• terms of reference EN

last modified November 19, 2008 by jnardi

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Communication Commission « WSF Budget » management terms of reference


As communication commission of the WSF IC, our primary role is to facilitate and orient the work on information, media and (inter) communication in the World Social Forum considered as a process at the international level.

The commission's plan approved in Berlin (2007) as well as the following IC meetings and online discussion, have worked on developing the communication strategy by considering the World Social Forum as a continuous process, driven by the will of its participants to intercommunicate and find forms of creating alliances and acting efficiently towards another possible world.

The most prominent “forms” that are being defined for this process (big events such as the Belem forum, with connections worldwide in 2009 or a GDA in 2010) are the most visible and we can use them to expand the WSF process visibility worldwide, while the horizontal inter visibility and intercommunication between participants is also vital to strengthen the process, inclusion and participation.

The possibility of implementing directly the strategies decided with a process budget and further dedicated fund raising, has allowed the Commission to form working groups with specific responsibilities and open to active members worldwide.

The challenge now is how to have a Commission grow in size and efficiency and maintain horizontal and non bureaucratic handling of budget, through a decentralized array of working groups contributing each and as a whole to the Wsf process expansion and continuity.

Guidelines proposed below are meant as terms of reference in order to keep the transparency, participation and correct management of funds in the implementation of the communication plan and strategies.

A) Common budget allocation and management

1. Align budget allocation on workgroups
Make the budget items possibly matching the existing ComCom work groups, in order to align budget handling with the level of development / activities of those working groups.
The ComCom current work plan list of working groups is visible here : http://openfsm.net/projects/communication-commission/directory

2. Main budget managing organisation
This organisation is entrusted the WSF budget in the name of Communication commission. Changing Budget Managing Organisation is done by consensus in the Com Com and Resource commission.
The ComCom-funding working group is where budget handling matters are discussed.

3. Budget allocation
The budget is allocated to activities/working groups either directly through the current Budget Managing Organisation or through one or more “Budget Handling Organisations” who become responsible for the management and have to report back in detail all expenses occurred.

4. Selecting Budget handling organisations
The Budget handling organisations should be selected by acceptance of people/organisations effectively involved in the activity of the working group and the ComCom. At the same time, the organisation which is entrusted a budget is politically responsible in the ComCom for the effective results and must sign an agreement defining timing of payments and reporting.

An inkind contribution from the Budget handling organisation is encouraged and expected.

Moreover, the Budget handling organisations should:

- distribute budget entrusted to other persons/entities in the working group, according to activities and needs where there is a consensus decision (and not spend it entirely on its own activities);
- demonstrate a mid term involvement in the working group, through support in overhead funds or paid staff person or volunteer input, according to its capacity;
- the ownership of the activity results and budget expenditure remain of the ComCom as a whole

5. WSF funding and working group / organisation fundings efforts in wsf context :
Funds that are raised outside the main Wsf channel of common effort in the Resources commission are managed by those who raised them and can serve as contribution in working groups. Co-operative fundraising between organisation participating in the ComCom is encouraged.

The use of Wsf image to raise funds in relation to communication issues by initiatives outside ComCom should be done with accountability, transparency and publicity, and implies some “recycling” of the raised funds in contributions in the ComCom array of working groups.

6. Maintain Financial Visibility and Reserve Fund
Financial visibility should be given before the end of each funding cycle, to ensure continuity of operation and maintenance of web sites in particular. In order to avoid precarious operation, a budget reserve may be defined for this (unused funds will go to a reserve to ensure web continuity).

B) Workgroup budget presentation and budget handling guidelines
1. Common management of working groups inside the agreed budget frame
Common activities of more working groups can be managed together, especially when groups that have a small scope or are not yet very active can be grouped with more experienced ones. Some ComCom groups may not be considered for receiving budget when there is no prioritized need for a funded activity.

2. Clear presentation and scope of costs
Formulate qualitative goals and explicit quantitative targets in terms of: number of participants involved in the core team and through the activity; targets to be reached; expected results.

Differentiate costs in three categories: facilitation/promotion tasks 1, tool development work (if any), and overhead2 in each activity.

Also specify: the number of people getting funded and the number of people working as volunteer core person in each projects.

Note: Funding the production of contents is restricted to practical information about process and tools, compilation of traceable contents produced by participants, or generic mobilisation material agreed in ComCom chats or mailing lists and is considered part of facilitation work. Those contents are in creative common license.

3. Websites development responsability
The web sites' development and maintenance should be in charge of the working group promoting the web site; at the same time, two common spaces for all web sites exists: ComCom web team (a

ComCom working group) and Wsf software support community (indirectly linked to the commission).

4. Translations
Translation costs should be included inside each budget line, in the overhead according to necessity. Translations should be done as much as possible in co-ordination with the translation working group and Babels volunteers.

5. Accommodating both paid work and volunteer work
Relation between paid and voluntary contributions finally amounts to relationships between persons being not at all, partially or significantly paid for their contributing time in ComCom activities. These relationships should be on an even basis, with fair and reasonable assessment of respective contributions. No special title will be given to person having partially or entirely their input funded on the simple basis that they are being funded.

6. Cross participation between projects / working groups:
For a better mutual understanding, a certain level of cross participation between working groups (and other related projects) is relevant and encouraged. Reporting to the general ComCom discussion is crucial.