Minutes of March 2018 meeting

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

Meeting date: Tuesday 27 March 2018

Meeting time: 14:00 GMT

Meeting Chair: Martijn

Present: Elaine, Heta, James, Jenny, Jeremy, Peter, Martijn, Trish

Apologies: Larry

Meeting opened: 14:05

1. Approvals

1.1. Minutes of the January 2018 meeting posted to the list on 7th March
     (8 for)

1.2. Minutes of the February 2018 meeting posted to the list on 21st March
     2018 (Subject to removal of the last sentence under 5.1) (8 For)

2. Ratifications

No ratifications.

3. Proposals

3.1. The Company Secretary proposed that the board approve the revised
     Complaints policy posted to the list on 25th March 2018.

     Following a brief discussion regarding the guidance contained in
     Appendix 2 & 3 the proposal was revised to:

     The Company Secretary proposes that the board approve the revised
     Complaints policy posted to the list on 25th March 2018, subject to the
     addition to the following sentence to Appendix 2 and Appendix 3: "This
     appendix does not form part of the policy and may be revised from time
     to time. (8 for)

3.2. Remaining fees questions

3.2.1. The Event Manager proposed that there is an opportunity provided
       during online booking for bookers to add a donation of any amount to
       be paid along with their fee (the default will be zero).*

       Unless the board would like to specify otherwise:
       a. The opportunity to add a donation will be available to all those
          who book to come to Autscape, simply because this is the easiest
          to implement. But the programmer could also exclude groups, such
          as those who have requested bursary help.
       b. The donations will go towards bursaries for next year.

       Following a discussion about excluding those who asked for a bursary
       from donating, the board considered whether this would offend people
       or make people feel stigmatised and whether a donation should be
       relevant to a bursary award. However, the general opinion was that
       those who need a bursary to come to Autscape should not be in a
       position to donate and to do so could prevent another participant
       from getting a bursary due to limited bursary funds.

       The board also considered whether all donations should go directly to
       a bursary fund. The Company secretary pointed out that we have a duty
       to be clear where donations are going so it would have to be made
       clear that they were not going to Autscapes general fund. It was
       acknowledged that people may want to donate to Autscape in general
       and may resent donating towards somebody’s fee.

       The proposal was reworded as follows:

       The Chair proposes that there is an opportunity provided during
       online booking for bookers who are not bursary recipients to add a
       donation of any amount to be paid along with their fee, with the
       default being zero, and including a choice between donations going to
       either general funds or towards bursaries. (8 for)

3.2.2. The Event Manager proposed that the £50 fee to make doors lockable is
       paid by the individuals who request it, not spread among all
       participants’ fees.

       Following a discussion it was established that this is a fee set by
       the venue with a maximum of 20 rooms being made available. As a
       result the board felt that spreading the cost amongst participants
       was not fair if only 20 people would benefit. The board also thought
       that the cost would deter all but those who really needed a lock from
       requesting one so demand would not outstrip availability. It was also
       noted that anybody who requires a lock but could not afford the extra
       cost could possibly apply for a bursary. (7 For, 1 Against)

3.2.3. The Event Manager proposed that rather than advertising a specific
       dependants’ fee that those who need help with fees for support
       workers or other dependants are dealt with on a case-by-case basis
       through the bursary scheme. (8 For)

4. Follow ups

4.1. Meeting with Autistic UK

     Heta said that four Autscape board members met on Skype with five
     Autistic UK board members. The meeting was chaired by Kat from Autistic
     UK and they took some time initially to get to know each other. They
     discussed our plans for the future on a very general level and Autistic
     UK said they did not have any concrete plans at the minute but were
     still discussing ideas and were keen to learn from Autscape. They are
     interested in long term cooperation with a view to not organising
     events at the same time and it was suggested that we nominate two
     people from each board to act as contacts to pass information between
     us. They are also considering submitting a proposal with a view to
     presenting at Autscape this year. All round it was a positive
     experience. The contacts should be decided on list in the near future.

     Action: Decide on the contacts for Autistic UK collaboration 

5. Role reports

5.1. Chair (Martijn)
     Nothing to report.

5.2. Company Secretary (Elaine)
     Elaine said she would be presenting more policies to the board but her
     biggest concern at the minute was the Annual report. She reminded
     people to read the draft and put forward amendments particularly
     regarding the presentations last year and finances.

5.3. Honorary Secretary (Elaine)
     Nothing to report.

5.4. Treasurer (Jeremy)
     Jeremy said he had spent some of this month looking at the accounts. He
     had identified some issues to follow up on from last year, for example
     outstanding creditors. He didn’t have anything more specific to report
     to the board yet, though he had been looking at individual transactions
     in detail.

5.5. Event Manager Autscape 2018 (Kalen)
     No report received.

5.6. Membership Secretary (Jeremy)
     Nothing to report.

5.7. Fundraising coordinator (Jeremy)
     Jeremy said he had been looking at an Amazon service called Smile,
     which offers similar rates to Give as you Live but he had nothing to
     report on it yet.

5.8. Tech coordinator (Martijn)
     Nothing to report.

5.9. Lists coordinator (James)
     James said there have been some moderation issues on the list, but they
     seem to have been dealt with well. We are still learning what we all
     do, and how best to do it. In my opinion, it's going in the right
     direction. I have also had input from the Chair, which was useful.

5.10. Venue search coordinators (Peter and Debbie)
      Peter said that Debbie has found some possible venues, but we haven't
      approached them yet.

6. Any Other Business

6.1. Peter reminded the board regarding absences from meetings. The rule is
     that you're out if you're absent three times in a row *without
     reasonable excuse.* That rider is important. Being ill, for example, is
     a reasonable excuse. Being otherwise busy may be an excuse depending on
     how much effort was made to accommodate your schedule.

6.2. Jenny sent her apologies in advance of the next meeting.

6.3. Jenny asked if we could have a discussion on maybe changing our name.
     The Chair asked her to bring it up on the list.

6.4. Jeremy asked whether or not, and if so how, we address the suggestion
     from the feedback survey that Autscape use the internet to update
     conference goers about the programme. E.g. Twitter feed.

     The Chair said he would pass this on to the organising committee.

6.5. Trish pointed out that Ian Jordan who presented a few years ago has
     been in the news for being struck off. We should be aware in case it is

6.6. Jeremy mentioned that following last Autscape we had agreed to send a
     message to members about the reserves but this was still outstanding.

Meeting closed at 16:09