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Yesterday morning (before the last few posts here), Suw and James Cronin and me had a planned meeting to look at legal stuff; to bring up to date the list of things that have been done - stuff like 'go to Guildhall Library in the City on Saturday and photocopy the entire Tables A and C and Amendments of the Companies (Tables A to F) Regulations 1985'; and 'investigate venues that will hold x number of people and will not charge money'; and to rehash a list of things that will need to be done (much longer).
As part of that, Suw and me drafted list-style blog post that should be going up today or tomorrow I think (just checking to see if we've missed stuff, which we probably have).
Essentially, there won't be a forum until someone sets up a forum; there won't be an organisation until someone sets up an organisation; it's all pretty Catch 22, as Suw says. Setting up a provisional blog on Suw's domain is a first step to address this. But until we have a formal organisation that has its own legal persona (which means trawling through the legal stuff), that has its own domain and hosting, its own governance, and its own channels of communication etc., we're still in the Catch 22.
It has to be said that there was some 'talk' in the back end of July and in August, following OpenTech, but nothing much was done...so don't imagine there's some fait accompli going on here. There's not much 'fait' and there's certainly no 'accompli'.
The context. First, there's waiting for the pledge to mature (maybe this will happen in the next couple of weeks, going on current figures). Second there's an expectation from many quarters (not least some of the UK mainstream media) that this 'new org' (which doesn't yet exist) should be responding to what's happening right now, or it's a waste of space. Third, there's a wish to learn from the mistakes or missteps that other organisations may have made. And fourth, there's an appreciation, from many years of experience of many people, that until you commit individuals in person, face-to-face, to do something real and tangible, and to deliver on it, generally nothing happens.
So what we have is a *very interim group* of people, including myself, trying to plan, to put some things solid into place that will ensure we set up an organisation that protects its members from legal liability, that is accountable to members through a range of channels, that is not a 'guru organisation', that has a sound financial footing that will hopefully mean it won't die short-term (as most do)...
Mostly this doesn't require 'issues' expertise. It's a question of getting the governance right. So when we're talking about 'experts' (see Alison Wheeler's post above), it's not issues experts we need, it's legal experts, it's corporate governance experts, it's fundraising experts, it's every kind of expert except the issues variety. We'd love people with this kind of expertise to step forward.
While that's going on, some people are putting in time to try to deal with media queries, requiring an immediate response during the working day. We've basically thrown this at Suw, as she has much media experience, can deal with this 24/7, can write a press release (and an article) better than most, doesn't get phased when someone puts a microphone in front of her face to speak live on radio or TV (and having listened to myself on BBC live radio, tittering nervously, I appreciate the value of this quality), and can be guaranteed not to say something potentially slanderous or write something potentially libelous (or that would impact on relationships, operations etc.).
Check out Suw's next post on the blog, that sumarises the 'big list', and please bear in mind that there's no 'accompli'. We too are people with jobs and lives and stuff...Louise Ferguson, 12 years ago.