We are a charity
UKCOD has the following charitable objective: “to conduct and promote research into the use and effects of information and communication technologies in the context of the operation of any body or bodies which has or have an electorate [...] and to disseminate the useful results of such research for the benefit of the public.”
The registered charity UKCOD was originally founded in 1996 as an experiment to find out whether people could use the internet to discuss and become better informed about the complex issues that affect their lives. UKCOD fell dormant around 1999, and was revived in 2003 by a new generation of trustees and volunteers, who started a new project called mySociety. All of our charitable work is now carried out under this name.
UKCOD has also established two commercial trading subsidiaries: mySociety Ltd (company number 05798215) and Mapumental Ltd (company number 07088037). The profits made by both companies are returned to the charity to enable it to continue with its work.
All staff are employed by mySociety Ltd, and have the opportunity to work on both charitable and commercial projects. mySociety Ltd charges UKCOD and Mapumental Ltd for the staff time used by those companies.
Many of the current charitable projects started out as private initiatives run by volunteers in their spare time, and mySociety continues to be supported by a large and disparate community of volunteers, too numerous to name here, who provide invaluable support, advice, technical expertise and common sense. The trustees and staff are of course immensely grateful for the contributions they make.
Ultimately we are governed by UKCOD’s board of trustees, who oversee our charitable work and the activities of the two commercial subsidiaries, and are responsible for ensuring that we comply with all relevant legal and constructive requirements. All trustees give their time and expertise on a voluntary basis and are entirely unwaged.
mySociety Ltd and Mapumental Ltd have their own boards of directors. There is some crossover in membership between the three boards, but never 100%, and the entities maintain an ‘arm’s length’ relationship.
The boards of UKCOD, mySociety Ltd and Mapumental Ltd each meet approximately quarterly.
James Crabtree James is the Mumbai Correspondent at the Financial Times, having previously worked as civil servant at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. He is also the author of an article entitled Civic Hacking: a new agenda for e-democracy which helped to shape the original mySociety project.
James Cronin (Chairman) James is the Chairman of UKCOD, as well as Chairman of the board of directors of mySociety Ltd. James co-founded FaxYourMP, mySociety and TheyWorkForYou, is a founding director of the Open Rights Group and is an advisory board member of the NO2ID campaign.
Manar Hussain Manar is co-founder of UKCOD, as well as co-founder of Stand.org.uk and thence FaxYourMP.com, Internet Vision (iVision), and the RiscBSD (NetBSD/arm32) project.
Stephen King A partner at Omidyar Network, Stephen leads their Government Transparency initiative and has exceptional links in the global transparency technology community, bringing his extensive expertise and contacts to assist UKCOD’s work.
Jeremy Weinstein Jeremy is Associate Professor of Political Science, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and Ford-Dorsey Director of African Studies at Stanford University.
mySociety Ltd’s directors
Owen Blacker See Owen’s bio in the Trustees list above.
James Cronin (Chairman) See James’s bio in the Trustees list above.
Tom Steinberg (CEO) Tom is a policy analyst by background. He founded mySociety with the immense help of the trustees of UKCOD, the volunteers who built FaxYourMP and TheyWorkForYou, and a big dose of luck.
Mapumental Ltd’s directors
Etienne Pollard Etienne is Deputy Director for HMRC Transformation at Government Digital Service. Prior to joining GDS he worked in the private equity sector, and has been a long-term volunteer for and supporter of mySociety.
Tom Steinberg (Chairman and CEO) See Tom’s bio above, or read on to find out more about him and the rest of the mySociety team.