Minutes of May 2009 meeting

Autscape Management Committee Meeting Minutes

Date: Wednesday 13th May 2009

The meeting opened at 09:35.
Present: Trish, Peter, Selina, Yo, Martijn, Larry, with one observer.
Appologies were received from Debbie, who gave voting instructions to


The committee accepted the minutes of the previous meeting.
For: 5; Against: 0; Abstain 0


The committee voted on which proposals were to be accepted. The
accepted proposals were:

Ava-Ruth Baker: "Anxiety as our friend or foe in effective living on
the autism spectrum."

Dale Yaull Smith: "Girls on the Sprectrum."

Havina Harvinainen: "Success Stories in Self-Advocacy and Practical
Empowerment Advice"

Ian Jordan: "An introduction to how visual processing disorders
affects ASD for non-professionals."

Kalen: "Managing family life effectively."

Matthew Hawkins and Dinah Murray: "Effective Personal and Political
Action in a Mad World."

Nikola Woodbridge: "Artistic Autistics."

Olivia Clayton: "Not All In The Mind."

Perry Gwillim (invitee): Title to be announced, but will be about
autism and the police

Selina Postgate: "Clearer Goals, Brighter Future - using art to
explorer our dreams and ambitions."

Suzi Superglue: "Art workshop - recycling/jewelry/objectmaking."

Yo: "Using complaints to improve services."

The number of presentations was within the limit that the schedule permits.

Selina requested that we express our great regret that the Luminarium
presentation was turned down. This request was acknowledged.


3.1 To approve the new version of the "official description".  This is
an updated version (minor changes) of the previously adopted description.

The committee discussed the one particular phrase which caused Larry
consternation, indicated by stars below.

  All those involved in running Autscape are autistic. *Sometimes this
  means that Autscape functions less efficiently than the
  optimum.* However it also ensures that Autscape remains a genuinely
  grass-roots organisation run by and for its constituent group.

While everyone agreed that the statement was true, Larry felt that
this would be off-putting to potential donors. Yo felt that the
honesty had been appreciated by an actual donor.

The committee voted on accepting the new document, complete with the
line that caused consternation.
For: 3; Against: 3; Abstain: 0
The chairman used his casting vote against this proposal.

Yo pointed out that the existing document, which had been approved by
the committee, contained this phrase too. Larry wasn't happy with the
existing document and Yo suggested that he put forward a proposal to
desist using that document.

There was some disagreement about whether the vote against the new
version also counted as a vote against the existing version. The
matter was addressed in A.O.B.

3.2 To approve the Acceptable Use Policy for people with login access
to our new server.

The AUP was accepted.
For: 5; Against: 0; Abstain: 1

3.3 Behavour Policy which outlines under which circumstances
someone would be sked to leave the Autscape Conference.

The committee decided that it should write such a policy.
For: 5; Against: 0; Abstain: 1

The committee decided that Yo should write the policy
For: 5; Against: 0; Abstain: 1

Yo commented that because of other commitments on her time, she would
not be writing this policy until July, but she would attempt to have it
ready for approval before Autscape.

3.4 Sensory Equipment

The committee discussed the possibility of having sensory equipment at
this and future Autscapes. The discussion focused on the problems of
storage. Paying for storage is a continuing cost, and it would have to
be at a location convenient for somebody on the committee.  Storing
the equipment as somebody's house means that it takes up space, but
knowing that the equipment is not yours, you might not feel able to
use it. Larry said that paying a committee member to store the
equipment is not an option - that would go beyond a reasonable
expense. Yo said that we could pay them, but we'd need to weigh that
cost carefully against commercial options and could only choose a
committee member if that was the best/most economic choice for Autscape.
Larry will check the legal position regarding paying a committee member.

3.4.i That we buy start to buy our own sensory equipment for Autscape.
The equipment can be brought to Autscape year after year.

This was approved.
For: 5; Against: 1

3.4.ii That we have a budget of one thousand pounds for some this year
Note: The treasurer was absent from this meeting, however, he had
said by email that there was enough money available for this
purpose. The vote was carried out with the knowledge that some money
might be spent on storage.
For: 5; Against 1; Abstain: 0

3.4.iii Should we add a sensory room supplement to the fees.

In the meeting, we undersood this as being a supplement for sensory
_equipment_, but this point was supposed to be about the possiblity of 
hiring a "sensory room" for an additional fee.

We voted against having a supplement. The treasure had already
indicated on list that none was required.
For: 0; Against: 5; Abstain: 1

3.4.iv Decisions: Who will buy this this year and who will store it.
This was deferred to the list.

3.5 That the sum of  GBP 100 be made available from Autscape funds for
Selina to purchase a variety of stimmy toys for sale at the event
(to augment remaining stock from last year).

For: 6; Against: 0; Abstain:  1


4.1 Trish/Martijn: picture signs - are we using makaton or PCT?

Martijn apologised for lack of progress.

4.2 Martijn: Certificates of Attendance - are these going ahead?

They should be going ahead - Martijn has been in contact with Andre
and will check up on them after the meeting.

4.3 Larry: Chat list confidentiality email - are we going ahead with
this before the chat list becomes busy?

No progress. Larry says he needs to work on this soon.

4.4 Selina - anything to report on merchanise co-ordintaor

No progress yet.

4.5 Debbie/Peter Registration report

No progress. Registration now expected to open in two weeks' time (27th May).

4.6 Treasurer - Robin
[Robin was not at the meeting.]

4.7 Chair - Larry

Larry had given some thought to the change of signatories and wondered
if it was worth doing before the next AGM. Peter asked who the current
signatories are. Other than Yo and Robin, we don't know.


5.1 Publicity - Larry

The brochure is going well, but Larry had problems printing it. Yo
reported that it printed fine for her. Peter said he would also try printing it.

5.2 Venue - Peter

2009 - Example menus now sent off to Emmaus, along with a reminder that 
we have one person who needs to self-cater. Now awaiting a reply.

2010 - Peter has been in contact with Ammerdown, and it was clear that
they are an option if we want to go back.

Peter requested that somebody take venue 2010 off him. Trish said that
Phillipa was interested in getting involved, and Selina said that she
could take on venue 2010 if it was Ammerdown or Emmaus.

Ammerdown would be the easy option for 2010.

Yo asked if Emmaus was an option too. Peter replied that there was no
reason why not, but that he would be nervous about committing to a
second year in London when we don't know for sure the effect of the
location will have on the ratio of residential vs days-only people.

5.3 Tech - Debbie

Peter reported no progress on the registration system. 
[Debbie was not at the meeting so she didn't comment on surveys.]

5.4 Programme - Martijn

We know which are the officially accepted proposals, and now need to
start on the schedule. Martijn will post a proposed schedule to the
programme SC in the next two weeks or so.

Selina asked when we tell people their proposals have been
accepted. Martijn replied that this will be on on the 22nd and that he
will use the time until then to prepare the emails. Each one deserves
individual attention.

5.5 Child - Trish

The childcare SC is on the verge of a decision, but is still in
discussion about some issues. Trish is concerned that we will need a
deposit from Robin and he is not much in evidence. Larry has his phone
number if required.

5.6 Fundraising - Yo

Larry has posted a report to the fundraising SC on his recent
attendance at a conference on fundraising. Other than that no progress
due to lack of Yo's time.

Yo invited anyone else with the skills, time and energy to help her
on fundraising.

5.7 Constitution - Yo

Since the last meeting we have sent out comments and suggestions
regarding objects to our solicitor [this is the key bit of our
constitution which sets out what our aims are but has to fit into the
legal definition of 'charitable']. We've now (only just) received a
first real draft of our objects section from our solicitor. We will
now discuss this and send further comments back to our solicitor. I am
hopeful that this process will result in a final draft of this section
being ready for approval by the main committee soon (perhaps by the
next meeting).


Yo made the following proposal, which was originally raised on list.

"Any committee member who asks others to comment on a document or vote 
on the website should include a link to the appropriate location in the 
email making the request and any subsequent reminders. If a committee member 
has difficulty remembering to do so they should ask for assistance or ask 
that another committee member posts such requests."

The context for this is that there was a problem with being able to
find the relevant information to make a decision on list. It was no
good being reminded to vote on something if you then couldn't find the
information that you needed for that vote.

Peter quoted from Debbie's notes for the meeting: "I am happy to aim
to always include links and things in posts, but not to say they will
be included."

Peter made the following counter-proposal:

"Whenever a vote (or other event with a deadline) is to be carried out
on list, at least one formal reminder should be sent to the list with
the complete information required to participate in the vote."

Yo asked whose responsibiltiy would it be to do this, suggesting that
it should be the responsibility of whoever called the vote or for
comments (though they can delegate the responsibility).

Peter agreed, but set a medium-term aim of getting the reminder to be
sent automatically by computer.

Trish asked how would this work on subcommittees. Peter answered that
each subcommittee is different and it's up to the chair of the SC how
it works. His proposal was about the main committee only.

Yo accepted Peter's counter-proposal, with the proviso that this issue
may need to be revisited if we find people are still excluded. 

The committee voted on Peter's proposal.
For: 3; Against: 0; Abstain: 0

The committee revisited the issue of the official description and made
two decisions:
1) To defer discussion of the new version of the official description
For: 4; Against: 1; Abstain: 1
2) To rescind the current version of the the official description.
For: 1; Against: 5; Abstain: 1

To clarify a matter of procedure, the committee voted to state that a
decision of the committee can only be revoked by a futher quorate
decision of the committee.
For: 5; Against: 1; Abstain: 0

Finally, the committee voted on whose address should be in the
publicity brochure. There are two candidates - the registrar's address
and the treasurer's address. 

Peter argued that it would be helpful to have the registrar's address
on the brochure so that the registrations submitted on paper could be
processed promptly.

The committee voted on using the registrar's address:
For: 6; Against: 0

The meeting closed at 12:32.