Minutes of June 2012 meeting

Minutes of meeting of the Board of directors of The Autscape Organisation

Meeting date: Sunday 3rd June 2012

Meeting time: 2.00pm BST

Meeting Chair: Martijn

Present:  Debbie, Elaine, Kalen, Martijn, Peter, Stephen, Trish and Yo

1.      Ratifications

1.1.   The board ratified its decision to move both dates in the
cancellation policy two weeks earlier, ie. from 16th and 30th June to 2nd
and 16th June. (decision made on list on 11/05/12) (Unanimous)

1.2.   The board ratified its decision to request information about
additional special needs (such as special diets, wheelchair access etc.)
by 16th June. (decision made on list on 11/05/12) (7 for, 0 against)

2.      Proposals

2.1.   Recruitment and retention. The board asked the company secretary to
prepare as a matter of urgency a report on recruitment options including a
plan for the future recruitment of new directors with needed skills and to
have the report available for consideration at the July board meeting.
(See notes in Appendix A)

2.2.   New email list. After some discussion about the proposal for a new
email list which considered whether there was really a need for it and
what resources would be required, the board decided

2.2.1.      to set up a new email list (provisionally called
'Autscape-experience') for the discussion of matters directly relevant to
attendance at the Autscape conference only. The announcement will make
clear that the new list is to be low volume and that those who can't
follow this will be initially sent reminders and then moderated. If it
proves necessary, technical measures will be taken to cap the volume of
posts by individuals. The chat list will remain and individuals who wish
to discuss broader issues at length will be able to continue to do so
there. (See rationale in Appendix B.) (5 for, 1 against)

2.2.2.      to appoint Yo and Trish as moderators. (nem con)

2.3.   Organiser hats. Some directors expressed concerns that the proposed
quantity was too high and raised issues of cost and storage. Following
some discussion the board decided to authorise the purchasing coordinator
to spend a
maximum of £101 on organiser hats and delegate him to make a decision on
how many to order. The board advised him to consult further on the list
before deciding the appropriate number to order. (7 for, 0 against)

3.      Follow ups

3.1.   Purchase/transfer of autscape domains (Peter). Peter reported that
he had so far been unable to action this due to lack of time and will not
be able to do so until after this year's Autscape conference.

3.2.   Echo feasibility report (Kalen). Kalen reported that this is not
yet complete but that she hopes to have it ready by July.

3.3.   Draft chat list guidance (Martijn). Martijn reported that he has
made no progress with this task and it is also likely to be after the
Autscape conference.

3.4.   Childcare booking (Elaine). Elaine reported that the childcare is
provisionally booked but that times remain to be confirmed and that she
needs to know the venue's position on the possibility of a bouncy castle.
The treasurer requested evidence of the contract and its terms for the

3.5.   Insurance (Peter/Yo). Peter reported that he has yet to arrange the
insurance and requested information on activities (such as bouncy
castles). He stated that he is assuming that we are having swimming, and
that there
won't be a lifeguard. A deadline of Monday 18th June was set for directors
to provide information on activities to Peter for insurance purposes.

4.      Subcommittee progress reports (suggested topics in brackets)

4.1.   Formal programme subcommittee (confirmation from invitees,
finalisation and publication of schedule) Chair: Kalen. Kalen reported
that all invitees have confirmed. She confirmed that the schedule is
basically done, but she still needs to run it past the afternoon
presenters first and that the alternative programme can't be done until
she has more information about what is included. She reported that she is
now working on sorting activities into rooms.

4.2.   Alternative programme subcommittee (leisure activities, alternative
programme intentions, liaison regarding scheduling) Chair: Trish. Trish
reported that offers and suggestions have been slow but she intends to try
get a reminder to the chat list over next few days. She thanked Debbie who
has helped her to keep it running where necessary. She reported that she
is likely to be unavailable for a few days from the Friday following the
meeting onwards.

4.3.   Fundraising subcommittee (fundraising strategy) Chair: Elaine.
Elaine reported that she has put together the strategy but she needs to
run things past the company secretary which she hasn't yet had time to do.
Peter reported that Virgin Money Giving have sent on the form for varying
the Gift Aid authority to HMRC. We are now waiting for HMRC to acknowledge
the change request and then we'll be able to start using Virgin's service.

4.4.   Research subcommittee (transport research progress, venue research
progress) Chair: Debbie. Debbie reported that the travel pages have been
completed. Peter is in the midst of contacting venues, some need to be
phoned a second time, some are engaging with us and some are full.  For
Peter it continues to be a work in progress. In response to a question,
Debbie reported that July would be the earliest that we can hope to make a
decision on a 2013 venue.

4.5.   Publications and publicity subcommittee (website wording, poster
production and distribution and publicity generally, generic description)
Chair: Martijn. Martijn reported no progress on website wording. On poster
production and publicity generally he reported that he is in the middle of
printing posters for the Autism Show which is held on 15 and 16 June. LARM
has volunteered to distribute them and some individuals have also
volunteered to take flyers and
posters so he will be mailing them to the volunteers. He reported no
progress on the generic description. The highest priority now is the
information pack, on which I will get started this week.). Peter queried
responsibility for website updating. The company secretary responded that
the issue has previously been decided by the board and undertook to look
up the answer and post on the board list asap.

4.6.   Working group reports (if any) (Echo - Kalen, Newsletter - Stephen,
Purchasing - Stephen, Tech - Stephen)

4.6.1.      Echo - see 3.2.

4.6.2.      Tech - Stephen had nothing to report.

4.6.3.      Purchasing - Stephen reported that merchandise purchasing
progresses steadily; pens have been ordered. He has looked for quotes for
printing, but need to actually have the files before I can finish sorting
printing out, so not much progress can be made on that for a while. He
still needs to e-mail Peter about lanyards. Debbie provided some
additional information about the lanyards currently in stock. Hats see
2.3. Trish reported that the alternative programme subcommittee is still
deciding about glow
sticks and how many we provide / people buying their own

4.6.4.      Newsletter - Stephen reported that a brief call for items went
out in the member bulletin, with the address of newsletter@autscape.org
(Thanks to Yo for sorting that out). Nothing has come through from that as
of yet. Kalen suggested that it may be necessary to invite people
specifically to
write something for it. There was a brief exchange about updating the
email addresses which receive mail from the newsletter@ address.

5.      Key position progress reports (matters not covered earlier)

5.1.   Webmaster (updating website, registration system, questionnaires)
Peter reported that he has brought most of the minutes up to date. He
commented that there is one he is not sure about and hasn't published. The
meeting chair asked the company secretary to find time to look at that.
She responded that she will do so when Peter communicates with her about
whatever he isn't sure

5.2.   Registrar (registrations so far and issues arising) Debbie reported
that we've about 70 residential booked. There are the usual things for
this time of registration occurring such as late payment reminders, the
odd cancellation, payment plans not going smoothly and some people wanting
to come for one day waiting for the schedule. She commented on some issues
around presenters registering and Kalen asked Debbie to email her a list.

5.3.   Venue coordinator 2012 (planned venue visits, venue information for
info pack, coordination with programme coordinator on use of rooms).
Stephen reported that he has been liaising with the venue and intends to
start talking to them about the general menu on Wednesday. He reported
coordinating with the venue coordinator over use of rooms. He acknowledged
the need to get the venue information for info pack sorted asap and hopes
to do so in the next couple of days.

5.4.   Treasurer (registration as a charity for tax purposes, actions
taken under delegated authority, insurance, virginmoneygiving, bank
account, HMRC, accounting advice). Peter reported that he has tried to
follow up with PayPal about the charity rate. They claim to be still doing
their due diligence. Hopefully making the enquiry will have pushed them
along, but since he didn't get to speak to a person, it's hard to be sure.
The effect is that we are still on the 3.4% standard rate. Peter queried
whether the vice treasurer has received internet banking login details and
asked him to check. In response to a query, Peter reported that Autscape
has received notification from HMRC that our application to be treated as
a charity for tax purposes was accepted

5.5.   Company Secretary (actions taken under delegated authority, PVSL,
info@ guidance, policies and job descriptions, files, postholding,
recruitment and retention issues, AGM and nominations) Yo reported that he
has still had no response from the PVSL people so she needs to follow that
up. Peter contributed that the PVSL licence has been sent to the venue who
are forwarding it to Autscape. Yo also reported that she needs to think
about a temporary event notice for this year. She stated that she is
seriously concerned about recruitment and retention issues (hence her
proposal in 2.1). She is now focussing mainly on preparing for the AGM (in
addition to the onsite team preparations) but at least the AGM shouldn't
be unduly complicated this year.

5.6.   Chair (actions taken under delegated authority, general progress,
board communication, any other matters) Kalen had nothing to report due to
her recent return from maternity leave.

6.      There was no other business

Meeting closed 15:52.


To this point Autscape has recruited directors informally (and largely by
means of volunteers) from amongst the Autscape beneficiary community. For
some time Autscape has been overly dependent on the skills of a small
number of individuals and now faces a likely skill shortage as a
consequence of retirements of long serving members of the board. To
address this, the proposal envisages an active and more formal recruitment
process, probably including seeking potential trustees with relevant
skills from beyond the Autscape beneficiary community. The proposed report
will include consideration of:

 a.. the implications of such recruitment for the majority autistic
make-up of the Autscape board and how this can be protected;
 b.. the sustainability or otherwise of current overlap between governance
and management with Autscape's organisational structure and potential