By One Click Orgs | April 28, 2010
I’m delighted to announce that One Click Orgs has formed a project with London Hackspace to create the world’s first virtualised non-profit corporation. London Hackspace is the UK’s leading hackerspace. It currently has more than 40 members and a space in Barnsbury, north London, where they get together to work on projects and socialise. London Hackspace was incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee in January 2009, which is the UK version of a non-profit corporation.
Over the last few months we’ve been talking to Russ and Jonty, founders of the Hackspace, to understand how they wanted the organisation’s governance to develop and plan the best approach to virtualising its legal structure. Unlike One Click Orgs’ existing platform for Associations where the legal structure is created from scratch, we’ll need to reverse engineer the Hackspace’s existing articles to replace references to meetings and paper notices with links to the electronic platform. This requires some delicate choreography.
The first step will involve passing a resolution that replaces the “Proceedings of the Board” section of the articles with new clauses permitting Directors to make proposals and vote on them anytime with the decisions logged electronically. Then we’ll make a model change to the platform to separate Members’ powers from Directors’. Next the sections dealing with “General Meetings”, “Proceedings at General Meetings”, “Members’ Powers” and “Votes of Members” will be replaced, virtualising the appointment of new members, the election of board members and removing the requirement to hold an annual general meeting. Finally the filing of annual returns to Companies House will be automated. As ever, the code and legal provisions created in the course of the project will all be released under open licences so anyone is free to reuse and adapt them.
This is an important project for a number of reasons:
- It will create a legal template that can be localised to different jurisdictions around the world which will make it a lot easier for people to set up hackerspaces.
- It will reduce the bureacratic overhead of running a hackerspace which for many people has to fit alongside a day job.
- It will open up new possibilities to involve the members of a hackerspace in how it is run.
- As well as hackerspaces the resulting platform will be relevant to a wide range of other non-profits.
- It will provide a natural “next step” for projects which have set up on the One Click Orgs platform for Associations (currently in closed Beta)
- The project will thoroughly test the UK’s 2006 Companies Act which includes a lot of innovations favourable to virtual corporations. In the process it will clarify what further legislative amendments are required for fully virtual corporations so we can campaign for those revisions to be made.
We’re organising a special hacknight at the Trampery this Thursday from 7pm to 10pm to get started on the project so come along and code with us if you’re in the neighbourhood.
Chris and I made a short presentation at last week’s London Hackspace Meetup, which we filmed. Here’s the first part in which I introduce the project. The second and third parts showing Chris’ demo and code walkthrough will follow.