The work pressure at Free Press Unlimited is always quite high - all of us carried out an enormous amount of work again in 2017. Despite that, our employees are still very satisfied and sick leave is very low, thanks to their great dedication and probably also to the structure and management of the organisation. Achieving our goals is just as essential as the work satisfaction of our employees. After all, they are the most important pillars on which the organisation depends.
Free Press Unlimited does not believe in a strong hierarchical structure. Our organisation is structured like a network, where all teams and departments can learn from each other. The organisation chart shows the close connections between the six project teams and the seven support departments. In combination with the open connections between office spaces, this organisational structure explicitly invites the daily exchange of knowledge, experience and information.
Each project team has a team leader who manages her or his team in the performance of their duties. Four of these teams are bound to a specific region: Sudan & South Sudan, Syria / Eurasia (the Russian-language News Platform), Fragile Africa (with countries such as Burundi and Central African Republic) and MENA (Middle East & North Africa). In addition, there is a Youth & Media team and a Gender, Safety and Accountability team. The size of the teams varies from 1.8 FTE in Youth & Media to 11 FTE in the big Sudan team, which also includes the staff of Radio Dabanga.
The 7 support departments keep the organisation operational and future-proof: Communication, Knowledge & Quality, Donor Relations, Human Resources, Office Management, Safety and Finances.
Free Press Unlimited is a foundation. We choose the Supervisory Board model as our governance form. This gives the Board of Directors the necessary scope to operate quickly and flexibly. The Supervisory Board guarantees that they do so carefully and effectively. The Board of Directors of Free Press Unlimited consists of Leon Willems and Ruth Kronenburg. They also form the Executive Team: Leon is Managing Director and Ruth is Operational Director. The Directors conduct the daily policy and are accountable to the Supervisory Board. Their duties and responsibilities are set out in the Articles of Association of Free Press Unlimited and in a management regulation.
How much do the directors of Free Press Unlimited earn? We follow the remuneration scheme for directors of Charity Netherlands and the Wijffels Code. For their virtually unlimited availability and effort they receive € 99.371 (Leon Willems) and € 89.248 (Ruth Kronenburg) gross per year, including holiday pay.
The additional activities of the board members are directly related to their work for Free Press Unlimited. Leon Willems is special advisor to the Global Forum for Media Development. Ruth Kronenburg is a member of the advisory committee of Pro Bono Connect, a project of the Dutch Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. They receive no compensation for this work.
In 2016, together with all employees, we critically examined our organisation. One of the conclusions was that the bi-weekly meeting of a limited management team no longer fits the fast-growing organisation. Starting in 2017, we replaced this MT meeting with a strategic management meeting. This is a quarterly meeting of the directors, the team leaders and the Communications and Knowledge & Quality coordinators. All team leaders and coordinators meet up every month. They discuss and coordinate operational matters that are important for the entire organisation and support each other as managers.
The Supervisory Board is ultimately responsible for Free Press Unlimited. It keeps an eye on the performance of the organisation and intervenes if it finds it necessary. The Supervisory Board is responsible for the overall strategy of the organisation and makes decisions based on annual budgets and reports. The Supervisory Board accounts for its activities in 2017 in its own report.
Ideally, Free Press Unlimited wants its partners to pull their own (financial) weight as soon as possible. On condition that they can run their organisation in a professional manner. Free Press Unlimited tries to guide them as much as possible to achieve this: tailor-made and at a realistic pace given the often difficult circumstances in which they operate.
We are therefore proud that our production office in South Sudan, Free Voice, became fully independent in 2017. Free Media is, after Media INK in Somalia, the second of our original three production offices (local offices that carry out very large productions) that successfully became independent. Number three will hopefully follow next year. In 2017 we worked hard together on a plan to also strengthen this production office so that it can continue without our support.