF ‘underwrites’ some of the overheads of Wortley Hall (i.e. guarantees the event against financial loss up to a certain amount), plus perhaps some reduced-cost tickets.

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@Sion - I would love you to be a participant and would be sad if you couldn’t contribute in the same way in the capacity of a facilitator. I really value your contributions and feel it would be a loss if you weren’t able to input as freely (personal point).

The thing that strikes me or possibly surprises me in your response is that you are talking about a day rate that you charge out to clients. There is, and never would be a time that Outlandish would expect any Cotech member to pay our client charge out rates. This cuts to my point really- this event in my opinion is in no way about making money, or even necessarily covering costs and certainly not about any member of CoTech earning the same as they might on any other project, its about trying to generate value within CoTech, together. So to charge what you would charge commercially is something I completely disagree with.

I appreciate that the market rate for facilitation is high and often higher than you have proposed (I’ve done my fair share of training and facilitation to realise this) and that you aren’t employed all the time like developers, but all of us earn less than we could if we were working in a normal commercial agency and consciously choose this because we are trying to do something a bit different. I am not able to work full time (kids!), earn far less than what is being proposed and still am very (incredibly) affluent and privileged.

I think the wider discussion about general approach to costs for running CoTech is absolutely essential, but one we could have a (facilitated?!) session at CoTech for. I’d very much like to focus this thread on understanding what costs would be acceptable for both participants and facilitators. What might be your costs - the minimum you could earn - for it to be worthwhile for you to do it vs coming along as a (very valued) participant? That goes for the whole facilitation team of course :slight_smile:

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Abi, thanks for that, I recall suggesting a while ago on Loomio (I think) that we should have a flat internal CoTech day rate that we use when working for each other and perhaps this idea could be on the agenda at Wortley Hall?


I remember this Chris, and definitely think that we should speak about it.

I’m keen to hear thoughts from more people - what is your response to the proposal @chris et al?

hi everyone,

I’m really glad this discussion is happening, but would love to hear from people in other coops. It would really help to get input from a wide variety of people/coops, especially those attending Wortley Hall this year.

To echo @Abi’s question, what cost would be acceptable to participants / facilitators?


@Kayleigh ha! Great minds… we are in synch, it seems

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Thanks @Abi. The reason I quoted those day rates was for transparency and understanding, not a negotiating ploy!


Unfortunately, I only have questions:
What might the total costs look like per delegate based on the
facilitator’s quote?
How do we work out the value to put on this event? eg The value of
potential business either from direct collaborations or referrals by being
part of the network? The value of skills shared and professionalism
mutually gained?

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I’ve been holding off from chipping in to this thread. I didn’t go the event last year (in part because the programme looked a bit weak), and I won’t be able to go this year because of family commitments, hence my reticence to stick my oar into this discussion. However…

For me, the fact that these issues are being raised speaks to the failure of the agenda/facilitation at least year’s event and therefore, ironically, to the need for much better facilitation at this year’s event if effective progress is to be made. We’ve all spent a good deal of time over the year trying to reach some consensus about what CoTech is for, who is part of it, how others can join it, and how we might most effectively cooperate. These are issues that, in my view, needed to have been resolved a year ago. They weren’t, and that has held this network back as a result. We now have a second bite at the cherry, so the need for a clear and focused agenda, and effective facilitation is required.

Felix asks the very pertinent question: what is this event worth? I’d argue that there is huge potential if the core questions can be answered. For me (and I stress it is only my opinion) the focus needs to be not on who might facilitate the event and what they might need by way of compensation for their efforts, but rather what are the objectives of this event?

Answer that question, and we’ll have a much clearer understanding of the value of the event to you, to your co-op, and to CoTech as a whole. It will then become much easier to decide on the most appropriate approach as regards facilitation, and what that might be worth to the participants.


I agree that last years facilitation could have been better (I think less of it would have helped at times, rather than organised activities like the one outside we would have been better off setting more of the agenda ourselves and working out what we wanted to discuss between ourselves, the most useful discussions I had were not in any formally organised sessions), however I disagree that we could have agreed a formal structure last year, these things take time to coalesce and I think we will be in a far better position to progress matters of this nature this year.

It’s a great shame you can’t make it Graham, if you could call in for even just half a day I think it would be worthwhile.

This is a bit off topic but in reference to the comparison of facilitation to programming and the hours worked and rates charged…

I wouldn’t dream of calling myself a programmer however the most interesting parts of my current work involves writing Ansible and Bash code so perhaps some people might consider that the term "programmer" covers sysadmins like me…

As far as I can recall I have only had a handful of jobs that involved 5 days straight work this year, a couple, at the start of the year, were the result of meeting Outlandish last year at Wortley Hall and then in April I coded new servers for The News Coop and the only substantial job since then has been a vBulletin to Discourse migration that came my way thanks to Agile and I’m working on this at the moment.

Fair comment @chris - as I say I wasn’t there so I am speculating to a degree, but hopefully the point is made. As far as going this year is concerned, I’m very happy to look at the planned agenda and see if there is anything that I could sensibly participate in given my constraints. Is there anything by way of an outline timetable/agenda yet?

No agenda yet, as far as I’m aware, but I can’t imagine a moment when there wouldn’t be something you could participate in, even if it’s chatting to people in the bar :wink: I’d suggest coming at a time that fits in with the kids and not worrying about the agenda in advance.

@Graham I just had another thought, how about you suggest what sessions / discussions you would like to be a part of and when you can make it and then that is taken into consideration when the agenda is planned? Would that work?

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