Minutes of September 2013 meeting

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

Meeting date: Sunday 15th September 2013

Meeting time: 2.00pm BST

Meeting Chair: Martijn

Present:  Alastair, Stephen, Martijn, Trish, Elaine (late)

Apologies: Debbie, Liz, Yo

1.  Ratifications

    The board ratified its decisions to:

1.1.  Hold board meetings on the 3rd Sunday of the month at 2pm for the
      2013-2014 year. (6 for, 0 against, on list 28/09/13-29/09/13)

1.2.  Endorse, as an Autscape event, a visit to the SPACE multisensory
      centre in Preston, Lancashire, organised by Kalen as described by her
      in her message dated Thu, 15 Aug 2013 (5 for, 0 against, on list

2.  Proposals

2.1.  Closed sections of board meetings.
      The company secretary proposed that we set a default of closing any
      section of a board meeting in which the appointment or potential
      appointment of named individuals to any position is to be discussed.
      [The board is, of course, free to decide to vary this in any
      particular instance if they decide to do so.] [See Appendix A for
      background and rationale.]
      There followed some discussion regarding the directors' ability to have
      a frank discussion in an open meeting about persons and their
      abilities and whether the general membership needed to know everything
      about directors in order to make informed choices prior to electing
      them. It was pointed out that we moved the election of committee
      members to specific roles from the membership to the board because we
      didn't feel that the members had enough information to make informed
      choices about the relative strengths and weaknesses of candidates.
      However, this proposal was not about suitability in roles but
      suitability as a director and some felt that the board should be
      subject to more scrutiny than general members and transparency was
      important in this issue. Others felt that anything that has the
      potential to damage the reputation of a director should not be held in
      public if it could be avoided because this could have far reaching
      consequences for that person, especially if it is later discovered to
      be unfounded.
      The board decided to implement the proposal (3 for, 2 against).

2.2.  Trip to SPACE budget.
      For the trip to SPACE multi-sensory centre in Preston, Lancashire,
      Kalen requested a budget of up to £120 to book the room (£80) and, if
      necessary, shared transport from the nearest railway station. She
      informed us that all money spent should be recovered through fees paid
      by those attending, but if the activity is undersubscribed there could
      be some loss. Following some discussion it was noted £120 was a
      reasonable risk and that this fits well with the kind of events we had
      talked about at the AGM.
      The board approved the requested budget (4 for, 0 against).

3.  Follow ups

3.1.  Review of experience list and consideration of guidelines.
      The chair pointed out that the experience list had not been used very
      much, but then again, being lower volume than the chat list was the
      main reason for it. The list does not have guidelines at the moment
      though it could have guidelines similar to those of the Chat list with
      an added clause that discussions need to be on topic and limited in
      volume. It was generally felt that this should be a low volume list
      with topics relating directly to Autscape and that drawing up some
      guidelines and promoting the list might help. Martijn agreed to write
      up some guidelines and Trish said she would help to get the list going
      once they are done.

The next part of the meeting was closed to the members.

3.2.  Options for a permanent treasurer.
      The board discussed possible options for a permanent treasurer, such
      as advertising again or approaching people. Given the problems with
      advertising last time the board was reluctant to take this route and
      nobody could think of anybody to approach at the present time. It was
      also noted that Peter Benie had made it known that he was willing to
      come back as Treasurer. After further discussion the Chair proposed
      that we co-opt Peter Benie to the board for the post of Treasurer. (5
      For, 0 Against).

3.3.  Appointing a company secretary.
      The board discussed possible options for a new company secretary. They
      looked at splitting the role into Company Secretary and
      Minutes/Letters secretary and the option of paying for legal advice.
      It was also suggested we ask Kalen who had indicated that she was
      willing to take on the role. The discussion was deferred to list.

4.  Roles and responsibilities (additional candidates are welcome to
    state their interest before or during the meeting) to take effect

4.1.  Chair (Last year: Martijn)
      Candidates: Martijn
      There were no other candidates and no objections.
      Martijn was elected Chair.

4.2.  Vice Chair (Last year: Elaine)
      Candidates: Elaine
      There were no other candidates and no objections. 
      Elaine was elected vice-chair.

4.3.  Web systems (Last year: Stephen)
      Candidates: Martijn
      There were no other candidates and no objections.
      Martijn was elected for the Web Systems maintenance role.

4.4.  Interim treasurer (Last year: Stephen)
      Candidates: Stephen
      There were no other candidates and no objections.
      Stephen was elected Interim Treasurer.

4.5.  Venue coordinator 2014 Belsey Bridge (Last year: Elaine)
      Candidates: Elaine
      There were no other candidates and no objections.
      Elaine was elected Venue co-ordinator.

The meeting was reopened to the members.

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

5.1.  2012-2013 Registrar (outstanding issues from Autscape 2013)
      The registrar was unable to provide a report until the next meeting.

5.2.  2012-2013 Venue coordinator (outstanding issues from Autscape
      conference 2013)
      The venue coordinator was not aware of anything outstanding.

5.3.  Webmaster (outstanding issues)
      Stephen said that the filesystem the mailman server runs got to 100%,
      Peter fixed the problem and he and Martijn added his instructions on
      how to fix it to our relevant technical documents folders. Martijn
      said he was continuing to work on incrementally updating/improving the
      website and he was learning more about the system. It would also help
      if he could find the time to learn about three other programming
      languages, though (Perl, XSL and SQL) because until then we'll
      continue to significantly depend on Peter.

5.4.  Interim Treasurer (actions taken under delegated authority, accounts,
      outstanding issues)
      The interim Treasurer said he needed to catch up on the paper work
      along with some organiser rebates and expense claims and apologised if
      people were still waiting for one. We've sent off cheques for our
      invoices to our transport provider, our creche provider and Ackworth
      School but we're still waiting for the second invoice for our
      insurance (We paid an invoice for the previously agreed policy so that
      it didn't become bad debt, we're waiting for the invoice for the
      second along with the relevant credit note for the old policy, to come
      through). Elaine agreed to chase this up. Peter submitted the 2012 Tax
      return which was due by the 30th of September. He has strongly advised
      me that we register now to input the 2013 tax return, since
      registering can take a while and can be nerve wracking if a deadline
      is looming. He said he will get onto this as soon as he has caught up
      with other outstanding treasurer jobs. He asked if somebody would
      remind him in two weeks and Elaine agreed.

5.5.  Company Secretary (actions taken under delegated authority,
      outstanding issues from AGM, retirement issues)
      There was no report due to the absence of the Company secretary.

5.6.  Chair (actions taken under delegated authority, outstanding issues).
      The chair had nothing to report but asked for a volunteer to do the
      minutes. Trish volunteered with Elaine to take over if they were not
      completed within the week.

6.  Other business

6.1.  Stephen gave a report on our PO Box which is currently being tied to a
      single address. He suggested that this wasn't ideal as the person
      responsible for that address could leave or not be in an
      administrative role. He suggested more research into
      non-geographically tied PO boxes would need to be done to change this.
      He asked if the research sub-committee could look into this. He also
      suggested that when the PO Box expires in March we get one for 6
      months rather than 12 months as this would be nearer to the time the
      board changes and reduce the amount of time a non board member may be
      responsible for mail. Additionally, he gave advanced warning that when
      our PO box expires, whatever the length we get a new one for, he won't
      be able to be the tied addressee. The chair said he would start a list
      discussion regarding the PO Box.

Meeting closed 4pm.