Agenda for November 2013 meeting

Agenda for September 2013 board meeting revision 2

Meeting to be held at 2pm on Sunday 17th November at #autscape



 1. Ratifications: None

 2. Co-option:  This is the date Peter agreed to join the board and become treasurer.  

 3. Proposals: 

3.1 Formal programme: 

Here we have a proposal from Yo and an alternative proposal from Martijn.

Yo proposes

(1) To remove from the approach Autscape takes to the formal programme 
the assumption that all lecture-format presentations are best suited to 
plenary presentation and all workshop-format presentations are best 
suited to smaller concurrent programme slots and, instead, to consider 
when assigning accepted proposals to programme slots:

(a) the importance and bredth of appeal of the topic;
(b) an estimate of the largest manageable group size for that specific 
proposal taking the proposer's own opinion of this as the starting point.

(2) If (1) is passed, to ask the formal programme coordinator to report 
back to the board by the January meeting with details of how the 
practical changes necessary to implement this decision can be put in place.

Martijn's alternative proposal:

That the formal programme coordinator be required to submit a final draft of 
the formal programme schedule to the board for approval before finalising it. 

The rationale for both these proposals is in appendix A. 

3.2 Autscape's address:

Proposal: Autscape would ideally have a non-changabale address.  However 
finding one that meets all criteria is proving difficult.  Vote on how to 

a/ Use a PO box [changeable, any addressee, medium cost]
b/ Use a virtual street address service [fixed, restricted addressees, low cost]
c/ Use a virtual office [fixed, many addressees, very high cost]
d/ Use someone's home address [changeable, any addressee, free]
e/ As the treasurer receives most of the post (especially conference payments) 
the treasurer for that year decides which system suits them best.  

See Appendix B for a longer explanation of the options. 

3.3 Fidelity Insurance

Proposal: That Autscape extends its insurance cover to include fidelity insurance. 

See appendix C for details. 

3.4 Venue size

[Time permitting] Proposal:  The board makes a decision regarding the potential
size of the 2015 venue.  
This is needed so the research subcommittee knows what it is researching. 

a/ roughly the same capacity as 2013/2014 (up to around 100-110 residential) 

b/ increased in size as Autscape numbers are increasing year by year. 

Then if a/ is chosen nominate someone to draw up a proposal of how to allocate places year 
by year in a way that meets our aims.  (Volunteer(s): Debbie)

See Appendix D for more information. 

4. Role reports (if applicable)

4.1 Chair (Martijn)

4.2 Outgoing interim treasurer (Stephen)

4.3 Stand in company secretary for October - November (Yo)

4.4 Venue co-ordinator (Elaine)

4.5 Web systems (Martijn)

5. Sub committee, working group and any other reports (if applicable)

5.1 Formal Programme subcommittee (Martijn)

5.2 Alternative Programme subcommittee (Trish)

5.3 Research subcommittee (Debbie) 

5.4 Publicity subcommittee (Alastair)

5.5 Purchasing working group (Stephen?)

5.6 Anybody else. 

6. Space trip report

7. AOB

Closed part of meeting:

In accordance with policy decided in September 2013 items where the appointment or potential 
appointment of named individuals to any position is to be discussed are held in a closed 
meeting with no observers. 

8. Key positions to be filled

8.1  Appointment of fundraising subcommittee chair (Candidates: Liz)

8.2 Company secretary

   Alastair to report back on any progress made in finding a company secretary.

   If one is found, then vote as to whether to accept that person (subject to IRC interview?)

  If one not found vote how to continue


   a/ ask Yo to continue for another month or two (in which case a plan on how to proceed must be made)

   b/ ask Yo to continue for the rest of the year

   c/ ask treasurer to undertake the role

   d/ ask Kalen again to become interim comp secretary in spite of being Martijn's partner
          (subject to adopting a policy to deal with conflict of loyalty)

   e/ pay for the services

   f/ appoint from inside the board

   g/ give up searching and agree that company secretary tasks will be distributed between 
      current board members. 

9  AOB (for private part of meeting)

APPENDIX A [Item 3.1]

Yo writes: 

Rationale for item 3.1 (Formal Program): The current system tends to result in proposals with 
primarily academic content (which lend themselves to lecture-style presentation) ending up 
automatically in the prominent morning plenary slots and assumed to be attractive to everyone, 
even when the topic is really of very narrow appeal or the content is likely to be accessible 
only to those with a higher education background. More practical topics, on the other hand (which 
lend themselves to workshop-style presentation) are automatically funnelled into concurrent 
afternoon slots with the assumption that they are suitable for small numbers of people, even where 
the topic is of importance and/or broad appeal and even if the nature of a particular workshop 
means that it can feasibly be delivered to a large audience. This bias is built in to our current 
system and is IMO the main reason Autscape has been persistently perceived as 'very academic' and 
inaccessible to some.

Martijn writes: 

This proposal would give the board an opportunity to reject a schedule 
and send it back to the formal programme subcommittee, possibly 
including specific conditions for approving it.

It would give the board this power without a priori tying the hands of 
the programme coordinator to specific schedule limitations which may or 
may not be desirable or even possible to implement, depending on the 
proposals that come in.

APPENDIX B [Item 3.2]

Autscape's address.  

Factors considered - 

* Cost

* How the envelope is addressed. The part of the address that comes before Autscape on the envelope, 
that is the person / role named on the envelope.  If a person writes Stephen Miller, Autscape is that 
accepted by the service?  What if they put Stephen, Autscape  or Stephen (treasurer), Autscape, or 
Stephen Miler or Elaine or registrar or send a cheque to 'registrar or treasurer' etc.  This is called 
addressee in the proposal. 

* Keeping the address the same from year to year. 

* Types of mail accepted.

Paid for options in more detail:

1/  PO box address.  

Advantage: People can address their letters to anyone. 

Disadvantage: The address will change if we need to move service to a director living in a different 
part of the country. However as this would usually happen following an AGM we'd have some control over 
the situation and could move from one address to the second with some overlap and planning. 

Only accepts Royal Mail.

Cost:  203.50 or 253.00 pounds plus VAT for a year per PO box.  The more expensive option has the mail 
delivered to someone's address which has the advantage of a quicker turn around for receiving payment 
during registration. 

b/ go for a 'virtual street address'.  

Advantages: cheap, address is fixed and accepts all types of mail. We can redirect to a different 
director as we need without the address changing for our members. 

Disadvantage:  We need to fix the address line and know in advance what names people are likely to 
put on the envelope. Or we need to push strongly to encourage people to address their envelopes exactly 
as we tell them and not to assist us by putting a person's name on the front. 

While we would publish the addressee lines accepted on the website, we could find that those without 
internet access who maybe phone the information line and then decide to write for example are those 
who address their envelope to a non matching addressee and so we miss their post. 

A service we could consider if we use this option is:

£60 for the year including two mailing names, up to 100 pieces of post, which is redirected to us.  
£10 each for each extra mailing name.  (can pay an extra £20 for companies house)

Various service provides which in addition to the above include but are not limited to: offers 3 personal names and one company name.

c/ go for a 'virtual office' solution.  

Advantage multiple addressees and fixed address and accepts all types of post. 

Disadvantage - we pay heavily for this service. 
Not all virtual offices offer multiple names. 

Cost: looking at upwards of £1200 per year plus VAT 

d/ We go back to using an individual's address

Advantages:  People can put whatever they want before the "Autscape" line on the envelope. 

Disadvantages: Privacy. Address will change as directors retire or move house.  We have no control 
over what part of the year house moves happen. Royal mail won't redirect non individual named mail 
to new address. 

Cost: Free. 

APPENDIX C [item 3.3]

Yo writes: 

Our cover does NOT include fidelity insurance. This means that 
Autscape is not currently insured against fraud or theft by a trustee, 
director or officer of the company. I [Yo] would suggest that the board might 
want to consider extending the cover to include this insurance. 
Generally speaking it is one of the biggest risks any small charity 
faces and, particularly given our geographical spread resulting in most 
of us working in isolation, it would seem prudent to consider taking out 
cover against this risk.

APPENDIX D. [Item 3.4]

Debbie writes

"Why doesn't Autscape get bigger and provide places for more people?

Because we feel that if Autscape got very much bigger than it currently is, it wouldn't be very autistic friendly. "

This was written before Autscape grew in 2012 and again in 2013.  

In 2013 we didn't expect to fill and we did.  We hit a first come first served situation by accident. 

In 2010 we noticed earlier we were running out of places and put a policy in place then. (Briefly - we 
kept registration open, but instead of accepting the registrations we entered them into periodic place 
draws. There was a cost between uncertainty, giving people time to decide to register and people needing 
to book transport.)  

If we decide to keep the venues at their current size we are likely to fill again. We need a policy. 
Ideally this needs to be in place before registration opens and I suspect it will take more than one 
iteration before we are happy with it.  Such a policy needs to take into account our aims and our 
accessibility policy, our participants needs and the registrar's time. 

However if after the 2013 Autscape experience we feel we could maintain the autistic experience and 
grow, then we need to say this.