[okfn-coord] Consultancy - best practice guidelines

Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray at okfn.org
Thu Nov 5 17:51:18 UTC 2009

Just to check: does anyone know how mySociety does this? Becky -
didn't you recently work on a project with mySociety? Do you know how
they manage their contract work? Don't they also do some white label
stuff (which is not core to their mission)?


On Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 5:46 PM, Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at okfn.org> wrote:
> Apologies for delayed response on this -- came through last week's
> sysadmin crisis ...
> 2009/10/27 Becky Hogge <becky.hogge at gmail.com>:
>> Guys (and gals!)
>> Here are my notes showing where Jordan and I have got to on the
>> consultancy guidelines process. Please provide your comments /
>> reactions, and then we can have a go at drafting the guidelines.
> First, a big thank-you to you and Jordan for your work on this.
>> An aside - Since starting to think about this, I've been flirting with
>> the idea of us setting up another corporate entity to deal with
>> consultancy, which had for-profit mems and arts with a provision that
>> all net profits were handed over to the OKFN to further their
>> activities and goals. Is there any appeitite for investigating this
>> among the rest of the Board members?
> This has also been going through my head under the rubric "Open
> Knowledge Consulting" or the like. I note Jordan's comments about the
> overhead but we should definitely weigh this as a serious option.
> [...]
>> OKFN Consultancy Guidelines
> I've posted these up on the wiki so we have them in more permanent form:
> <http://okfn.org/board/wiki/ConsultancyGuidelines>
> [...]
> (All of this stuff was great)
>> One solution
>> =========
>> One solution would be to draft a set of guidelines that the Board
>> should adher to, and then stick to them. The guidelines should be
>> shared with the wider OKFN community and revisions suggested by the
>> community could be considered by the Board. In addition, a dispute
>> resolution process should be agreed upon to address a future situation
>> where either individual members of the Board or members of the wider
>> community believe the guidelines have been breached.
>> These guidelines, while addressing the potential conflicts listed
>> above, should have at their heart:
>> *transparency: letting everyone know what's going on, including those
>> on the discuss list
>> *exemption from voting by those benefiting from the contract
>> *disclosure: telling everyone when you have an interest.
>> *value: work done in OKF's name should deliver value to the client,
>> and should be of a quality that OKF supporters can be proud of
> This seems great. Thoughs/questions:
> 1. There's a distinction to be made b/w work (be it consultancy or
> grants or ...) that directly relates to an OKFN project or area of
> work and one that is more tangential. For example, the current work
> for AidInfo I feel clearly falls in the latter (tangential) category
> while our work on CKAN for HMG into the former.
> 2. There's a feeling that there might be quite a lot of the more
> tangential work and it might generate quite a bit of revenue.
> I think it here that most of the issues lie -- and that issue of
> potential conflict of interest related to income on a particular
> project is much more secondary.
> Going forward I think it may be hard for the OKFN (especially if we
> get network members etc) to take on too much tangential work even with
> good guidelines in place (though we should definitely have them
> anyway).
> If so the logical thing will be to hive it off into Open Knowledge
> Consulting or the like. OKF(N) could continue to take on grant money
> and payment for work directly related to OKF(N) purposes.
> There would still be a need for guidelines though as I imagine that
> there would be sharing of personnel b/w the two entities.
> Rufus
> _______________________________________________
> okfn-coord mailing list
> okfn-coord at lists.okfn.org
> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/okfn-coord

Jonathan Gray

Community Coordinator
The Open Knowledge Foundation

More information about the foundation-board mailing list