Minutes of June 2010 meeting

Autscape Management Committee Meeting Minutes
Meeting date: Saturday 19th June 2010       Meeting time: 3pm

Present: Martijn, Kalen, Peter, Debbie, Yo. Apologies: Trish, Dave.

1                   Approvals

1.1.            Minutes of May meeting - approved.

1.2.            Treasurer's report on the reserves (appendix A) - approved

1.3.            Proposed merchandise agreement - there was general agreement 
that the details of this need further work and the issue was referred back 
to the committee list.

2                   Proposals

2.1.            The committee approved a proposal [in line with Autscape's 
general policy on the storage of documents] that, with immediate effect, 
that copies of the insurance documents and such records as may be required 
by the insurer to demonstrate that the conditions for the policy are being 
honoured shall be held by the secretary, as well as on-line in the committee 
files area.

2.2.            The committee unanimously approved a proposal that, from 
2010/2011 onwards, the secretary shall have responsibility for checking that 
appropriate insurance is in
place for Autscape and that all conditions of that insurance are met, but 
may delegate tasks as necessary. The committee decided that this should be 
added to the secretary's job description.

2.3.            The committee decided that Autscape should submit the final 
draft of the Memorandum & Articles of Association to the Charity Commission 
for their approval and, subject to that approval, adopt these as 
the governing documents of The Autscape Organisation. This decision is the 
culmination of detailed work by sc-cons and our solicitor developing 
governing documents suited to Autscape's particular needs. It is a crucial 
step towards becoming a registered charity and will now allow Autscape to 
move forward with its application.

2.4.            The committee decided, in view of the recent government 
announcement, to put on hold doing anything about the Vetting and Barring 
Scheme (Independent Safeguarding Authority) until details of the new scheme 
are announced.

3                   Reports and follow-ups

3.1.            The committee decided to delegate Peter to obtain a quote 
for directors'
indemnity insurance and report back to the committee.

3.2.            There was a brief discussion about the fact that advice from 
insurance brokers/companies is unlikely to be impartial. Yo pointed out that 
an enquiry does not commit Autscape to anything and may make us aware of 
potential areas of insurance which we hadn't considered previously. 
Following this discussion, the committee agreed to delegate Peter to obtain 
advice from an insurance broker as to what other types of insurance we might 
require and report back to the committee. [During this item it was also 
commented that there is a need in future to ensure that proxy votes are 
completely unambiguous]

3.3.            The committee agreed to delegate Peter to write a Health and 
Safety Policy in time for approval at the next committee meeting. Peter 
noted that this is required by the conditions of our insurance but is also a 
good idea generally.

3.4.            The committee decided to delegate the Treasurer to prepare a 
budget for 'optional' items according to priorities indicated by the 
committee. (The chair undertook to make the list and priorities available to 
the Treasurer by 25 June.)

3.5.            To delegate to the transport working group assistance in 
arrangement of transport for those staying off-site.

4                   Subcommittee progress reports

4.1.            Sc-venue. Peter reported that he has looked at the cost of a 
Cambridge college and got prices various prices, but mostly quite high and 
that Debbie had asked Cambridge Conference (which is an organisation that 
arranges conferences), but
isn't hopeful of a sensible price. Kalen reported that boarding schools look 
promising and apologised for not having yet made a coherent report about the 
Quaker ones she has investigated. She considers that some of them may well 
be possibilities but that visits would be needed to be sure. Yo raised the 
concern that we need to be booking a 2011 venue soon but appear to be quite 
a long way from being ready to do so. Debbie suggested getting pencilled in 
at Ammerdown as a contingency plan. Kalen confirmed that dates do not have 
to be Tue-Fri and that we would be willing to drop the exclusive use 
requirement if necessary in a larger venue. Peter agreed to ask Ammerdown 
about their availability and report back to sc-venue.

4.2.            Sc-tech. Peter had nothing to report, but sc-tech was again 
asked by the chair to investigate wireless access restrictions and what has 
been done about that in the past at this venue.

4.3.            Sc-pub. Peter reported that there has been no progress on 
the business card (which has been delegated to him on sc-pub) and expressed 
his intention to use Kalen's phone number on the card. Yo reported that she 
has overlooked the information pack to this point (owing to never having 
done it before) and apologised. She promised to get on it immediately but 
requested help from those who have experience doing it. Kalen commented that 
it should only need minimal updating.

4.4.            Sc-cons. Yo reported that, now that the M & A is done, 
sc-cons will need to get onto developing the necessary policies around 
elections etc. Sc-cons will do this asap but it is likely to take time 
(probably beyond this Autscape) to finish entirely as some of the issues are 
complicated and contentious. Sc-cons will bring policies to the committee 
for approval as they're written. The Chair thanked Yo for getting the M & A 
done and asked about timescales and the next steps. Yo responded that our 
application will be submitted very soon but the Charity Commission is 
expected to take several months. Yo will double check whether there are any 
other steps outstanding.

4.5.            Sc-fund. No report due to lack of sc chair. There was some 
discussion. Debbie expressed the hope that some encouragement might 
stimulate activity. Yo expressed the opinion that little was likely to 
happen without a chair to take responsibility.

4.6.            Sc-child. Childcare booked under budget.

4.7.            Sc-prog. Martijn reported that the programme is pretty much 
ready. No one had
specific comments about the latest draft. Martijn checked that the Programme 
SC has the authorization to finalize details (e.g. moving presentations to 
another timeslot if that should become necessary) without the need of main 
committee approval and this was confirmed by the Chair.

4.8.            Transport Working Group. Regarding the Friday, Debbie 
reported that both a coach and taxis had been considered but there is little 
price difference and large taxis would be far more convenient. It is 
intended to set up an account with a taxi company. Arrangements for the 
Tuesday are still in the process of being sorted out.

5                   Key position progress reports

5.1.            Venue coordinator. Peter reported that the venue has been 
asked about swimming pool and other contributions, but he has not yet 
followed that up by phone. In the interests of goodwill, he has agreed to 
allow a community group (who will not be exiting through the venue) to use 
the Upper Dovecote on Tuesday, finishing before our orientation session. 
Kalen noted that we will need to find an alternative location for organiser 
stuff for a few hours.

5.2.            Registrar. Debbie reported that the parent of a minor has 
provided the letter requested by us confirming that an accompanying adult 
can act in loco parentis and Peter confirmed the venue are happy with the 
situation. Debbie reported that she is asking people in the queue for phone 
numbers because if we get a last minute place she will not have time to 
correspond by email. Debbie expressed concern about a particular instance of 
non-payment and there was a brief discussion of Autscape's past experience 
with this participant and the different situation this year because of the 
pressure on places. It was agreed that all reasonable efforts would be made 
to alert the person that their place is in jeopardy including seeking to 
make contact with the participant or a support person by phone. However it 
was also agreed that ultimately we have a responsibility to make a place 
open to someone in the queue if a participant persists in non-payment 
combined with absence of contact.

5.3.            Treasurer. Peter reported that he has been working through 
all the accounts
trying to reconcile the published accounts with the recorded receipts and 
payments. He has put together a system for recording income on an accruals 
basis which we'll need for when we become a company. He has also written an 
email to an accountancy firm that specialises in charities and non-profit 
organisations. Peter confirmed that we now have internet access to the bank 
account and recommended that, in view of the length of time involved in 
setting this up, that the other two signatories get signed up even if they 
never intend to access it. Kalen queried whether this was sensible at this 
point in the Autscape year (given the uncertainties of committee membership 
next year). Peter requested that the other signatories go ahead anyway, 
pointing out that it maximises the chances that someone on the committee 
will have access. Yo asked Peter to email instructions for doing this. Peter 
also reported that PayPal have removed the erroneous block on the primary 
bank account and that he has a new PayPal account for which our identity, 
address and status have already been verified. This just needs a direct 
debit form completing (which Yo confirmed is in process).

5.4.            Secretary. Yo reported that unfortunately, as previously 
posted to the list, Interchange legal services are closing. She expressed 
the opinion that this is not good news for Autscape as Interchange were the 
only subsidised charity-specific service available. Yo reported that our 
current solicitor is hoping to set up on his own, but it is likely he would 
have to charge market rates. Yo undertook to keep the committee posted and 
explore options (as far as they exist) for future legal advice.

5.5.            Chair. Nothing to report.

6                   Any other business

6.1.            Peter pointed out that all job descriptions need to be 
reviewed in the light of the change to a charitable company. Yo undertook to 
carry out this review but was unable to immediately estimate how long it 
would take. Kalen asked Yo to do so on the list asap, in the hope that 
revised job descriptions can be available to this year's nominees. This 
prompted a brief discussion of the new responsibilities which will fall on 
us as directors following Autscape's transition to a charitable company. Yo 
undertook to repost information about this to the list.

6.2.            Yo thanked Peter for all his work on the accounts and 
commented that she is now much happier about the charitable company 
transition on this front.

6.3.            Peter asked for clarification on the timing of the 
incorporation (because of the effect on our financial year). Yo stated that 
this was likely to be approximately 2 weeks from now but undertook to check 
that with the solicitor.

Meeting closed.

Appendix A

A certain amount of money is retained by Autscape as 'reserved funds'.

The reserves mainly exist to cover the venue deposits, which are
payable before we have any income for an event. The reserves also
serve to protect against a shortfall in income which may result from
failing to predict the demographics of the participants at an event,
and they may be needed to cover unforeseen operational costs.

Even assuming no growth, the venue deposit is be up to 25% of the
accommodation cost for Autscape, which is up to GBP 2500 depending on
the venue. This is the minimum safe level of reserves - if the
reserves fall below that, we have to raise funds before we can put
on an another event.

In practice, we may have to pay a deposit for the following event
before we have had any income from the current event and consequently
maintaining reserves at twice the venue deposit. [1]

We need a safe margin, say GBP 500, above this level for unexpected costs.
This makes the upper threshold for the reserves GBP 5500. [2]

After Autscape 2009, we had GBP 7785 available. GBP 2000 [3] was
designated for solicitor and for company secretary training, leaving
the reserves at GBP 5785.

The fees for Autscape 2010 were designed to accrue no funds, but now look
set to do so as expenditure on childcare has been less than budgeted.

Provided that the actual income matches the forecast, we can expect
the reserves to be GBP 1035 above the upper target. This excess is
available for charitable activities, eg. sensory equipment, reducing
next year's fees, etc.

[1] If we can get registration open early every year, that solves the
    venue deposit cashflow problem and means we can reduce the
    reserves by GBP 2500. We aren't in a position to guarantee that yet.

[2] That figure is chosen arbitrarily as a value that feels about
    right. I'll try and come up with a figure that has a
    justification, but I can't promise to do so before the next
    committee meeting.

[3] This is based on the original designation of ~GBP 2500, of which
    ~GBP 500 was spent in financial year 2008/09. Now that most of the
    legal work has been done, it may be possible to give a more
    accurate figure, which in turn affects the reserves.