There are two types of sub-committee constituted under Linux Australia. One type of sub-committee exists either to facilitate LA's operations or is a project undertaken with the governance of the council. These include such things as server infrastructure (admin-team), zookeepr, mirror etc. The other type of sub-committee is formed where a group who could otherwise exist independently, choose to operate with Linux Australia's support in terms of finance, advice and insurance. For example small conferences such as Drupal Down Under, Wordcamp, PyCon etc. This type of sub-committee is distinguished by the need to operate a bank account and must at the minimum have a coordinator and a treasurer.
Sub-committees are expected to adhere to requests made by the council and to operate with Linux Australia's best interests at heart. Major changes to the members, goals or infrastructure etc of the sub-committee should be highlighted to the council.
Linux Australia requires regular reports from all sub-committees detailing updates of their latest activities. These reports can either be weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly or half-annually as requested by the council. (For example as a sub-committee's event draws closer weekly reports may be required as opposed to half-yearly for low-activity committees such as the admin sub-committee). At times it may be appropriate or requested that these reports are released to the public members' list for transparency and community feedback. The report may be from anybody within the sub-committee with the consent of the coordinator.
Sub-committees not operating a bank account are not required to publish a budget unless the council specifically requests one or the sub-committee sees fit. Any expenses made or incurred by the sub-committee require approval prior to occurring by emailing a request to the council. If the expense is approved, processing of the payment or reimbursement is done by the Linux Australia Treasurer on sight of the invoice or receipt. (See FinancialProcessGuide)
Roles and responsibilities
A sub-committee operating a bank account must have at least two members: A Coordinator and a Treasurer.
The sub-committee should provide to the council an up-to-date description of their aims, goals and role within the organisation, along with a list of active members. This can be very basic such as "to run a successful Python Conference" for example but more detail is welcome.
It is the role of the coordinator of the sub-committee to manage their team in terms of personnel (inviting, conflict resolution, releasing etc). If there are any issues within the team it is the responsibility of all members to raise the issue with the Linux Australia Council.
It is the role of the coordinator to ensure that the detail and frequency of the reports requested by Linux Australia are met. This doesn't necessarily mean the coordinator must write the report, but it is their responsibility to ensure that it is met. The detail is usually very minimal and doesn't require anything other than dot points and doesn't necessarily have to be different from previous reports when there is nothing new to note.
In addition to reports, a budget may be required from the sub-committee for approval by the council. The budget should rarely be in the red and should at least break even in the case of most events (subject to review and circumstances). A typical guide for a first time event would be to break even, but Linux Australia would expect a (negotiable) profit for subsequent events. The treasurer is required to propose quarterly or annual budgets to the Linux Australia Council as requested. The budgets are required to be kept up to date and relevant with any major changes being highlighted to the council.
The treasurer should provide the sub-committee with an expense policy as to what is accepted and what is not. Generally this can be a duplicate/link to Linux Australia's ExpensesPolicy.
It is the role of the treasurer to ensure all relative expenses and costs are paid according to the budget or as otherwise seen fit. This requires the treasurer to use Xero and Westpac to do so (see FinancialProcessGuide). Additionally, the treasurer must insure that all receipts, invoices and accounts are kept in good record and if appropriate delivered to the council as required by LA (after the event, for an event-based sub-committee; or on a regular basis for an ongoing sub-committee). Electronic copies are acceptable.
Provisions from the Council
Being a sub-committee usually means that the council will provide you with a bank account and seed money if required. This is assessed per committee based on their budget. Access to the account will typically be given to two members of the sub-committee (usually the Coordinator and Treasurer) to enable small expenses to be processed without interaction from the council (see FinancialProcessGuide).
Linux Australia can further assist sub-committees and groups by providing particular infrastructure. Things such as VM's, Drupal instances, wiki pages and mailing lists can be provided upon request to the relevant teams (web-team, admin-team).
User Groups as sub-committees
To assist with running user groups, UGs may become a sub-committee of Linux Australia. This involves primarily following the procedures outlined in this document with a few exceptions.
Due to typically low financial activities involved in running a UG (especially given the available infrastructure Linux Australia can provide) it may be accepted that no budget is necessary and no bank accounts are provided. If this is the case, irregular expenses can be made by submitting applications to the council (often through the Grants Programme) as per the FinancialProcessGuide.
It may be appropriate that user groups will develop their own policies, both regarding the operations of the sub-committee and regarding its interactions with the outside world. Where these policies extend beyond the authority already delegated by the Council, these policies must be presented to LA for discussion and approval. The default position will be for LA to approve all policies if no significant dissent is raised within 14 days.
For example, it is expected that user groups would hold their own internal annual elections to appoint a co-ordinator, treasurer, and other such positions as the user group determines are needed. Unless LA are presented with strong reasons not to do so, LA will honour these elections and make the requested changes to the membership of the sub-committee.
Any profit made by a sub-committee from an event (or otherwise) goes back to Linux Australia. These monies are rolled into Linux Australia's general budget. However if the event is ongoing the next year budget may take this into account. For example, if your sub-committee turned over $10k in profit one year it would not be unreasonable to ask the council to grant an extra $5k towards the following years budget to do something cool for attendees(such as buying top hats). This allows previous years' surplus to cover the red from any future budgets. It is also hoped that the communities that the sub-committees represent will also try to take advantage of Linux Australia's grants programme. In the mid-term, Linux Australia uses its funds to support other events, organisations and grants throughout the year while earning interest on any surplus (see Budget2011).
LA holds 3 main insurance policies.
- Volunteers (Covers our volunteers if they get injured etc)
- PL and PI
- Association (Covers the council)
These policies will cover all sub-committees when they hold events under the auspices of Linux Australia. For an event to be covered it must be run as a Linux Australia event and all financials for the event must be run under LA for GST purposes.
Note: If requested we can also apply for events cancellation insurance. This is most useful for those sub-committees who run conferences. Please contact the LA treasurer if you are running a conference. A decision on event cancellation insurance will be made on a conference by conference basis based on the size of its budget.
Note: If as part of your duties you hire a sub-contractor eg caterer, security. You must ask to see a copy of their public liability insurance and send a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
: If you are doing anything out of the ordinary like rocket launches then we need to let our insurer know.
The following is a suggested spiel for subcommittees to place on their websites:
EVENT XYZ is run under the auspices of Linux Australia. As an organisation, Linux Australia aims to represent and assist the groups and individuals who make up the Free Software and Open Source communities in Australia. Linux Australia values Open Technology, Community, Freedom, Respect and Diversity which are all upheld by EVENT XYZ. For more information about Linux Australia and its governance, visit http://linux.org.au.