Background: Why has the PWYP Secretariat re-structured?

PWYP is a UK registered not-for-profit organisation based in London, UK. From 2002 until August 2015, the Secretariat of the Publish What You Pay coalition was hosted by the London office of the Open Society Foundations (OSF). As part of its own internal restructuring, OSF asked the Secretariat in 2013 to explore alternatives to this arrangement. On the recommendation of the PWYP Global Steering Committee (GSC), a consultant was recruited to explore various options which he did in discussion with Secretariat staff, the Africa Steering Committee (ASC), the GSC, key members of the coalition and our host organisation. His recommendation to register as a UK charity was adopted by the GSC and ASC at their joint meeting in August 2014 in Washington DC.

Why is PWYP registering as a UK charity?

In line with the recommendations adopted by the GSC and ASC, the Secretariat initiated a transition process that seeks to ensure the future viability and sustainability of the PWYP campaign. In 2015, following a consultation process with the global coalition, PWYP will be in the process of registering as a charity under UK charity law. The principal reasons for this decision are:

PWYP has reached a level of maturity that makes registration as a charity, rather than continuation as a hosted initiative, appropriate;

Registration will allow PWYP to effectively implement the Vision 20/20 strategy by giving PWYP the potential to respond more dynamically to the coalition members;

The UK has some of the most rigorous transparency requirements for charitable organisations, which makes it the most appropriate jurisdiction in which to register (and Practise What We Preach!)

Further details of the consultant’s findings and recommendations can be found in the minutes of the GSC/ASC meeting held in Washington DC in August 2014.

How has the global coalition been consulted?

To meet the legal obligations of registration in the UK, a governance structure needs to be set up. To facilitate and monitor this process on behalf of the global coalition, a small Transition Committee was established in August 2014 and consists of four members of the GSC: Taran Diallo (PWYP Guinea), Ian Gary (Oxfam America), Suneeta Kaimal (NRGI) and Cecilia Mattia (PWYP Sierra Leone).

Based on their initial work the Transition Committee, consultant and Secretariat worked together to carry out a consultation with the global coalition on the proposed governance structure. This consultation was carried out between December 2014 and late January 2015 and the document is available online. All the coalitions were contacted through the regional list serves, as well as individually by their Regional Coordinator and/or the PWYP International Director. A total of 21 responses were received and a summary of the feedback is also available.

Having reviewed and incorporated the feedback, and in-line with their mandate, the Transition Committee approved the governance structure outlined in detail in the PWYP Governance Manual. The final validation took place at the April 2015 meeting of the Global Steering Committee. The governance structure will be subject to a review clause in 2017-2018 to assess its effectiveness. It is important to note that governance remains a work in progress and therefore the document should be seen as a living one which we can revise as we continue the PWYP journey towards Vision 20/20.

What’s next?

As part of the transition phase proposed, and in order to meet the requirements of UK laws, the Global Steering Committee has been re-named the Global Council. In April 2015 they appointed atransitional Board for the Coalition.

The transitional Global Council will serve until the next PWYP International Coalition Strategy Meeting / Global Assembly, when elections/selections will be made for the Global Council. This will be preceded by a consultation and nomination process involving the entire Global Assembly of Members. The Secretariat will initiate this process in the second half of 2015 to ensure a broad and diverse range of nominations. The transitional Board will continue for 18 months after the Global Assembly, at which point there will be an election/selection process for a new Board. This is to ensure the institutional memory within the governance structure, and to avoid rotation of both governance bodies at the same time.