The Commons Fund (TCF): Democratic Governance


The TCF is a place to experiment with transformative projects which have the potential to positively impact people and planet. They aim to be bottom-up place based initiatives with the ambition, power and influence to connect globally and contribute to a national and trans-national debate on policies and governance towards a more sustainable future including people and our natural world. 

  • Members of the TCF commit to sign the TCF Principles and re-visit at least each three months. A central database of commitments will be maintained and kept up to date electronically.
  • TCF members are encouraged to develop their Value Exchange practice but this is not compulsory
  • The ‘work’ of the TCF is conducted by ‘pods‘ of people whose name is inspired by groups of marine animals, like whales or dolphins, that travel together. These animals often operate in close-knit, collaborative groups that rely on each other for survival. The organic and cooperative nature of such groupings can be seen as analogous to how some teams or communities function. Pods will typically have a maximum of 12 FTE though with part time contributions this may need to be more for practical purposes. Pods are part of ‘scopes’ which divide the community into working segments.
  • Pod members are encouraged to participate as mentors and mentees to both the work and wellbeing of fellow members.
  • Pods are created following a pod proposal template and dissolved and renewed democratically according to their pod terms of reference (tors) which are part of the proposals. Pods may last for only one week to make one decision or may exist for a maximum of 5 years without democratic renewal.
  • Pod members vote for their pod product owner who is, once again time limited.
  • All pod workings and general chat channels must be open to all community members to view with only pod members having write access to pod spaces.
  • If a pod gets stuck in a dispute they may call on other pods to support issue resolution to a maximum of 3 times in one year. Other pods called on for support must apply best endeavours to support any disputes arising subject to those limits. Following this limit, unresolved issues may be escalated to the scope level for resolution by voting. Ultimately unresolved issues at scope level may be escalated to community level for resolution.
  • Voting scope will be scoped to ensure that no more than 5 votes per week are made per scope. Scope may as an example evolve towards countries, towns or domain (such as EVs). A vote pipeline will be available to ensure that only the pressing decisions need to be voted on the basis of those limits defined above.
  • All TCF decisions that are not within the scope of a pod are conducted democratically on the basis of one member one vote by the online poll mechanism.
  • Individual pod participation is strictly time limited with maximum duration of 18 months before democratic pod individual member re-election or cycling to new members.
  • Pods are autonomous and expected to make their own financial arrangements. However they must make a financial contribution to the commons of 10% of first year revenue to the TCF fund to which no pod member may personally benefit.   This fund will be managed by one or more individuals / organisations separate from pod members to avoid conflicts of interest (perception or otherwise).
  • The first £240k of funding will be allocated to pod0001, the ‘bootsrap pod’ which is responsible for standing up the initial capability. Rob and Annabelle from Ethos are the joint product owners of this pod and are recruiting a founding team of volunteers to support them
  • There is no governing law to which the community calls upon for arbitration or for such purposes as legal identity, only the natural law of common sense and our own internal arbitration mechanisms which may be agreed upon from time to time.
  • Any fiat currency or legal contracts fall outside of the governance scope of this TCF and are hence left to each POD to administer as necessary with the commitment to report fully transparently to the rest of the community.
  • These rules can be improved at any point according to the TCF governance in place at the time.

 V0.01 Last update 06/09/2023 – First draft