3 November 2014 – minutes
FG meeting Monday 3 November 7-8.30pm
Present via Skype and phone: Rose (for first two points), Sami (from 1-5), Isis, Cilla, Elena
1. Lankelly Chase
We somehow managed to run around and get a bid done and submitted to Lankelly Chase for the project on engaging people with severe and multiple disadvantage (who have ideas on how to change the systems and services that affect them). Because of the time constraints it was not done very democratically; Sophie picked 3 people she thought had the right skills and connections for the job. Hopefully members will understand the constraints. It would be a great learning exercise for Edge if we’re successful.
2. Member who left after comments about sex worker were removed for being discriminatory
Member wasn’t happy as they felt the issue should have been discussed. We need an agreed process for the future, probably something that involves the relevant Advisory Group determining if a comment is discriminatory, meaning we’d need a sex worker AG. It may be difficult to get people to join it, which relates to a wider issue of member’s time constraints etc.
- To be discussed further when developing proposals for next meeting
3. Values and principles
The above issue raised the concern about how clearly we communicate that self-determination is one of our main principles. We generally need to make our values and principles clearer. This can be a nightmarish process, as people often get very het up about certain terminology etc. It can help to describe it as an evolving, ongoing process that is reflective of how Edge and society changes. We agreed to ask each Advisory Group to have a conversation and tell us what they see as Edge principles, ie how we put Edge values into practice. For example, ensuring that there is a balance of issues and communities represented in the short-list is a way we put the value of equality into practice. Respecting self-determination and ensuring accessibility could also be principles relating to equality and justice. We’ll also ask them what ‘radical’ means for their community. We’ll give them a month to do this, after which the responses will be collated and used to have a discussion at the next members meeting.
- Sophie will draft email to AGs about Edge principles and what ‘radical’ is for their community – send to FG first
The most popular options were either to fund the next ten groups just outside the short-list or to increase the size of grants of the groups that come in between 16-30 (usually 16-18 get £1,000, 19-22 get £750 and the rest £500), or perhaps a combination of both. Attached shows a combination of both. We didn’t like the options where the Advisory Groups decide (not democratic) or where 3 extra groups get £1,500 (it would mean they’d get more than half the groups that were short-listed by members).
- Let Sophie know your preference
5. FG getting together
We agreed it would be helpful to meet in person to go through the proposals for the 2015 members meeting. It should be after the AG deadline re principles, so the first two weeks of December. Elena and Cilla happy to come to London for this. We can also invite other members once we have a date when FG can make it.
- Please complete Doodle (Ideally it would need a good few hours, so daytime better, but just in case that’s not possible there’s an option for evening as well)
6. Getting additional info from short-listed groups
We should wait until the end of this week when all Advisory Groups have had a chance to discuss the short-list and potentially object to any of the groups short-listed (although this could only really happen in exceptional cases). This means, ideally, that we should try to get all the additional info from top 15 applicants the week commencing 10 November, so that members have 3 weeks before the meeting to read the full applications. Sophie will try to do as much as this as possible with applicants over the phone but someone may need to pick this up after 17 November when she goes on holiday.
7. Sophie’s holiday
Will be away the week of 17 November. Should be quite quiet but ideally someone should check in on the info@edge account perhaps a couple of times during that week for anything urgent. The Edge phone can also be diverted to someone else’s number.
8. New membership process
We liked the new process where member applicants join on a trial basis, during which time they score applications and come to a meeting. The scores won’t count but will be used to determine if the person shares our views and values. We discussed the concerns about letting people in who don’t share our values and the consequences of that but we felt that judging people only on their 200 word response to questions could exclude people, especially those who are less educated, don’t speak English as a first language, may not use the political language some people are looking for etc. Whilst it may be more difficult to turn people down after we’ve got to know them a little, we will make it clear that a decision will be made at the end of the trial period so that it is an expected part of the process and hopefully doing the scoring and coming to a meeting will make it much clearer on both sides if membership is suitable.
New members coming to a meeting should be put in touch with a buddy before coming and ideally have a chat with them first. We felt that asking trial members to score 18 applications (as proposed by Welcome Group) was too much, 10 would be better. We may need to keep an eye on how many trial members come to a meeting as it may be hard to manage but we didn’t want to make the process any more difficult by capping numbers of trial members at meeting. If they come to the final funding meeting they can only come as observers and not vote at the end. We should explain to members that this is an evolving, fluid process, as is everything with Edge.
- Sophie will inform Welcome Group of decision made by FG
- Sophie will contact the 50ish members who applied and invite them to come to a meeting and score applications from this round
- In the next members meeting we’ll need to have a discussion with members about whether we’ll continue with this process in future