Agenda for April 2013 meeting

Agenda for April 2013 board meeting

Meeting to be held at 2pm on Sunday 21st April at 


Apologies received from Trish

1.      Request from the company secretary for directors to waive their 
right to formal notice of this meeting

2.      Ratification

2.1.   Our decision to set the professionals' fees for Autscape 2013 to
£210 (shared) / £250 (single/en-suite). (3 for, 0 against on list 

3.      Proposals

3.1.   Accountancy.

3.1.1.      The company secretary proposes that we increase the agreed 
budget for accountancy services to £700 (from £550 previously) [See Appendix 
A for rationale]

3.1.2.      The company secretary proposes that we rescind our previous
decision to not have an independent examination of the accounts.

3.2.   Programme proposals voting????

3.2.1.      Delegate scheduling programme. To whom?

3.3.   Day fees. The interim treasurer proposes the day fees set out in 
Appendix B.

3.4.   2014 venue.

3.4.1.      Venue and cost. The research subcommittee chair proposes that we 
book Belsey Bridge for Autscape 2014. (See closed Appendix C1 on board list 
for detailed cost information and Appendix C2 below for background and 

3.4.2.      Dates. If 2.2.1 is approved, the research subcommittee chair 
proposes that the board select either: (a) 4 - 7th Aug 2014; or (b) 11 - 
14th Aug 2014; as the dates for Autscape 2014. (Link to 2014 calendar in 
Appendix D for reference)

3.5.   Co-options (please vote for or against each potential co-optee)

3.5.1.      Rangesh Nallan (see 16/4/13 'Fw: #log' and 7/4/13 'Rangesh' 
thread for further information)

3.5.2.      Debbie Finucane (see 9/4/13 'Fw: Trustee' for further 

3.6.   Storage (detailed proposals to follow, see email on list 'Storage' 
21/3/13 for information about the issues)

4.      Follow-ups

4.1.   Submission of accounts/annual report by accountants and signing 
engagement letter inc. independent examination issue raised by Peter 

4.2.   Director recruitment (Yo)

4.3.   Insurance (In Feb meeting Stephen undertook to check the details of 
last year's provider with Peter and pass this information to the board list 
for Elaine to take forward. Has this happened?)

4.4.   Potential sponsorship offer (Martijn)

4.5.   Outstanding 2012-2013 minutes awaiting approval (Martijn)

4.6.   Collecting powerpoints/handouts from 2012 presenters (Trish)

4.7.   Amendment to gender question on registration form for equality 
reasons (Stephen)

4.8.   Appointing an onsite transport coordinator (Elaine) - deadline 22nd 

4.9.   Onsite team. Preliminary expressions of willingness/not to serve on 
onsite team, potential coordinator?, possible invitations to non-directors

4.10.                    Autreat/Autscape overlap possibilities (Martijn) - 
are we realistically going to be able to manage anything on this?

5.      Subcommittee progress reports

5.1.   Programme (Chair: Martijn)(proposal voting arrangements and summary 
of subcommittee comments on proposals, proposed invitations including 
progress on benefits adviser, assessment of whether there is an adequately 
strong programme in place or in prospect, other issues)

5.2.   Fundraising (Chair: Elaine) (fundraising strategy - deadline for 
presentation to the board in some form, assistance required, other issues)

5.3.   Research (Chair: Elaine)(childcare providers, transport providers, 
future potential venues - providing information to the board, any 
outstanding points on storage, other issues)

5.4.   Publications and publicity (Chair: Martijn)(poster/flyer, NAS 
directory, adverts in other publications, updating website text esp. from 
2012 to 2013 venue/fee/registration information, information pack, other 

5.5.   Purchasing working group (Coordinator: Stephen)

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

6.1.   Registrar (Kalen)(registration system, are we on course to open 
registration on 23rd April?)

6.2.   Venue Coordinator (Elaine)(matters arising, obtaining plan of fire 
doors, special diet discussion/draft menu)

6.3.   IT systems manager (Stephen)(handover, website updating - especially 
venue information prior to registration opening (Last month Martijn offered 
to find the Ackworth information and email it to Elaine for checking - has 
this happened?), registration system, anything else)

6.4.   Interim Treasurer (Stephen)(actions taken under delegated authority, 
paypal handover, are we ready to take payments from registration in all the 
likely forms?, handover progress, training needs - including consideration 
of how the current year's accounts are going to be compiled, contact with 
bank/accountants, anything else)

6.5.   Company Secretary (Yo)(bulletins, situation re 2010 and 2011 accounts 
from old organisation, follow ups from previously delegated actions, actions 
taken under delegated authority, outstanding issues)

6.6.   Chair (Martijn)(road map, actions taken under delegated authority, 
board functioning and communication, progress so far in 2012-2013 and next 

7.      Any other business


Rationale: Back in November 2012 we decided not to request an independent 
examination in order to save money. However interacting with the accountants 
it has become clear that they are in fact unwilling to provide us with 
accountancy services for less than £700, which is their standard fee 
including an independent examination. Consequently we may as well have the 
independent examination for the same price. The only alternative would be to 
shop around for cheaper accountancy services and my advice to the board as 
company secretary is that (a) it is unlikely we would be successful in 
securing cheaper services; and (b) the potential saving is not worth the 
demands of time and effort to try to find suitable alternative accountants 
and establish a working relationship with them. Yo

For reference "November 2012 minutes
2.1 Independent Examination. The board considered a proposal (deferred from
last month) not to have Autscape's accounts subjected to an independent
examination henceforth (see Appendix A). Some mild concerns were raised
about the potential for a negative reaction from some members, but there was
a consensus that the sum saved (£300-400) was significant enough to outweigh
the likelihood that a relatively small number of members may be less than
comfortable with the decision. The board noted, as last month, that an
independent examination is not a legal requirement for Autscape due to our
small size and that the process is largely redundant since Autscape's
accounts are, in any case, prepared by external accountants. The board also
noted the possibility of having an independent examination less frequently
that every year if that was felt to be of benefit and the importance of
explaining this decision to the membership in advance of queries being
raised. Yo volunteered to write the explanation and Martijn offered to
proofread and simplify. The board decided not to have Autscape's accounts
subjected to an independent examination henceforth (unless it becomes
legally necessary or the board sees fit) and to communicate an explanation
of this decision to the membership. (5 for, 0 against)"


Day fees proposed:

Adult Standard    £75 1 day / £150 2+ days
Adult Low cost  £65 1 day / £130 2+ days
Child standard  £60 1 day / £120 2+ days
Child low cost  £50 1 day / £100 2+ days
Child 0-4         £30 1 day / £60 2+ days
Professional   £90 1 day / £180 2+ days

1 day - £30
2 days - £60
3+ days - £90


We're charged GBP 30 per day compared to GBP 40 a day for full attendance,
so I've aimed at a reduction of GBP 30 for a 3 day attendance, based on the
corresponding residential fee for a shared room.

I have made the two day attendance be the same as three days, and the one
day attendance be half of that, as we have been doing for the past few

The result is that, for standard income adults at least, our day rates are
slightly lower than the day rates for the past two years.

The exceptions are:

Child 0-4: Unreduced. Whether the venue charges us for young children is
based on if the child needs a bed or not for overnight attendance, and I
have literally no clue how they'd do it for day attendance.

Carer: The cost isn't the same for 2 days as 3 days to allow us to charge
only what the venue is charging us.




I have been working extensively on venues recently with help from Debbie. A 
lot of the venues we had on the list have had to be eliminated for one 
reason or another after closer scrutiny. E.g. Sneaton Castle at Whitby has 
always looked promising. However, during a phone call, which also sounded 
promising it suddenly emerged that whilst we could have exclusive use of the 
living accommodation we could not have exclusive use of the conference rooms 
as they are used by various groups on a
regular basis throughout the week. As a result we are left with 2 familiar 
venues (Ackworth and Belsey Bridge) and 2 possible new venues, one of which 
Debbie is visiting (King's Park conference centre near Northampton) and one 
of which I am visiting (Cloverley Hall near Whitchurch). There are other 
possibilities but they have yet to be investigated fully and are not so easy 
to arrange a visit because of the
distance involved.

However, bearing in mind that at the September 2012 board meeting, item 
2.1.3, we had a discussion in which we were all keen to return to Belsey 
Bridge but were put off by the increased price quoted, I decided to call to 
see if I could negotiate a better price. Details of the response I got are 
available to the board in Appendix C1 on the board list but cannot be made 
public due to the commercial sensitivity of the financial information. 
Unfortunately they won't hold this offer open very long and I have to let 
them know next week if we are going to accept.

If the board decides to wait until the outcome of the planned venue visits 
before deciding it runs a very strong risk of losing Belsey Bridge. There is 
also no guarantee that the two planned venue visits will be successful and 
therefore we might be left with just Ackworth to choose from until other 
venue visits can be made. I also think it is worth considering that they 
might not offer us a good rate again should we turn them down. By choosing 
Belsey Bridge now this also takes the pressure off trying to find a venue 
for 2014 with such a small board and lots of other tasks. Hopefully the 
momentum started can continue but without the urgency to find us a new venue 
for 2015.