Minutes of June 2017 meeting

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

Meeting date: Saturday 24th June 2017

Meeting time: 20.00 BST

Meeting Chair: Trish

Present: Debbie, Elaine, Jeremy, Joseph, Kalen, Martijn, Trish

Apologies: James, Larry

Observers: 1

Meeting opened: 20.05

1. Approvals

1.1 Minutes of the May 2017 meeting posted to the list on 19th June 2017. 
    (6 for, 0 against)

1.2 Minutes of the special June 2017 Autscape main programme meeting
    posted to the list on 19th June 2017.  (7 for, 0 against)

2. Ratifications

No matters requiring ratification

3. Proposals

3.1.1 The Chair proposed that the hugging/touching symbol (whether opt in or
      opt out) in future be regarded as just for hugs and not for any other
      type of touch with this being clearly defined in the orientation

      This proposal was amended to read:

      The Chair proposed that the hugging/touching symbol in future be
      regarded as just for hugs for opt in and not for any other type of
      touch with this being clearly defined in the orientation or for
      requests for all types of touch if opt out.

      Approved (7 for, 0 against)

3.1.2 The chair proposed that the orange stars opt in will in future be:
      a) Orange star as before - opt in to be open to asking about hug
      b) Black star - opt out so that anyone not wearing one is open to
         being asked about touch
      c) Reverted to original situation ie no symbol indicating hug
      Following a lengthy discussion the chair decided to refer this back to
      the list

3.1.3 The Chair proposed that the board resolves to actively discourage the
      use of unofficial badges (i.e. asking members not to wear them if
      seen, and include such guidance in the orientation and any relevant
      written material.)

      Deferred to list

3.2 The Company Treasurer proposed that the board agree in principle to
    using a third-party direct debit handler. If the board agrees, then the
    Company Treasurer will research what providers exist, and then make
    recommendations based on the research. (7 for, 0 against)

    See Appendix 1 for a report on which this proposal was based

3.3 The Company Secretary proposed an amendment to the Confidentiality
    paragraph in the Lists Policy (7 for, 0 against)

    See Appendix 2 for the Lists Policy amendment

    The amendment was approved pending the removal of an example email
    address which could be used by, for example, a sole trader.

3.4 The Company Secretary proposed we the board accept the Annual report as
    sent to list. (Approved 27 June, rev 7 sent to list 25th June) (7 for, 0

3.5.1 The chair proposed that the board spend some of the surplus reserves
      on a training day and face to face meeting for the board. To include a
      venue, food and travel as appropriate. Amount to be confirmed later.
      (7 for, 0 against)

3.5.2 The chair proposed that booking and organising of the venue for the
      board training day be delegated to Kalen with a cap of £300 for the
      meeting room hire. (7 for, 0 against)

4. Role Updates

4.1 Company Treasurer (Debbie)

    The Company Treasurer reported that due to changes to the SORP
    (Statement of Recommended Practice), parts of the annual report need
    redoing. All board members will need to vote on the matter asap because
    of the imminent deadline for the annual report.

4.2 Registrar (Debbie)

    The Registrar reported:

    Registration was due to close last Friday. The afternoon before the
    venue emailed wanting final figures for the Monday.
    This came as a shock to me because while the contract states the final
    invoice is issued six weeks before the conference I had not realised the
    figures were needed a week before it. That gave a hurried end to
    registration with some figures going in based on a person’s statement
    that payment was on the way (e.g. in the post). All these payments came

    On Monday I passed in the final figures and then on Tuesday the venue
    said the final figures only counted as residential. The non residential
    numbers are wanted later on. We don’t have the invoice yet. We have two
    weeks to pay the invoice.

    We have 33 residential.30 on residential. Plus a few people coming for
    just one or two days. Our busiest day is Thursday when we’ll have 167 on
    site. These numbers do not include the retro computer people. 162 people
    will be on site on Tuesday. As always as soon as we started having a
    queue the number of bookings slowed. Either this is a coincidence and it
    would happen anyway or autistic people do not like uncertainty.

    That fills us.

    We have a few  presentation only places of offer this year.
    I gave the report on pay by instalments already.
    Whether or not they can continue depends on the vote that happened
    before this report was due at the meeting.

    Trampolining filled and so far they have not offered us another
    trampoline. I am getting to the stage where I need to start a queue for
    this. To keep things simple there is only one option for the queue. Book
    to join Autscape for the Tuesday lunch. If someone hasn’t turned or find
    they don't like it you get a place if you are top of the list. If not
    you have the lunch and advantage of early arrival. I’m also advertising
    a few more Tuesday lunch places to take the pressure off the afternoon
    registration which I’ll start half an hour earlier than what’s planned.

    Peter is working on a skeleton booking system. (Data is injected by
    hand) Participants will be able to log in, check we have the correct
    details for them, fill in surveys where applicable (e.g. room mate
    matching) and decide whether or not be be members of the The Autscape
    Organisation. He hopes to finish it this weekend so an email will go out
    to all participants early this coming week. I have spent the last couple
    of evenings putting in data and questions. Tomorrow’s task is to update
    the participant lists.

    Those are record numbers for Autscape.

The remaining role reports were deferred due to lack of time

Kalen left the meeting

Any Other Business

5.1 The Venue Search Co-ordinator proposed that the board authorise the
    expenditure of up to £100 to reimburse the expenses of the individuals
    who will visit Tonbridge School to assess its potential as a future
    venue for Autscape on July 5th 2017. (6 for, 0 against)

Role Assignments

6.1 Venue Search Co-ordinator

    Deferred to list

Meeting closed 22.26 BST


3.1.1 - 3.1.3 The orange star was proposal was deferred to the list, but it
important that this matter is resolved prior to the Autscape conference in
August 2017.

6.1. Venue search coordinator replacement

Appendix 1

REPORT: Payment by instalment

Payment by instalments was welcomed by a number of people, and I would like
Autscape to continue offering this service.


Instalments proved to be a lot of work in a number cases. I need to reduce
the effort it takes for this service to be viable.

It worked well, when payment was committed in advance, even if the level of
commitment is just setting some dates in on-line banking. It didn't work
when the payee was required them to have organisational effortseveral times.

The details - what happened in practice

When it worked well:
- They sent us a set of post-dated cheques
- They set up a payment schedule (like a standing order) with their bank
  (Very few people worked out how to do this.)

When it worked badly:
- Many people did a series of one-off payments with their bank; inevitably,
  some of them forgot one or more payments
- Some people intentionally missed payments so they could spend the money on
  something else. The first we knew of this is when we spotted the
  instalment was not received.
- Some people didn't agree in advance with us to pay by instalments, but did
  so anyway. We couldn't know if they were late because there was no agreed
  schedule. We also couldn't know if they would actually finish paying the
  full amount on time, again because of the lack of agreed schedule.
- In many cases, when a payment was late, they didn't reply to emails. This
  is not a new problem, but now it is multiplied by the number of
- For some it prolonged the decision of whether or not they could afford

The future
Post-dated cheques worked well, so we should continue to offer that way of
paying. If we do it again, we'll choose payment dates to allow batching of
cheques to be paid in once a month or once a fortnight, rather than once a
I am looking into a direct debit solution. There are third-party providers
who can deal with the banks for a small commission, comparable to PayPal

I would like to board to agree in principle to using a third-party direct
debit handler. If the board agrees, then I shall research what providers
exist, and then make recommendations based on the research.

Appendix 2

Lists policy - Confidentiality paragraph amendment


Subscription to the list must be with a personal email address. Family email
addresses are allowed eg. JohnandSueSmith@gmail.com but not group email
addresses where others may access the list eg. Johnselectrical@gmail.com or

-    The example email address in bold was removed prior to approval

Autscape cannot guarantee that messages sent to the mailing lists will not
be redistributed. However, we expect list subscribers to be respectful of
other list users and treat all posts as confidential and not repeat or
reproduce either part or the whole of a message in another place unless the
sender explicitly states they can.

To avoid misunderstandings and to minimise offence we also do not allow
people to ask if they can quote somebody.

If it is brought to the board's attention that people are being asked by
private email or a post has been reproduced elsewhere without the
originators permission, then the board will take action and may sanction a
subscriber which could result in them being removed from the list.

However, we may allow general requests for quotes eg. to further research or
contribute to somebody's work in another area and surveys or questionnaires.
In these instances permission must first be sought from the moderators who
may set boundaries at their discretion.