Minutes of November 2013 meeting

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

Meeting date: Sunday 17th November 2013

Meeting time: 2.00pm GMT

Meeting Chair: Martijn

Present: Alastair, Debbie, Elaine, Liz, Martijn, Peter, Stephen, Trish and Yo

Apologies: None

1.  Ratifications

2.  Co-option

Peter was co-opted onto the board with immediate effect.

(At this point, Peter joins the board meeting)

3.  Proposals

3.1.  Formal Programme:

(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 breath 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.
The rationale for this change is in appendix A.

There followed a lively debate and the results were inconclusive with
discussion deferred to list.

(Yo left the meeting during this item.)

Meeting adjourned for break at 15:03
Meeting re-opened at 15:11

Present: Alastair, Debbie, Elaine, Liz, Martijn, Peter, Stephen and Trish

3.2. Autscape's address. The board considered a proposal that Autscape would
ideally have a non-changable address. However finding one that meets all
criteria is proving difficulty. Vote on how to proceed. Five options were
presented to the board.
a/ Use a PO box [changeable, any addressee, medium cost]
b/ Use a virtual street address service [fixed, restricted addressees, low
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
the treasurer for that year decides which system suits them best.
(See Appendix B)

A discussion of the nature and quantity of the post Autscape recieves, how
people address said post, how companies specifying quantities of addressees
would handle incorrectly addressed post, and if there were ways of making
it so that Autscape could be an addressee with said companies while people
could pre-empt Autscape as said addressee with a name or post. Issues
relating to director privacy was also raised. How urgent the matter was was
questioned, and it was concluded that it was pretty urgent.

The board voted on an amendment to proposal b; for Debbie to contact the
company listed in b/, get an exact idea of what they will do if post comes
to "random string", Autscape, the address and then go to the board with
that information.

Option b was chosen (8 for) as amended by Debbie.

3.3. Fidelity Insurance. The board considered a proposal that Autscape
extends its insurance cover to include fidelity insurance. It was estimated
that the cost would come to about one member's non-venue fee, per anum, and
it was noted that Autscape's guarantee by limit and that limit is 1 GBP.
Questions about the safeguards Autscape has in place was raised, it was
pointed out that Autscape handles only tiny amounts of cash, and that
Autscape's only asset of note is its bank account, which already has
safeguards in place and an audit trail if fraudulent payments do happen. It
was decided to defer this proposal to the list, and the request was made
for Peter to make sure said list discussion happens.

3.4. Venue size. Since it was marked as time permitted, this was deferred
until next meeting.

4.  Role Reports

4.1. Chair. Martijn had nothing to report.

4.2. Outgoing interim treasurer. Stephen reported that this month we paid a
£100 penalty fee for late submission [of our tax return], part authorised by
Yo, using our designated authority. This was on account of a misreading on
how to file a NIL tax return, so it was advised by Peter to pay it without
contention since the mistake was on our part. However, the person Peter was
talking to was apparently surprised that we had to file a return each year
given our situation, so that's something to look into.
There's a couple of things he wanted to sort out before fully handing over
to Peter, which he hadn't had chance to do over the past month, that he
intended to get finished up by the end of next Sunday, and since he had the
mail delivery at the moment, it may be more convienient for everyone if he
kept the pay in book until we change the mailbox (since otherwise he'd need
to forward any cheques we receive before then to Peter).

4.3. Stand in Company Secretary October/November (deferred to closed part of

4.4. Venue co-ordinator. Elaine had nothing to report.

4.5. Web systems. Martijn had nothing to report, and stated that all systems
were functioning normally.

5.  Subcommittee, working group and other reports

5.1. Formal Programme subcommittee. Martijn had nothing to report, and
stated that he'd look into de-emphasizing academic plenary lectures and
making systemic changes to promote that as requested. (See 3.1)

5.2. Alternate programme subcommittee. Trish reported that she had started a
discussion with Elaine and hoped to start discussions on list shortly.

5.3. Research subcommittee. Debbie reported she had document from Yo to get
subcommittee started. Had terrible memories of self interest from last time
she chaired that subcommittee.

5.4. Publicity subcommittee. Alastair reported he couldn't find 2013
documents on files on Autscape. He thought there was some material Martijn
offered to send him. Will be keeping a close eye on the address situation
as publicity will need to reflect that on Autscape site.

5.5. Purchasing working group. Stephen had nothing to report, and noted that
he hadn't been appointed to the role again formally yet.

5.6. Anybody Else. Nobody had anything else to report.

6. SPACE trip report. Martijn had recieved no report, but had heard from
Kalen that the event was badly undersubscribed but it's only a small loss
for Autscape. The few people who did show up had a good time, and the
general consensus seemed to be that this should be tried again, perhaps
with better publicity and/or a more convenient timing or location. And that
not everyone who registered for the SPACE visit turned up.

7. Any Other Business. Trish asked if the person we owed a refund to had
been paid yet. She was advised to e-mail Stephen and Peter about it.

Closed part of the meeting

8. Key positions to be filled

8.1. Appointment of subcommittee and working group chairs.

8.1.1. Purchasing working group. Candidates: Stephen, Elaine.
Stephen pointed out that since he has a move coming up in April, he may not
be as effective as he might otherwise be.
Elaine chairs purchasing working group (4 votes for Elaine, 1 vote for
Stephen, 2 abstentions)

8.1.2. Fundraising subcommittee. Candidates: Liz
Liz chairs fundraising SC (No objections)

8.2. Company Secretary

Alastair agreed to follow up on his contact and there followed a discussion
on how to continue, with suggestions of Peter as Interim Company Secretary
with Debbie delegating tasks as necessary for him and other items such as
minutes shared amongst the Board. It was decided that an important decision
such as this should not be rushed and should be deferred to the list.

Meeting closed at 16:41 GBT