Minutes of March 2014 meeting

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

Meeting date: Sunday 16th March 2014

Meeting time: 2.00pm GMT

Meeting Chairs: Trish (1 to 2.1)
                Martijn (2.2 to 2.4 prior to vote)
                Peter (2.4 to end including continuation of 2.2 and 2.3)

Present: Debbie, Alastair, Liz, Stephen, Peter, Trish

Apologies: Martijn, Elaine (late)

Meeting opened 14:13 GMT.

1.  Ratifications

1.1.  The decision to assign the Alternative Programme a budget of £300.
      Approved (6 for, 0 against).

2.  Proposals

2.1.  Childcare. Debbie proposes we book Box of Frogs childcare for
      Autscape 2014.

(Martijn joined the meeting at this point.)

      After a brief confirmation of details the proposal was amended at
      Debbie's request to:
      Debbie proposes we book Box of Frogs childcare for Autscape 2014
      subject to their policies meeting our approval and a cost of up to
      Approved (6 for, 0 against, 1 abstain).

2.2.  Supplies. The purchasing working group chair proposes a budget of £300
      for conference supplies (See appendix A for breakdown).

      Discussion postponed until Elaine's arrival and the notes here refer
      to the part handled out of order.

      There was a discussion as to amendments and inconsistencies in the
      figures due to a misunderstanding.

      Approved (8 for).

2.3.  Merchandise. The purchasing working group chair proposes a budget of
      £300 for merchandise (see appendix B for rationale).

      Discussion postponed until Elaine's arrival and the vote here refers
      to the part handled out of order.

      Approved (8 for).

2.4.  Transport and childcare co-ordinators. Debbie proposes to delegate to
      Elaine as venue co-ordinator the power to allocate the roles of
      transport and childcare co-ordinators at her discretion.

      There was a short discussion in which it was confirmed that Elaine is
      happy to do this, clarified what is involved, what has happened in the
      past and why it should change.
      In favour of this change was that it would allow for re-assigning
      these roles on site as necessary without the burden of formalities.
      Against the change was that these roles, involving lots of interaction
      with participants, are too important to be left to any single person's
      discretion, as they can affect the reputation of the organisation.
      Also, as Autscape is supposed to be an autistic-run organisation, it
      would be vesting too much power in a non-autistic person without a
      check by the (autistic-majority) board.

      An alternative of Peter as transport coordinator and Debbie as
      childcare coordinator was also suggested.
      A vote was requested on the initial proposal.

      Not approved (2 for, 4 against, 2 abstain).
      Following this, an alternative proposal was put to vote:
      Debbie proposes to designate Peter as transport coordinator and Debbie
      as childcare coordinator.

      Approved (8 for).

2.5.  Designated funds. The treasurer proposes that:

      a) the designated fund for Autscape 2013 be closed and any accrued
         funds be transferred into general reserves, and

      b) a designated fund be set up for Autscape 2015 and GBP 2,500 be
         transferred from general reserves into that fund.
      A short explanation of designated funds was given by Peter. Designated
      funds are those that are set aside by the board for a particular
      purpose. They aren't restricted by an external entity (eg. a grant
      giving body), and the board can formally choose to resignate the funds
      for a different purpose. The reason to designate funds here is so that
      they don't show up as general reserves. The choice of GBP 2,500 is to
      make sure that there is enough for a venue deposit.

      Approved (8 for).

3.  Follow-ups

3.1.  DBS checks (Elaine).

      Elaine reported that she had been unable to progress due to
      difficulties establishing the level of cover required.

      There followed a lengthy discussion on the level of cover required/
      preferred, and the purposes of such cover (such as trusteeship or
      contact with vulnerable persons). There was also mention of the
      on-site team. No conclusion was reached and it was agreed to defer to
      list with an aim to have a decision by the end of the month.

4.  Role reports

4.1.  Chair (Martijn).

      Nothing to report.
4.2.  Treasurer (Peter).

      The treasurer reported that he has been reviewing the accounts for the
      financial year 2012-2013. This has highlighted an area where
      improvement is needed. He listed the important tasks which it is
      necessary he complete during the review:

      1) To check that receipts and payments match income and expenditure.
         Income and expenditure is what we are committed to, eg. by entering
         into a contract. Receipts and payments are where money actually
         changed hands. Any discrepency should be due to a known cause, eg.
         a deposit (pre-payment) to the venue.
      2) To check that evidence of income and expenditure matches the
         records in the accounts.
         This is checking that there is paperwork (real or electronic) to
         say where the money actually came from and where it went. The
         evidence typically is in the form of invoices and receipts. We're
         reasonably good at that.
      3) To check that evidence of receipts and payments matches the records
         in the accounts.
         This a simply comparing our records against bank account statements. 

      4) To check that there is evidence of authorisation for income and
         This is checking that there is paperwork to say where the approval
         for expenditure and income. The ultimate authority for approval is
         the board, so the evidence will be a board meeting decisions
         approving the income/expenditure or decisions delegating authority
         for the same. We are very poor at tracking a transaction back to
         the start of authority. Essentially you have to look through every
         board meeting hoping to find what you are looking for.

      There was a discussion on the approval of outstanding minutes for the
      financial year 2012-2013 and it was agreed these would be worked on
      The treasurer reported that he and the registrar have been working on
      fees and intend posting them to the list this week.

4.3.  Company Secretary (Debbie).

      Nothing to report.

4.4.  Venue Co-ordinator (Elaine).

      The Venue Co-ordinator reported that she has spoken to the venue this
      week. She discovered a few minor changes from last time such as our no
      longer needing fire marshals or needing to strip the beds. She will be
      talking to the chef soon. She also needs to address the dinner queuing
      system early on so as to avoid last minute changes.
      It was suggested we inform attendees of the system in advance.
4.5.  Web systems (Martijn).

      Nothing to report.

4.6.  Honorary Secretary (Stephen).

      The Honorary Secretary reported that it had worked well last month
      when Trish wrote the minutes and sent the draft direct to the board
      list. He also reported that although last minute revisions to the
      agenda are understandable they can lead to confusion.

4.7.  Registrar (Debbie).

      The Registrar reported she is continuing to work on a fair draw. The
      system she had allowed too much gaming and thus disadvantaged those we
      are trying to help.

5.  Subcommittee, working group and any other reports

5.1.  Formal Programme subcommittee (Martijn).

      The Formal Programme Co-ordinator reported that only one proposal has
      been received, with only a week left to the deadline. He suggested we
      may need to consider extending it and stepping up promotion if we
      don't get more proposals soon.
      There was a discussion as to options and whether we had accidentally
      discouraged academic proposals by encouraging less academic ones.
      Wording was discussed for a reminder but the Programme Coordinator
      felt this would not be necessary immediately. It was decided to wait
      until the Call for Proposals closes before more action is taken.

5.2.  Alternative Programme subcommittee (Trish).

      The Alternative Programme Co-ordinator reported that the programme is
      getting going but the subcommittee is very quiet. She said she has
      sent the revised call for proposals (alternative) to the Board and if
      there is no request for alteration by the end of Tuesday will send it
      out. She will then move on to other items such as the home/interest

      There was a discussion as to whether the call for proposals
      (alternative) should be kept back until there is more response to the
      main programme call however it was felt that it might actually prompt
      people to respond rather than the opposite or even attract a proposal
      which could be transferred to the formal programme.
5.3.  Fundraising subcommittee (Liz).

      The chair of Fundraising reported that The Autscape Organisation has
      now been added to the database at Give as you Live.

      This means that people can start to raise money for Autscape every
      time they shop online (at Amazon, Expedia, Play.com etc.). She has
      already raised around £25, just through her own purchasing. She now
      needs to write a ‘how to sign up’ guide. She will write this over the
      next week and ask the Fundraising Committee to look over it (to make
      sure it is clear and accessible) before asking the Board for thoughts
      and approval.

5.4.  Research subcommittee (Peter).

      The subcommittee chair reported that childcare is sorted, thanks to

5.5.  Publications & Publicity subcommittee (Alastair).

      The chair of Publicity proposes: To budget up to GBP 200 for printing
      of conference papers (handouts etc).

      Approved (8 for).

5.6.  Purchasing working group (Elaine).

      Nothing to report.

5.7.  Anybody else.

      No further reports.

6.  Any Other Business

6.1.  Website files.

      Alastair raised the issue that he has been unable to find some recent
      files on the website though there are many older ones. Peter requested
      that Alastair email him and he will try and help.

6.2.  Dutch Autscape.

      Martijn reported that several Dutch people have been discussing
      running an Autscape or Autscape- like event in the Netherlands. He
      would like to start a mailing list at lists.autscape.org and invite
      them there.

      There followed a long discussion including whether we allow use of the
      name Autscape. It was agreed to defer to list.

6.3.  Bulletin.

      Trish asked if any further feedback was intended for the draft
      bulletin as she would like to send it this week. Elaine agreed to do
      this ASAP.

Closed part of meeting

The closed part of meeting was deferred to list as it was not possible to
make the meeting closed. Peter requested a decision by Monday 24th March.

Meeting closed 16:33 GMT.