Wortley Hall Quorum/mandate


#1

We’ll want to make some decisions (possibly fairly significant ones) but not everyone will be there to get involved.

This thread is for discussing what decision making power the meeting has, and how those that aren’t there can input/will be affected.


#2

For example, we’ll want to update the text on the About page.

The options would seem to be:

  1. All changes can only be draft and must be ratified by Loomio before taking effect
  2. Changes are made but there is a delay before they are implemented, in which people who didn’t participate can suggest amendments
  3. Changes are made immediately, and those that don’t participate can suggest changes at a later date
  4. Changes are made immediately and those co-ops that don’t participate are temporarily unpublished from the site until they agree the changes

Personally, I’m strongly in favour of decisions being made and implemented at Wortley Hall and would suggest that co-ops that aren’t attending specify if they’d prefer option 3 or 4. We need to get stuff done and agreed. I would say that though because I’m attending.


#3

Agree @harry that 3/4 are preferable, but would be worth proposing on Loomio to get general consent to this way of doing it beforehand?


#4

To some extent this depends on the direction of travel of the CoTech network.

If the goal is to move towards more formal structures, then (1) and (2) are more appropriate. If CoTech was a formal organisation, then there would be rules that determine how major decisions should be made, and in general those rules might involve (a) major decisions only being made within an OGM or AGM; (b) OGMs/AGMs being formally called; © agendas and papers on decisions being published in advance.

If the goal is to maintain a more loose network, then (3) or (4) may be more suitable.

Between these I might suggest an option (5):

  1. Changes are staged but there is 14 day delay before they go live. During that period, co-ops not present where the changes were decided upon may suggest ‘friendly amendments’ - and have the option of withdrawing their presence from the website before the changes go live.

The idea of ‘friendly amendments’ here would be that the 14 day period is not for re-opening the whole debate on major substance of changes: organisations who have major objections have the option of withdrawing.

This may require the creation of some sort of ‘observer’ status that organisations not comfortable with a set of changes can switch to without withdrawing completely from the network.


#5

Agree it should go on Loomio at some point, but I think generally worth having discussions here and taking it there for decisions.

There’s also no decision about what constitutes a decision in CoTech. I believe sorting that out is a priority for myself @chrisroos @james and @chrislowis as it’s all a bit daft otherwise.


#6

That is what I was getting at with option 2 - the changes are staged for a bit while the co-ops that didn’t attend suggest amendments.

I guess there is another option which is the people who attend Wortley Hall create and organisation without consulting people who don’t attend, and then the whole CoTech network decides whether the new organisation is synonymous with CoTech or has its own identity.

Personally I feel there’s been a whole year where people could have moved stuff forwards offline (via Discourse, Loomio and the other channels) and we’ve not made progress at a sustainable speed. e.g. we still have no agreed decision making system.

Co-ops are free to use the month before the event to set ‘red lines’ - e.g. “we’ll leave if …” or suggest parameters for the meeting. How about option 6:

Co-ops that are not attending have from now until the event to use the online decision-making tools of CoTech to set parameters for the meeting, and/or ‘red-lines’ that will result in the co-op leaving CoTech if crossed.


#7

Ok - let’s take (5) as a more clearly specified version of (2) then. I think having the time of a period explicit is very important to judge whether this approach would work or not.

For me:

where people could have moved stuff forwards offline (via Discourse, Loomio and the other channels)

is part of the challenge. The investment of time required to keep track of discussions is high - and I’m certainly not working in a time-rich context.

A red-lines approach could be helpful as part of informing the discussions at Wortley Hall. Certainly my sense from previous discussions in Open Data Services is that we’re supportive of a network of technology co-ops which fosters improved communication and collaboration, and raises the profile of co-operative technology, but:

a) are concerned that CoTech is sometimes being presented as an organisation rather than a network - and that this should not be happening;

b) are not ready to join anything that would involve making rule changes in our own co-operative rules (i.e. anything that involved tighter formal integration between co-operatives)


#8

For some things I think would be fine to make decisions at Wortley Hall, for other things I’d agree that co-ops should have a chance to discuss the proposal before it is formally agreed.


#9

How do we get agreement on what falls into each category?


#10

By asking people at Wortley Hall?


#11

:slight_smile: there lies the rub…


#12

hey @timdavies - I don’t expect anyone is going to want to change their articles/rules/etc.

The most likely outcome for CoTech becoming and organisation is that it will be formed as a secondary co-operative. Each co-op the meets the CoTech criteria will be offered a share of the new secondary co-op and it will be entirely owned by its (worker co-op) members. In that sense it wouldn’t be a million miles away from something like Co-ops UK and only co-ops with very, very prescriptive rules would need to change their rules.

From Outlandish’s point of view we need to come out of this meeting with a lot more clarity. We’ve invested a lot of money in it and we need to know what it is, etc. if we’re to continue.

Regarding your point a) - there is currently no rule about how to present CoTech - if you feel there should be rules about this they should be suggested via Loomio or similar.


#13

we need to know what it is, etc. if we’re to continue.

This sounds familiar. Seems like we are pursuing the same clarity Harry. :grinning:


#14

We are indeed - we’re down to the nuances or whether we need to work that out via consent or consensus, which probably means we’re doing quite well.


#15

If people feel that some important decisions are likely to be made at the event, presumably they have some sort of idea of what the issues are that will need decisions on? If that’s the case, is it possible that these could be raised in this forum prior to the event, (maybe a short discussion paper or somesuch) to enable the wider group to have a chance to reflect and input in advance of the face to face time? If so, this could also facilitate the shaping of the event itself, perhaps even suggest some agenda items for some parts of the event!


#16

I’ve started the Red Lines thread as it sounds like it will be useful anyway once we get to Wortley Hall to know where people are coming from.


#17

Yep - I think it’s important for everyone to kick off important debates now online, whether we are attending or not.

We need Wortley Hall to be about decisions making not brainstorming so we need to hit the ground running.

If there are things you can’t abide that don’t need much discussion, add them to the Red Lines thread, otherwise start a thread for the discussion.

I’m planning to start one about structure - some of my suggestions are alluded to in my reflections on how Mondragon works.


#18

This might be a really unhelpful way of thinking about it but here’s a git analogy for the technically minded:

Wortley Hall will create one or more CoTech ‘branches’ that will contain changes or additions to the current CoTech.

Any organisations can ‘fork’ CoTech and set up their own version (though there are obviously advantages to being united).

The question on this thread is who has the authority to merge the branches into master - is it the people at the event or the people online. I guess that’s kind of a question of ‘who keeps the brand in the case of a split’.

Personally I’m not 100% wedded to the CoTech name, but generally think the various co-ops should take whatever they’ve produced with them into whatever faction they end up in.

All that said, I very much hope we can remain united, and can’t see a good reason not to.


#19

I think this is vital. For me it would be great if there were two or three organisational proposals going into the IRL gathering that everyone offline and online was familiar with.

The principle would essentially be “no surprises”. No one should read what was decided during the gathering and think “oh I didn’t even realise they were going to be discussing this, I’m annoyed”. This will obviously be more or less bootstrapping an ad hoc “programme” of decisions, like you’d have at a cooperative congress, before decision making criteria have been established. But there we go: something has to move somewhere and as long as there are up front agreed “escape hatches” I think it is fine.


#20

Ed just posted in the Slack channel to say that Co-operative Web can’t make it due to urgent work, since they are one of the three biggest co-ops in CoTech I think that this means that critical decisions at Wortley Hall might have to go back to the members co-ops for approval.