• Welcome Guest to the new look forum. For more information refer to this thread

Weekly Discussion: From Behind Closed Doors and Straight Into Your Unit

How transparent do you think processes are?

  • Very transparent, I’m happy with no complaints

  • Most things are transparent, I’m happy

  • Things could be more transparent but overall I’m still satisfied

  • Things could be more transparent, I’m mildly frustrated

  • I find it fairly closed, I’m frustrated

  • It’s not transparent, I’m frequently frustrated by this

  • It’s not transparent, but I don’t mind

  • Other not covered


Results are only viewable after voting.

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#1
Over the past decade there have been some “big” decisions/changes about Girlguiding. The branding, operating name, strapline, Promise, uniforms, new lead figures, membership options, terminology … All to some degree gave notice before happening, but none of which were arguably wholly decided by GG membership.

I have seen an increase in members frustrated or disappointed at the lack of transparency on large matters. Most can be summarised within the following:
  • Lack of consultation about “big” changes
  • Changes may occur at short notice /before public announcement
  • Not enough information or support given to grassroots leaders following changes or announcements
  • Short time frames to give feedback
  • Many surveys are not for the final decision and may have a role dependant bar.
  • The results of the surveys are not often published or made available if requested.
  • Task and finish groups results aren’t published or don’t have visible/notable results
  • Selection of lead figures is not by membership
  • An annual report on GG is not made readily available to members

I’ve had more than one volunteer now say that she feels more like an “employee” than a “member” of GG. Many other charities that offer membership will have national/regional AGMs, referendums and publish summarisations/data after questionnaires.

  1. What should our membership “buy”? Just the right to volunteer for GG, or to also say how that volunteering happens?
  2. Should we be able to request and be given answers to any question regarding how GG is run/decision making?
  3. Do we actually need to have a say on every matter?
 

Tawnyowl51

Veteran (100+ posts)
#2
It seems to be that in the past few years, we are pseudo-consulted on things which then are presented as having been properly and democratically decided.

The promise WAS open to anyone who cared to reply, but only within the guidelines already chosen.
The guide uniform options were given to a selected group and again, only within options offered.

The new programme -well I cannot comment as I only know what is on the website, and wait in hope that those Chosen to design it have listened and done a good job.

I think the opportunity to ask questions about decisions made is a good idea -like a freedom of information request within GG.

If we all had a say on everything, it would become such a chore to have to vote and comment, we'd all be complaining that it took up far too much of our time!

It is far from a perfect system, and it often feels like the decision makers are not in touch with grass roots, but it does not stop anyone from delivering good guiding.
 

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#3
Personally:

I can see why not every decision is put out to membership. It would be costly and not necessarily help-Guiding can be a diverse experience and sometimes for practicality a single precise decision is needed over a loose compromise. And the potential for information overload, you’d start getting a low response rate/ not being able to emphasise the importance of this survey over last weeks questionnaire.

We are also much much larger than lots of other charities and what membership means is very different. It’s not a case of paying a yearly fee and in exchange getting a magazine, annual report and a car sticker. We are actively running units or supporting other volunteers, we deliver a “service”. Therefore we need some executive decisions to reflect the law, research on children and young people, and what Guiding can financially and logistically practically achieve rather than simply what members would like to be the situation. Not everything can or should be put out to members.

That said, we are the ones “on the front line”. We are the ones who get the parish council threatening to cut funding after the secretary reads a DM article, an irrate parent upset at the very existence of GFI Glamorama or have to explain to Leaders why they can’t just put their very regular UHs down as OUHs because they “aren’t fussed about having membership” (ie don’t want to pay census for them). Sometimes more information, warning and being able to have a say is very welcomed. We are the ones that “do” most of the Guiding that most people encounter, should we not have a say in what Guiding actually is?
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#4
I think what concerns me most is excessive use of SurveyMonkey multiple choice boxes.
Whilst I appreciate it means automatic collation of statistics, which means less work for staff - you can find yourself having to rank a dozen options in order of preference - not of which you much care for.
 

browniebeth

Brownie Leader
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#5
I think what concerns me most is excessive use of SurveyMonkey multiple choice boxes.
Whilst I appreciate it means automatic collation of statistics, which means less work for staff - you can find yourself having to rank a dozen options in order of preference - not of which you much care for.
And where Q1 may be 1-5, 1 being hate and 5 being love....if you're not careful, by Q3 that has been reversed!!
 

Quack

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#6
Badgemad's comments are good, there are a lot of changes and many recently have been as a result of changing our methods to ensure we comply to current legislation, safeguarding, DBS, etc. That's partly why GO is designed in the way it was to restrict information to those who require it.

As a charity, we take governance seriously, we have to ensure that our senior team are capable of running a charity of this size. This is the professional staff as well as the senior volunteers....but we can only choose people for roles if they know they are there, if we know their capabilities and if we know they are willing to commit. The other side is that I don't think many grassroots leaders know or engage in the way that Guiding is governed. How many go to District and Division meetings and participate in local decision making, how many nominate or volunteer to be a Commissioner locally, how many know who their County or Region Commissioner are? How many understand who the Council are ?

We can all criticise when we don't agree with a decison but lead volunteers are just that, volunteers who run units, who have the same issues that we all have but they have to try and see the bigger picture and consider how we can constantly improve the process for others. They may not always get it right, the big decisions need to be tested and run past other minds and tried and that takes time.



Sent from my SGP712 using Tapatalk
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#7
1. I dislike that lack of advertising for Task and Finish Groups or workgroups. I dislike that you have to know someone who know someone to even know they are going on. For example, I interviewed to be the lead volunteer for programme renewal last year. I didn't get it, but I was told that I could be on a workstream for the 18-25 group instead, so I went to that for the day. Which is fine, but despite being in that age range it wasn't really what I wanted to do, and I'm sure there were people around the country who would have been more interested than me - but they didn't know it was going on. Apparently, it wasn't advertised because it needed to be done quickly, but as no results have been announced yet, I think waiting an extra 2 weeks would have been fine too.

2. I also dislike where there's a consultation but the answer seems a foregone conclusion. For example, the Guide Uniform that was "designed" by members. Except the template they had to colour in showed the zip being a different colour, and lots of other strange "design" features like that. It wasn't really a free choice at all. Tawny Owl has it when she says "pseudo-consultation".

3. The way the information is communicated. Recently, the only way to find out about the new programme announcements are via the powerpoints that keep getting uploaded to the GirlGuiding website, except those powerpoints are explicitly called "For Trainers - Jan 2018" etc... So I feel I shouldn't open them, but I seem to be directed to do so? And then, to find the actual new information, I have to compare this month's and last month's side to side and see what's new on each slide. Surely a short "Changes in this version: We have renamed X to Y, and included the new Rangers logo" would be much more efficient? And when I do go to a training this Spring, I'm going to be so bored because the material has already been circulating for 6 months.

I think changes such as data protection, safeguarding, mission statements etc are all fine to decide within GGUK - they don't need to be so democratic as there are regulations about those things, and most volunteers won't know any better. But core programme and uniform are things that not only do we have to buy, but we have to encourage and run, so we should have a say.
 

Epona

Veteran (100+ posts)
#8
Pseudo consultation annoys me more than almost anything. No transparency over survey results and focus groups feeds into the same mindset.

Professional staff who do not run a unit at any level deciding the programme structure and objectives. (Surveying the girls is not the same as listening to them week on week and watching them grow up over their years with you.)

A clunky, error-prone mandatory IT system with an appallingly bad 1980s user interface somehow does not fill me with reassurance over the safety of my girls' personal data.

I have nothing but admiration for the Dist, Div, and County Commissioners and the associated officers that help them. My Anglia region seems good too (if woefully lopsided), but I do worry about the disconnect at HQ.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#9
Badgemad's comments are good, there are a lot of changes and many recently have been as a result of changing our methods to ensure we comply to current legislation, safeguarding, DBS, etc. That's partly why GO is designed in the way it was to restrict information to those who require it.

As a charity, we take governance seriously, we have to ensure that our senior team are capable of running a charity of this size. This is the professional staff as well as the senior volunteers....but we can only choose people for roles if they know they are there, if we know their capabilities and if we know they are willing to commit. The other side is that I don't think many grassroots leaders know or engage in the way that Guiding is governed. How many go to District and Division meetings and participate in local decision making, how many nominate or volunteer to be a Commissioner locally, how many know who their County or Region Commissioner are? How many understand who the Council are ?

We can all criticise when we don't agree with a decison but lead volunteers are just that, volunteers who run units, who have the same issues that we all have but they have to try and see the bigger picture and consider how we can constantly improve the process for others. They may not always get it right, the big decisions need to be tested and run past other minds and tried and that takes time.



Sent from my SGP712 using Tapatalk
I do attend District Meetings regularly, I am not invited to Division Meetings. I have applied for Commissioner posts 4 times but have yet to be successful. I have applied for several task and finish groups, again unsuccessully. As a management graduate with professional experience, this is frustrating.
 

Kochanski

Veteran (100+ posts)
#10
Wow, this one got a response!

Reading through all the comments, it occurred to me that we have basically answered the question about the role of the magazine - all the things people feel they don't hear about could be set out clearly in it and mailed to every member.

Ta dah, a clear purpose for the future of the magazine and a clear and fair method of communication ... my work here is done.
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#11
Reading through all the comments, it occurred to me that we have basically answered the question about the role of the magazine - all the things people feel they don't hear about could be set out clearly in it and mailed to every member.

Ta dah, a clear purpose for the future of the magazine and a clear and fair method of communication ... my work here is done.
But the magazine only comes out three times a year. Also results from T&F groups could be shown in the magazine, actually letting people know when things are might be a bit slow. Given that apparently even posting it to the GG fb group or website is "too slow", the magazine definitely wouldn't work. For me, it would be great if there was a "More Opportunities" part of the website, where it has all the T&F groups, workstreams, any trainings for whatever, maybe peer education trainings, service team sign ups for national events, unit sign ups for testing the new programme etc.
 

Quack

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#12
I agree it could made easier to find out what opportunities are available for task and finish groups and other opportunities.. The problem that I see is that it is hard to get grass roots feedback. People don't like survey monkeys but they do serve a purpose.
Generally I have found if there's an event, you get complaints about some aspects but nothing about others. Was it at the right venue, time of year, age group..you only ask the people that went, not why others didn't go. If it was a county event, word for feedback goes down the chain but is rarely fed back up so multiplying that to a national level is hard.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#13
I agree it could made easier to find out what opportunities are available for task and finish groups and other opportunities.. The problem that I see is that it is hard to get grass roots feedback. People don't like survey monkeys but they do serve a purpose.
Generally I have found if there's an event, you get complaints about some aspects but nothing about others. Was it at the right venue, time of year, age group..you only ask the people that went, not why others didn't go. If it was a county event, word for feedback goes down the chain but is rarely fed back up so multiplying that to a national level is hard.
Interesting - in my area those who don't attend events are regularly consulted. Is there a reason why your County struggles with it?
 

Quack

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#14
Interesting - in my area those who don't attend events are regularly consulted. Is there a reason why your County struggles with it?
Really ? or do they just comment....why didn't your unit go to X....because it was too far/too expensive/clashed with another activity..

Well it's easy for people to comment, it's too far etc but how can the organisers explain the reasons for having at a particular venue eg good value for money, offered better facilities, good transport links...

It's easy for us all to get in a 'silo' mentality whereby we forget whats good for us, isn't necessarily so for others. To have those honest discussions may be easier in smaller areas where the decision makers are in closer contact with unit leaders. But more spread out areas, larger Counties, Regions and nationally it is more difficult to get the two way dialogue to give each side a greater undersatnding of issues. So decisions are made on the best information available, they will not suit everyone but they are made based on the details available. What is missing is the explanation why this was decided rather than that... so maybe the feedback from surveys should be advertised.

But again ask yourself when you survey the girls at the start of the term what they would like to do, then cross out the ice skating, cinema trips etc every week and you are left with the germ of a theme ...then work that on to the bigger research projects..


Sent from my SGP712 using Tapatalk
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#15
Really ? or do they just comment....why didn't your unit go to X....because it was too far/too expensive/clashed with another activity..

Well it's easy for people to comment, it's too far etc but how can the organisers explain the reasons for having at a particular venue eg good value for money, offered better facilities, good transport links...

It's easy for us all to get in a 'silo' mentality whereby we forget whats good for us, isn't necessarily so for others. To have those honest discussions may be easier in smaller areas where the decision makers are in closer contact with unit leaders. But more spread out areas, larger Counties, Regions and nationally it is more difficult to get the two way dialogue to give each side a greater undersatnding of issues. So decisions are made on the best information available, they will not suit everyone but they are made based on the details available. What is missing is the explanation why this was decided rather than that... so maybe the feedback from surveys should be advertised.

But again ask yourself when you survey the girls at the start of the term what they would like to do, then cross out the ice skating, cinema trips etc every week and you are left with the germ of a theme ...then work that on to the bigger research projects..


Sent from my SGP712 using Tapatalk
No, there are silo-free discussions. And the only girl suggestions I score off are the ones the rules forbid. Sounds like you have issues along those lines in your area, though - anything we can help you with?
 

Fox

Brownie-induced madness
#16
I found the Promise consultation well advertised and helpful (there were a LOT of options, basically an English translation of every existing promise anywhere in the world, and a few extra).
I did it in person with my Rainbows and sent it out on paper to all parents and Brownies.

Other consultations seem to be small group, that can attend at the time, or as Fenris says multiple choice that you don't like any of the options.

Browniebeth - sadly if you put Dislike as 1 and Like as 5 all the time people just go through and ignore the questions and put 5 or 1 for every single question even if they are very very different topics. You do have to mix it up a bit to make people pay attention!
 

browniebeth

Brownie Leader
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#17
Browniebeth - sadly if you put Dislike as 1 and Like as 5 all the time people just go through and ignore the questions and put 5 or 1 for every single question even if they are very very different topics. You do have to mix it up a bit to make people pay attention!
But then you risk the whole sample being inaccurate - I often have extremities of opinion, and find I have said I love something I hate and vice versa! Sometimes I notice....

But a whole bunch of people going for 1 or 5 all the time may not be ideal, it gives you an idea of where people sit on these issues...
 

Fox

Brownie-induced madness
#18
Well except that you don't know if they've actually read the questions, or just want a whinge about the organisation in general, regardless of the issues.