Minutes of December 2013 meeting

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

Meeting date: Sunday 15th December 2013

Meeting time: 2.00pm GMT

Meeting Chair: Martijn

Present: Alastair, Elaine, Liz, Martijn, Peter, Stephen

Apologies: Trish

1. Ratifications


2. Announcements

2.1.  Yo retired from the Autscape board as of the 22nd of November 2013.
      The board took the opportunity to respond as follows:

      "The Autscape organisation would like to thank Yo for her years of
      service to Autscape. She has made a massive difference to the
      organisation, leading its incorporation as a registered charity, and
      we will now do our best to maintain and build on the structure she
      left. We're looking forward to seeing her at Autscape, and we all wish
      her the very best!"

      The board members, as individuals, were invited to contribute towards
      a gift card.

3.  Proposals

3.1.  Meeting schedule. The board considered a proposal that
      Autscape changes the meeting schedule to either
      A) hold a formal board meeting every 2 months with the other month
         being a meeting specifically for discussions of bigger issues, or
      B) hold a meeting for discussing things a week prior to the board

      The rationale for this proposal is in appendix A.

      Option A was considered too infrequent for formal decisions, and
      therefore formal meetings, in busier times. There was a lengthy
      discussion was had of the possible merits of B, if it would result in
      too much time commitments, and how effective the use of the board list
      currently. No formal resolution was made, but it was agreed to try and
      get more frequent contact outside of the context of formal meetings
      and the board list going.

Debbie arrived during item 3.1.
Now present: Alastair, Debbie, Elaine, Liz, Martijn, Peter, Stephen

3.2.  Fidelity insurance. The board considered a proposal that Autscape
      extends its insurance cover to include fidelity insurance. Peter
      agreed to get an estimate of what Fidelity insurance would cost us.
      3.2 was deferred to next meeting pending estimate of additional cost.

3.3.  Venue size. Proposal: The board makes a decision regarding the
      potential size of the 2015 venue. This is needed so that the research
      subcommittee knows what it is researching.

      Following a prolonged discussion trying to ascertain what a reasonable
      amount of growth for Autscape is, involving venue sizes we were likely
      to be able to find, minimum bookings, previous year on year growth, a
      consensus formed that a venue accommodating about 150 people would be
      a reasonable amount to search for if growth was desired.

      This was deferred to the next meeting on the understanding that we are
      waiting for Liz to have a better idea on fundraising, that cheap
      venues of the 150 mark are difficult to find and that Debbie cannot
      easily research venues between Easter and mid June.

4.  Follow ups

4.1.  Postal address. Debbie explained that researching mail solutions hit a
      glitch, which Peter summarised as being that there are products that
      nearly do the right thing, but they charge separately for each
      person's name written above the Autscape address. People who write to
      us don't follow instructions exactly, and they can unwittingly cause
      us to reach the limit of the number of free names. Responses back from
      the company Debbie is looking at are very slow, and that the time
      taken to find out what the product is is dragging on and on.

      A brief discussion followed regarding possible alternative solutions,
      with no immediate conclusion.

4.2.  Updating information
4.2.1.  Charities Commission
4.2.2.  Companies House
4.2.3.  CRB Checks

      Debbie reported that she is awaiting the password from Yo for 4.2.1
      and 4.2.2, and suggested that two people have this password in future.
      Elaine agreed to handle CRB checks for those who need them for 4.2.3.

5.  Role reports

5.1.  Chair. Martijn had nothing to report, but apologised for his
      recent inactivity.

5.2.  Treasurer/Outgoing Interim Treasurer. Stephen stated he had been very
      fatigued the past month and hadn't managed to get anything he was
      intending on getting done at the last meeting done. Handover with
      Peter hadn't begun yet. He asked if Peter had sent the receipt we'd
      been requested yet, and stated that if not one of them needed to get
      that sorted after today's meeting. Peter agreed to do the receipt, and
      requested that Stephen prioritise expense claims for Yo and Kalen if
      Kalen had any. Stephen agreed to prioritise expense claims.

5.3.  Stand in company secretary for November - December. Debbie reported
      that nothing had been done, as per 4.2.1 and 4.2.2.

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

5.5.  Web systems. Martijn had nothing to report.

6.  Subcommittee, working group and any other reports

6.1.  Formal Programme subcommittee. Martijn reported that discussion on
      conference theme had been restarted on the Plan list. He's going to
      aim at putting a shortlist to the board for a vote soon. It'll have to
      be on list because he doesn't want to wait for the next meeting. After
      that he'll work on getting the Call for Proposals out ASAP.

6.2.  Alternative Programme subcommittee. Trish wasn't here, and Martijn
      wasn't aware of any recent activity.

6.3.  Fundraising subcommittee. Liz reported that earlier this month, Elaine
      raised the possibility of Autscape signing up to websites that give
      commission to a chosen charity if you shop via them (on thousands of
      sites like Amazon, Next, B&Q, etc.). This one won the 2013 Award for
      Best Giving Platform http://www.giveasyoulive.com. She's done a bit of
      research (not quite read the small print yet) but she wanted to know
      whether board members would be happy for her to pursue this. As Elaine
      said, Autscape has the potential to raise money from board members
      (who, like her, regularly buy from places like Amazon) and our

      A brief discussion came up about if there were any potential issues
      that would require this sort of thing to go through the board, and
      Peter volunteered to check the M&A for rules on accepting donations,
      while the meeting continued due to lack of time. He completed this
      check during the meeting and the results are reported under 9.1 below.

6.4.  Research subcommittee. Debbie had nothing to report.

6.5.  Publicity and Publications subcommittee. Alastair had nothing to report.

6.6.  Purchasing working group. Elaine had nothing to report.

7.  Any other business
    There was no AOB for the open portion of the meeting.

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

8.  Key positions to be filled.

8.1.  Company Secretary. Alastair said that his potential company secretary
      hadn't mentioned anything since he passed the information to her. As
      such, the board discussed how to continue:
      A) pay for services;
      B) ask Debbie to take on the role of company secretary, but not
         honorary secretary;
      C) otherwise appoint from inside the board;
      D) give up searching and agree that company secretary tasks will be
      Debbie indicated she would be willing, under B), on the provision that
      she gave up the position of Research subcommittee chair. Elaine and
      Stephen both volunteered to do the Research SC should Debbie become
      company secretary, and it was agreed that some tasks involved in the
      role of company secretary could be delegated as long as we had one
      person with the responsibility. This resulted in the following

8.1.1.  The board elected Debbie as Company Secretary (7 for).

8.1.2.  The board elected Peter as chair of the Research subcommittee
        (5 for).

8.2.  Honorary Secretary. The board elected Stephen as Honorary Secretary
      (6 for).

The closed portion of the meeting ended, and another open portion began.

9.  Any other business

9.1.  Donations. Peter could not find anything stopping Liz from signing
      Autscape up to a donations scheme (Item 6.3), provided it is not a
      matter "likely to significantly impact on the company's reputation."
      However, he pointed Liz to Appendix D of the June 2011 meeting which,
      while not describing the same situation, did address interesting
      points which are worth considering.

9.2.  Third-party use of Autscape-written guidelines. Elaine forwarded a
      request to use our Chat list guidance for a group unrelated to
      Autscape if the references to Autscape was changed and we were given
      credit. There were no objections to this, but emphasis was made that
      we weren't endorsing it, and it was suggested to request that she
      point out that we weren't endorsing it while crediting us.

Meeting closed 16:30