Minutes of April 2009 meeting

Autscape Management Committee Meeting Minutes

Date: Saturday 11th April 2009

Meeting opened at 10:31, present: Debbie, Larry, Martijn, Yo, Peter,
Trish, Robin and 3 observers. Absent: Selina


The minutes for March 2009 were approved
For: 6; against: 0; abstentions: 1


There was a proposal to close registration early in order to (a)
increase the amount of time available for room allocation, and (b)
permit the possibility of an extention to registration if people don't
sign up in time.

Debbie (the registrar) did not feel that illness was a big risk.  There
was a possibility of people not realising that the deadline was
artificial and therefore not asking for more time. Similarly, even if
they knew, they may not know how to ask.

The committee decided in favour of the status quo, which is to keep
the closing date as late as possible.
For: 5; against: 0; abstentions: 2

Debbie posted the proposed fees to the committee list. These fees were
For: 5; against:0; abstentions: 1

Fees to be posted on web site, brochure, and into on-line booking system.

Rooms survey
Debbie has been working on the room survey.

Diet survey
Peter said that Yo had been very helpful in providing a list of
possible dietary restrictions for the diet survey. Trish
hightlighted the issue of labelling (GF, CF etc).

ACTION: Peter to send venue a list of our possible dietary
requirements and example menus.

Childcare survey
Childcare: No progress to report.



We agreed in principle to sell merchandise. We have some cups and toys
left over from last year, and we have a good idea of what kind of
stimmy toys are popular.
For: 6; against: 0; abstentions: 1

The committee agreed that Selina should coordinate the selling of
merchandise this year.
For: 6; against: 0; abstentions: 1

Nobody else put themselves forwards, so Debbie was voted in as vice-chair
For: 3; against: 0; abstensions: 4

Debbie vacated the post of secretary due to being elected vice-chair.

Peter was the only candidate for secretary, but as Yo pointed out, has
a conflict of interests due to his relationship with Debbie. It is
possible that Peter and Debbie would have to choose between what is
best for their relationship and what is best for Autscape. Having the
conflict in the context of chair and secretary is bad because they
are supposed to provide checks and balances for each other.

Yo proposed changing the secretary role: Peter would do the
administrative tasks, and Yo (who is vice-secretary) would criticise
the actions of the chair and make sure everything is above board.

The committee voted for Peter to be secretary, with the modified role 

(6 for, 1 abstention)

ACTION: Larry to announce the change to vice-chair and secretary.



Older discussion concerns advertising in Asperger United and NAS
Communication magazine.

The advertisement has now appeared in Asperger United, and it has not
converted Autistics into people with Autism this time.

Larry had hoped that he could get a discount from NAS communication,
unfortunately he was not able to because advertising is in the hands of an
external agency and although the deadline had not expired he learned that 
advertising for the next two journals had been filled in advance. If we do
wish to advertise there in future we will have to get our copy in well in
advance of the official deadlines due to the limited amount of advertising
they have space for.

More recent discussion has been around the brochure, there is a need to
revise it in line with the details of the new venue, but no need to alter
the design itself.

He is willing to get this printed locally and to format any revised
materials from word or whatever format into PDF for the printer and online

One more person joined the SC.


Unfortunately the fundraising SC has made no progress again this month. Yo
will try very hard to get on with organising and encouraging volunteers
for the necessary tasks.  Debbie is now working on application to Esmee


This SC has very recently begun discussion of a draft of our objects
section. This is the critical bit of our constitution which will set out
what our aims are. It needs to both conform to charity law and to what we
want (a tricky compromise).

The discussion is in an early stage but (hopefully) will be ongoing. Yo
would hope we can have a draft ready for a committee vote (which would be
to authorise our solicitor to proceed towards taking that draft to the
charities commission for approval) next month.

Discussion of the objects in progress. Hope to have proposal by next 


2009: See comments earlier re menus and diet.

2010 search: We got some negative feedback from a previous venue. Their
staff found us difficult to deal with two years ago, however, we had
been fine before that.  Peter will contact them to try and resolve
their issues.

Yo asked if staying at Emmaus is an option next year but didn't get a 
reply in the meeting.


We have prices for the luminarium - it is more expensive than the whole of
the rest of Autscape. Robin (treasurer) said that it was completely out of
our reach. Larry replied that in his opinion, "it would not be a
considered a prudent undertaking for a potentially charitable

[Robin had to leave the meeting at this point as stated before the meeting.]


Nothing has come in since the last meeting. There was some disagreement
about where the low number was normal at this stage. Yo said that a
reminder should go out a week before the deadline. Martijn requested ideas
for further advertising. There were a number of suggestions:
  * asking people we have personal contact with
  * Steve's unofficial Autscape Facebook,
  * asking prominant Autism researchers
  * asking the police (someone from the MET had expressed an interest
  * asking Autism researchers in University of London colleges,

Martijn expressed a desire for people to continue discussion on the
sc-prog list, and invited people to subscribe to the list.


Trish reported that one childcare provider was much better than the rest,
but would require acccommodation to be provided.  Debbie added that the
creches need to be capable of using email because that is how they will
receive training from Yo.

In the last month, Trish has completed her documentation expaining to
people how to register for a password on the autscape server and has
posted a draft Acceptable Use Policy for the Autscape Server.

In the next few weeks we expect to be involved in testing the registration
and survey systems.


Yo reported that Kalen wants permission to invite Simon Baro-Cohen on
behalf of Autscape. This was agreed.

The meeting closed at 12:51