Agenda for April 2015 meeting

Agenda for April 2015 board meeting

Meeting to be held at 3pm BST on Sunday 19th April 2015
at #autscape



1.  Proposals:

1.1.  Booking policies. The Registrar proposes we adopt the following
      policies (See Appendix C for notes):

1.1.1.  Child number cap. No more than 3 creche staff (later

1.1.2.  Registration opens 9 May.

1.1.3.  Registration closes 18 July. If places remain available we
        hold the system open to 31 July.

1.1.4.  Draw: 10% of places are in the draw. These places will be
        drawn on 18 July.

1.1.5.  Ensuites:  We have very few ensuites this year and they are all
        singles. The fairest way to decide who gets one is to draw for them.

1.1.6.  Acceptance of places: A place is guaranteed only on receipt
        of payment.

1.1.7.  Cancellation policy: If you cancel before registration closes
        there will be an administration fee of £20 per adult participant in
        your booking. - No refund will be due for cancellations after the
        close of registration.

1.2.  Programme budget. The Programme Coordinator proposes a budget of £1200
      for the programme (See Appendix D for breakdown).

1.3.  Consultant. Martijn proposes we appoint Peter Benie as Autscape's
      consultant for database and other services (See Appendix E for rationale)

1.4.  Board meeting schedule. The Chair proposes we agree on a regular board
      meeting schedule, to continue indefinitely until the board decides to
      change it (See Appendix F for on list discussion)

1.5.  Domain purchase. The Web Systems Manager proposes we purchase the Internet domain from Peter. He is happy to sell it to
      us at cost, which he has specified as USD 19.98 + GBP 45.64. (See
      Appendix G for rationale)

1.6.  Minuting of ratifications. The Chair proposes that when the board
      ratifies a decision taken between board meetings (for example, on the
      board list), to include a summary of the rationale and/or discussion
      resulting in that decision in the minutes. (See Appendix H for rationale)

2.  Follow ups:

2.1.  Annual Report (Liz) [Sent to board as e-mail]

2.2.  Accounts (Stephen)

2.3.  Policy updates (including Complaints policy) (Elaine)

2.4.  Personal Data Retention Policy (Martijn)

2.5.  Guidance for splitting conference from governance (Elaine)

2.6.  Purchase of Font License (Martijn)

2.7.  Allowances Policy for Out and About (Debbie)

2.8.  Finance Authorisations

2.9.  Extra Facebook Admin

3.  Role reports:

3.1.  Chair (Martijn)

3.2.  Treasurer (Stephen as vice)

3.3.  Company Secretary (Elaine)

3.4.  Web systems (Martijn)

3.5.  Honorary Secretary (Stephen)

3.6.  Programme Coordinator (Kalen)
3.7.  Venue Coordinator (Elaine)

4.  Subcommittee and working group reports

4.1.  Fundraising (Liz)

4.2.  Publicity & Publications (Martijn)

4.3.  Merchandise and Purchasing (Stephen)

4.4.  Other Reports

5. Conference registration fees

5.1.  Debbie proposes we take one of the following options in relation to
fees listed in Appendix A (See rationale in Appendix B).

    A: Apply the following changes:

    Change the ensuite supplement for adults from +£60 to +£45.   There
will still be a draw but it will increase the number of low income people
who can afford to be in it.
    Change the child and carer three person room discount from -£5 to -£10.
We make a small loss on those places but as they'll be with someone who we
are not making a loss on and taking no space that is okay.
    Change the adults sharing in a twin room discount from -£10 to -£15
    Change the flexible fee discount from -£15 to -£20 and the flexible fee
willing to go into a triple if we are having it from -£20 to -£25.

    B: Apply the following changes:

    Reduce adult single room fee by £5.00.  This has a knock on effect on
the cost of adult twin and flexible rooms so that they are the same
regardless of whether choice one or choice two is accepted.

    However this reduction cannot be afforded through the lower programme
budget costs alone.  Please consider the childcare, printing and sensory
equipment reports before voting on this.  Further advise can be given at
the meeting     after we've heard the reports.

    If we vote for this option and we make a loss it shouldn't contribute
more than a few hundred. It may even  be that the smaller single room fee
brings in more particpants which offsets it somewhat. Hence I list this

    C: No further reductions.

6. Any Other Business

(Closed portion of meeting)

7.  Role assignments

7.1.  Treasurer (Candidates: Stephen & Debbie as Joint Treasurer)    

(End of closed portion of meeting)

Appendix A: Original fees proposal (Item 5.1) (See Rationale in Appendix B)


200 Standard income
Less 10% low income thus 180
Plus 10% professional thus 220

Organisers/Presenters: Supplements and discounts to  be applied after free
night calculated from the above.

Adults in twin rooms -£10
Adults in triple and larger (read family)  rooms -£20 (I expect only family
groups will take this)
Adults taking flexible fee -£15
Adults taking flexible fee willing to go into 3 person room -£20. (Needed
for completion remove if you don't like it.  It isn't much different from
the above but it removes the decision of flexible / triple  from those who
can go into the larger rooms. )

Sink in single room +£30  (ten pounds per night)
Ensuite single  +£60  (twenty pounds per night).
Sink in shared room +£15 (five pounds per night per adult)

Place in a shared room
Flexible place.

Carer supplements:
+£30 single room
+£45 single room with sink
+£15 shared room with a sink.  No supplement for shared room with sink when
sharing with the person you are caring for.
+£60 single ensuite

Carer discount
-£5 three+ person (read family) room.

Place in a shared room.

Child supplements:
+£30 single room
+£45 single room with sink
+£60 single ensuite
No supplement for shared room with sink.

Child discount
-£5 three+ person (read family) room.

£60 shared room. No supplement for sink in room.

Infant discount
-£5 three person (read family) room.

Notes: If we remove the discounts for sharing and flexible we can get the
single room fee down by approx £10 per person.  However this means the only
rooms that would be
shared are
- family, carers and rooms left over at the end.  I'd estimate we could
lost 10% bed places.  Note not conference places because we have non

Non residential:

Adult:  £40 for one day, £75 for two days,  £100 for 3 days (Friday
afternoon - end of conference on Monday after lunch).

Child: £25 per day.

Infant: £18 per day.

Carer: £25 per day.

We'll offer breakfast at cost.
Note: Fees page to specify that day means from 9:00am to 11pm (or whenever
programme ends).

Adult:  £20
Carer: £10
Max stay 4 hours.   Lunch included if visit includes lunch time.
Limited places per day so as not to run out of residential or non
residential places.

Appendix B: Additional Notes on Fees (Item 5.1; Appendix A)

Our overheads this year come to around £6000.  These cover things like the
programme (presenters, activities, licenses), childcare, folder materials,
the sensory room, insurance and one free night for organisers plus the
accommodation for some organisers to be in the area the night so set up the
conference venue.

Asking everyone to pay the same would make the conference unaffordable for
some, it would also give no incentive to people to fill rooms. Thus we'd
have fewer participants and so the fees would be higher.  That is why we
have varying levels of fees.

Flexible fee: If you choose this fee you will be put into one of the left
over rooms.  You may get a single room or you may be sharing with one other
person of the same sex. Your room may be on the first floor, the second or
on the third floor.  It may be a standard room or it may have a sink. It is
unlikely it will be a single ensuite as there are only a small number of
these this year but if there was a left over one then you would have a
random chance of being allocated it.   With this fee you cannot specify any
preferences.  If you have a preferred room mate please book standard.

We have around 100 single rooms this year (some can turn into twins) plus a
number of twins and family.  We need incentives to encourage people to take
the larger rooms while at the same time not making the single room which
the majority of participants will be taking be  fee too high.

Appendix C: Notes on Proposed Policies (Item 1.1)

General notes: Focus: This year we are giving more priority to those who
are likely to become anxious waiting for places.

Notes for Ensuites (Item 1.2.5): People who need an ensuite in order to
attend should register interest for one in the system but not pay (the
system won't show them a payment screen). Booking for these closes on 30
June. On 1 July Autscape will make a draw for them.

We are keeping the rooms with sinks as first come first served.

Notes for acceptance of places (Item 1.2.6):
The registrar has the discretion to hold a place for a limited period of
time when payment is known to be on the way (eg international transfer).
People are encouraged to pay by paypal - we have no extra fee for paypal
payments and they arrive immediately. This to be made clear in the booking

This change ties in with our focus for this year.  People placing a booking
while not paying while they decide whether or not to come gives a false
impression that we are full or nearly so. That  then adds to the anxiety of
those less quick to place a booking who quite often have their fee ready to

The cancellation policy doesn't work when people have places before they've
paid as there was no £20 to hold back each time.

Regular reminders will be sent to those who have placed a booking which is
not paid or cancelled.

Note for Cancellation policy (Item 1.2.7): This is last year's policy with
one change.  That change is the addition of 'per adult participant in your
booking'. This to prevent groups booking while they decide whether to
attend while excluding children and carers from having to pay a charge they
have no control over.

Appendix D: Breakdown of Programme Budget (Item 1.2)

£80 lifeguards (£10 each x 2 at a time x 4 hours)
£100 glow sticks (50p each x 200 sticks)
£200 DJ
£50 stickers, art materials, etc.
£440 presenters' accommodation (£44 venue cost x 10 presenters)
£60 extra for presenters (invited presenter's travel costs, carer's costs,
an extra presenter, or other costs)
£160 2 projectors & 2 microphones
£110 other expenses I haven't thought of (10% of the above)

Appendix E: Rationale for appointing Peter (Item 1.3) (From Martijn)

Peter resigned from the board, but is willing to continue working behind
the scenes on our database (booking, finance) systems as well as helping
me out with general system administration.

But since he is no longer on the board, he is no longer covered by our
insurance. So it's now necessary to appoint him to some function, so he
is covered for managing personal and financial data.

"Consultant for database and other services", or even just "Consultant",
are the job titles he suggested to me in email conversation. He'd like
to keep it as vague as possible so it won't need to be changed.

Appendix F: Brief summary of discussion over schedule (Item 1.4)

Martijn initially suggested 3rd Saturdays at 2pm British Time, based on his
recollection of the board's schedules. Kalen stated that 10am or 3pm would
work better for her, and Trish pointed out that she's often busy on the 2nd
or 3rd Saturday afternoons. Stephen stated that 10am isn't good for him and
so would prefer 3pm, and asked if either the 4th Saturday at 3pm would work
better for Trish, or otherwise if alternating between 3pm and 10am would
work for the board in general. Trish suggested that 4th Saturday at 3pm
works for her (aside May) until after the coming Summer.

Appendix G: Rationale for Web Systems Proposal (Item 1.5) (From Martijn)

Several years ago (2012?) I was asked to arrange the transfer of other
Autscape Internet domains to our organisation. Didn't get to it until now.

The domain is currently not actively used, and is merely
configured as an alternative to But it would be good if we
actually own our domains, even if they are several.

I don't know why Peter specified the cost in a combination of US dollars
and pounds sterling. Presumably it's because he did business with an
American registrar. Variable conversion rates make the proposal somewhat
inexact, but I think the margin is acceptable.

If this proposal is accepted, I will work with Peter make the necessary
arrangements to arrange the technical and administrative transfer.

At this point, even though we're not actively using either of the other
domains, we should hold on to them, so they don't fall into the hands of the
domain squatters that run automated programs to instantly grab domains once
their hold expires. If that happens, our name will be misused to make money
for some unscrupulous Internet advertiser. I think it's worth the annual
registration fee for the alternative domains to prevent that.

Appendix H: Rationale for Including Summary of Rationale (Item 1.6) (From

As I have been trawling through old minutes recently for the board site
summaries of authorised expenses and delegations, I've noticed the need
for this.

Currently, we are only minuting that a decision has been ratified. To
the public reading the minutes, those decisions appear to come out of
nowhere, because they don't have access to the board list.

For this type of decision, I've had to search the list archives for
necessary background info to include and link on the board site. That
means the minutes are incomplete.

But with decisions in the board meetings, everyone can read a summary of
the discussion, as it should be.

So what I'm actually proposing is to treat both types of decision
equally in the minutes.