Draft budget guidelines

From Critical Practice Chelsea
Jump to: navigation, search

Filtered and condensed by Neil Cummings


Critical Practice participated in an event called Disclosures on the 29th - 30th March 2008.

On Sunday 30th March Critical Practice convened a ResourceCamp to tackle the 'elephant in the room' of open organizations - money,its 'open' management, and more generally the transparent distribution of resources.

Critical Practice is an open organization, though we prefer the term self-organised cluster, because we use guidelines suggested by open-organizations.org. We do this because we recognise - after Theodor Adorno - that all art is organised, so how we organise has to be part of our 'critical practice' The Open Organizational guidelines are fantastic, practical, pragmatic, born from participation and analysis of previous Open Organizations - like Indymedia. They stress process and functionality, although to our knowledge in none of the online documents is there any mention of money or resources, and how to value and manage them.

This is often what Critical Practice struggles with most - how to manage our finances and more generally our values and resources. Perhaps this is a struggle we share with most art organizations, NGOs and self-organised groups – organizations that function in mixed economies of funds, fees, volunteers, generosity, grants, etc. We do not have, and would never have, enough money to pay people for their participation. And much of what we value - creativity, conviviality, knowledge, experience, etc - is difficult to quantify and reimburse.

We convened the ResourceCamp to start the process of drafting guidelines for open resource management.

We had contributions from
Kuba, Neil, Corrado and Marsha, Peter, Anna, Cinzia, Trevor, Ian, Eileen & Ben, Jem, and Marcell. Video documentations of all of them are available online at swarm TV

Draft Guidelines

Oscar Wilde, in Lady Windermere's Fan has Lady Windermere say "The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

This is a draft set of guidelines for individuals and organizations trying to practice in an 'open' way. They are explicitly intended to facilitate the open, transparent and accountable management of financial resources, and how they inevitably mesh with human, social, intellectual and material resources too!

general principles


At all times, but especially at the beginning of a project, try to be clear about your specific aims and time-frame.


The more complicated resource management is, the less likely it is to be well managed.


The resource management process should be flexible; resources and needs will change, frequent reviews are helpful.


  1. Organize resource allocation around clearly articulated tasks, services, needs, specific people, goods or projects
    - bearing in mind these are subject to continual review
  2. For each project:
a) Estimate/allocate the appropriate resources
b) Estimate/record all the incomes (investments)
c) Estimate/record all the expenditure
d) Total your income and expenditures
e) Review
f) Make adjustments as necessary
  1. Invest for future gain, and try and build resources for others.
  2. Respect and evaluate different forms of income and expenditure - obviously nothing is 'free'. And perhaps think of a 'total audit' of personal (and collective) intellectual and emotional investment, time, energy, materials and space that make a project possible -
    the opportunity costs.
  3. Appointing a resource coordinator is useful.
  4. Be transparent with the available financial resources; publish the financial resources (e.g. on a wiki), and clearly describe the process by which participants can access the funds - ie through the resource coordinator.
    You could refer to our Budget_Tables as templates.
  5. Be clear who has permission to act, and who is empowered to make decisions - rough consensus is good. Try to avoid the big other of hidden power and responsibility.
  6. Ensure flows of accrued capital are distributed equitably.
  7. Public transparency should guard against misuse and corruption.
  8. Consider each case for funding, or demand upon resources, in their own right. Precedents, although useful can be deceptive.
  9. Use resource management as a plan for future action.
  10. Use points of friction as opportunities for reflection and change - changes in practice and to the guidelines themselves.
  11. Take responsibility, and do not look to apportion blame for the mistakes of others, especially the big other or the resource coordinator.
  12. There is no intrinsic value, so be sensitive to the sacrifice - the opportunity cost - implicit in one choice over another.

Project Budget Table

Name of the project: *****
Agreed and available budget: £XXX.
Deadline for claims: XX/XX/XX.

Total Budget: £X
Person Need Amount date claimed date paid
Name details £X date date
Name details £X date date
Total of requests: £X
Total remainder: £X Open/Closed

How to claim:
State your need in the form above and describe method of contact - email, skype, etc. Contact Coordinator, or post to discussion page. If you need the funds advanced, it may be possible. See Budget page for details.

Annual budget table

Because Critical Practice receives funding from Chelsea College of Art and Design, we adhere to their accounting timetable, which runs from 1st August to 31st July. To close the financial year all invoices and expenses to be submitted by 20th June. Costs incurred after the 20th June will be reliant upon Critical Practice's subsequent financial standing. Funding allocations are made on 1st August of each financial year.

EXPENDITURE: 21st June Year - 20th June Year+1
Who's Claiming Date of claim Description of claim Amount £ Date Paid Comments
Name date of claim description £ date paid
Name date of claim description £ date paid
Name date of claim description £ date paid
Name date of claim description £ date paid

INCOME: 21st June Year - 20th June Year+1
Who's Paying Date of income Description of income Amount £ Amount € roll-over
Name date description £
Name date description £
Name date description £
Name date description £


1. 'Date claimed' - this should refer to the date on which you submitted your claim.

2. It will really help us keep track of our cash flow if you can let us know when you have been paid by completing the Date Paid field.

3. The comments box can be used to explain e.g. why a payment might be overdue (for example, went missing in the post)

return to content, to publication or the ResourceCamp or see the resources on swarmTV