Minutes of June 2009 meeting

Autscape Management Committee Meeting Minutes

Date: Sunday 14th June 2009

The meeting opened at 09:35.

Present at the meeting were Peter, Debbie, Yo, Larry and Trish, Robin and
Selina.  Apologies and proxy voting instructions were received from Martijn.
There were two observers.

1.0 Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved
For: 5; Against: 0; Abstain: 2 

A correction to the April meeting minutes (inclusion of a missing
section) was approved:
For: 7; Against: 0; Abstain: 0

2.0 Ratifications

Mobile Creche were selected as Autscape's childcare providers
for 2009 with the proviso that the creche staff will have
accomodation at the Emmaus Centre only if there is sufficient space,
otherwise we will provide accomodation nearby.
For: 7; Against: 0; Abstain: 0

3.0 Progress checks and reports

3.1 Publicity SC - Larry

50 brochures out of 100 that were printed were sent to Debbie for distribution.
Larry will distribute the other 50 at the NAS regional convention in Coventry
Robin has sent some more off in response to telephone enquiries.

ACTION: Selina to send an announcement about it being available for printing
        from the website.

3.2 Venue SC - Peter

The venue have been slow to respond to emails. Peter is waiting for
replies to emails about access needs and menus.

A question was asked about self-catering - there is no question that
the venue know that a few people will need this - they had had
reminders from us every time we sent them a food-related question.

Glutafin, who make prescription gluten-free foods, will be providing
us with gluten-free biscuits.

ACTION: Peter to chase up a reply re access needs and menus.

3.3 Tech SC - Debbie

Alexis has been testing the the on-line questionnaire system. 
Martijn has passed his questionaire to Peter who has put it up.
Debbie has added the room questionaire to the survey system but it isn't live

3.4 Programme - Martijn

Peter is waiting for the text that was sent to the presenters and
wondered if we still wanted to send out letters given the time that
has elapsed. Debbie pointed out that they may need it for funding

ACTION: Peter to get the text from the email and send out formal letters.

3.5 Childcare - Trish

The cheque for the deposit has been signed and sent to Mobile Creche.

Robin has raised question of budget and Debbie has given figures to allow for
offsite or onsite accomodation. These are dependent on number of children but
could well be over budget.

ACTION: Childcare questionnaire still to be done.

3.6 Fundraising - Yo

No pogress to report.

3.7 Constitution - Yo

The final draft of the objects section ready for approval at this meeting.
The SC hope to make progress with the remaining sections of the
constitution as soon as possible.

3.8 Registrar - Debbie

34 people have booked in for the event so far, about half of which are
for single rooms.  Debbie was worried that new people are booking far
quicker than old-timers.

Yo suggested that it would be good to send out a reminder to book for
the conference. Debbie suggested that that email should go to the
membership list.

In the registrar's report to the committee, Debbie said that at some point we
may need to make a decision regarding how many singles to offer, whether to
fill the venue to maximum capacity or deliberately reduce capacity to increase
the number of single rooms.

ACTION: Selina to send out reminder email for people to book.

3.9 Merchandise (stimmy toys and logo items) - Selina

Nothing to report.

3.10 Organiser wear - Selina

Nothing to report.

3.11 Folder pens - Selina

Pens have been ordered.

3.12 Picture signs - Trish

Trish is prepared to draw signs if she was given some idea
what. She is waiting for input from Martijn. 

Debbie asked if we could use photos. Yo pointed out that photos can
have too much visual clutter and that line drawings were better.

Debbie felt that a committee decision between Makaton, PCT or
something else was needed soon.

Trish was worried about the number of signs required, however, not all
the signs are required this year.

ACTION: Trish to follow up Makaton/PCT with Martijn.

4.0 Proposals:

4.1 New constitution

The committee approved the following objects for revised constitution,
which shall be submitted to the Charity Commission for approval.

"The objects of the Company shall be:-
(a) to provide respite and support for autistic people by (i) organising
retreat-style conferences at which autistic people can learn, engage in
activities, socialise and relax in an autistic-orientated environment and
(ii) generally providing them [and their families [and carers]] with
information, advice and other forms of assistance;

(b) to advance the education and awareness of the public in all matters
relating to autism [and in particular to increase public awareness of the
problems faced by, and the general circumstances of, autistic people
[and their families] thus encouraging increased acceptance and support
of autistic people in the community] ;

(c) to advance and promote the education of autistic people in
self-advocacy and in those issues which are of particular interest
and/or relevance to autistic people; and

(d) to do such other charitable things for the benefit and/or support
of autistic people as the directors in their discretion shall decide and

for the avoidance of doubt the phrase "autistic people" shall include
all people who consider themselves to be autistic or to be close to
the autistic spectrum whether or not they have been formally diagnosed
as such".

The above text was approved:
For: 8; Against: 0; Abstain: 0

4.2 NCVO membership (National Council for Voluntary Organisations)

Our membership is up for renewal at a cost of GBP 44.
We don't appear to be using any facilities they offer, and there is no
penalty for letting the membership lapse and rejoining later.

The proposal to renew the membership was rejected.
For: 0; Against: 7; Abstain: 0

4.3 Venue 2010

Peter asked if we wanted to look elsewhere other than Ammerdown. Yo
thought we should be considering Emmaus as well.

Trish wanted somewhere with more single rooms, but Peter and Yo
doubted that you could find anywhere else within a reasonable price.
Larry said that if the membership want to pay extra for this,
we should respect that wish.

There was some suggestion of choosing between Ammerdown and Emmaus
after Autscape, but it seems unlikely that we could hold a pencilling
in that long.

The committee voted to remain pencilled in with Ammerdown, for Selina
to take responsibility for the Ammerdown pencilling in, to
continue to search other venues, and for Debbie to co-ordinate that search.
For: 6; Against: 0; Abstain: 0

ACTION: Peter to enquire about Emmaus dates, pencil us in, and bring
prices to the committee
ACTION: Debbie to email Selina describing how Ammerdown's pencilling in works
ACTION: Debbie to send her list of potential venues to the venue SC.

4.4 Travel

The committee voted  to have a dedicated travel email address for people 
to which people make make enquiries about travel.
For: 7; Against: 0; Abstain: 0

Yo recommended the addition of a disclaimer so that people know that
we cannot take responsibility for guarateeing the correctness of
advice, and Debbie asked that we discuss who should receive email on
the committee list.

ACTION: Yo and Debbie to draw up a disclaimer.
ACTION: To discuss who should receive the emails

4.5 Feedback forms

The committee voted to have an online version of the feedback forms.
For: 7; Against: 0; Abstain: 0

The committee voted principle to enter feedback forms in a prize draw
to encourage their return.
For: 6; Against: 1; Abstain: 0

Larry asked how on-line forms could be included. Debbie had a suggestion. 
Robin doubted that a prize draw would be an incentive.

After some dicussion of the relative merits of goods vs cash as a
prize, the committee approved a total for all prizes of £75.
For: 7; Against: 0; Abstain: 0

The prize could be given as an equivalent value of merchandise.

This committee approved Selina to coordinate the various issues. 
For: 7; Against: 0; Abstain:0

ACTION: Peter to implement on-line forms
ACTION: Debbie will give ideas her of how on-line forms could be
included in a prize draw
ACTION: [All] To discuss the details of prizes

4.6 Press Release

* To issue a press release to local papers
* To issue a national press release
* If approved to delegate drafting to the publicity SC or a volunteer

Larry thought it would be helpful to issue a press-release to try and
avoid the mistakes of previous years, eg. in regard to coverage of
Aspies for Freedom, and a BBC local news item in Somerset, and it
would raise awareness of Autscape to future funders. Yo expected that
a national release would be ignored, but if we made one, there would be 
accurate information available.

Debbie was worried that a press release would attract enough new
people that old-timers wouldn't be able to come. She would like a
local press release, but not a national one. Larry wanted a turnover
of people, not the same lot year after year.

Yo said that part of our remit is to widen access. A press release
would reach different people, eg. lower functioning people without
internet access.

Trish suggested a national one in the form of a write-up afterwards on
what we have done.

Peter said that a press release, if we wrote one, should be up on the web site.

The discussion failed to reach a conclusion.

ACTION:[All] Decide on list wether or not to do this, and if yes, to
write the press release.

4.7 Accommodation for Childcare providers

The committee voted to book provisional off site accommodation for the
childcare providers in case venue fills, and to delegate the Childcare
SC to do so.
For: 7; Against: 0; Abstain: 0

The committee voted for this to be done within the existing childcare
budget if possible and for the childcare sub to seek further approval
if additional funding is needed.
For: 7; Against: 0; Abstain: 0

We still need to decide on what "full" means.  Is it:
i)   full so that the maximum number of places is taken,
ii)  full so that all people who want single rooms get them, or
iii) full so that only people who need single rooms get them.

ACTION: [All] Discuss under what circumstances we would want childcare
providers to reside off-site.

4.8 To limit the number of children to ensure we can operate with only
    two childcare staff.

[Two staff can work with a maximum six babies (0-2), eight toddlers
(2-3) or ten over 3 year olds.]

Yo thought it incredibly unlikely that we would have more children
than this try to register.

The committee voted to not to accept registrations for children beyond
this limit without coming back to the committee for a decision on the
funding implications.
For: 7; Against: 0; Abstain: 0

4.9 Call for nominations

Larry pasted part of the call for nominations into the
channel. Unfortunately it was the wrong version.

The committee voted on all these points below as one item:
* To open the call for nominations as soon as possible
* For Larry to do this
* To hold the call open for a month
* To issue regular reminders to our membership
For: 7; Against: 0; Abstain: 0

The committee voted for Selina to send the reminders:
For: 6; Against: 0; Abstain: 0

4.10 Chat list moderation

The chat list needs a second moderator who can handle list subscriptions.
The committee approved Martijn for this, however, since he wasn't at the
meeting this is subject to his agreement.
For: 5; Against: 0; Abstain: 0

ACTION: Peter to check with Martijn and add him to the moderators for the chat

5.0 Other decisions

* Volunteer needed to co-ordinate Audio Visual
* Volunteer needed to make black circles. Robin?
* Volunteer needed to make interaction badges. Robin?
* Volunteer needed to make name badges.
* Volunteer needed to research and buy lanyards.
* Volunteer needed to buy notebooks and folders. Robin?
* Volunteer needed to organise printing of conference materials and
presentation handouts. Larry?

These items were not discussed because we ran out of time.

ACTION: [All] To decide who does each task

* To have insurance this year
* If approved, Larry to organise it

These items were not discussed because we ran out of time.

ACTION: [All] To decide on insurance

* To email the publicity brochure to our membership
* If approved, Selina to send the email

These items were not discussed because we ran out of time.

6.0 A.O.B.

Debbie had something regarding children but didn't want to discuss it
due to time pessure.

ACTION: Debbie to bring item up on list.

The meeting closed at 12:10.