Minutes of June 2019 meeting

Minutes of meeting of the Board of Directors of the Autscape Organisation
Minutes of the board meeting held on 8th June 2019

Meeting opened 17:11
Present: Elaine, Heta, James, Jenny, Jeremy, Martijn, Trish, Fergus (late)
Present (invited): Debbie
Apologies: Larry
One observer

1. Approvals
1.1. Minutes of the May 2019 meeting posted to the list on 13th May 2019.
1.1 Minutes approved, 7 for.

2. Ratifications
2.1. The Treasurer proposed that Autscape pays the charge incurred by Debbie for using a self-storage facility for the sensory equipment for 3 months June-August. Posted to list on 28th May 2019, concluded on list 29th May 2019 (9 for).

It was noted that there was actually one abstention when voted on list therefore this was dealt with later under proposals.

3. Proposals
3.1. The Treasurer proposed that we approve the accounts for 2017/18.
3.1 Accounts approved (5 for, 2 abstentions)

3.2. The Organising Committee proposed the non-residential one-day fee for Autscape 2019 be set at £65 per adult, pro-rata for children.
3.2 Non-residential fee approved, 7 for.

3.3. The Chair of the Bursary Committee proposed that the board allocate an extra £500 to fulfil bursary applications for 2019.

3.3 Additional bursary £500 approved, 7 for.

Fergus joined the meeting at this point.

3.4. The Company Secretary proposed that the board accept the revised Accessibility Policy.


There was a discussion including wording of the amendment and the suggestion that guide dog owners or a suitable organisation be contacted for views on the Accessibility Guidance. The amendment to the policy was revised.

3.4. The Company Secretary proposed that the board accept the revised Accessibility Policy as posted to the Board list today at 5:44pm, with the following amendment: the paragraph following "EQUALITIES ACT 2010" is changed to the following:
The Equalities Act 2010 gives disabled people the right to ask for reasonable adjustments. However, as a charity for autistic people, Autscape has the right to claim Charity exception from the Equalities Act 2010. This means Autscape prioritises autistic access needs if they are ever in conflict with the access needs of others, although we will always seek to reach a reasonable compromise to ensure disabled access.

3.4 Revised Accessibility Policy approved as amended, 8 for.

3.4 Action – Accessibility Guidance to be reviewed on list (Elaine)

3.5. List of Delegations
Deferred to list.

3.5 Action – list of delegations to be brought up on list (Elaine)

3.6. Contingency plans for next year

The Company Secretary advised the Board that they should make contingency plans in case she was not voted back on the Board at the AGM. She suggested a solution could be to appoint her as Company Secretary without being on the Board.
There was a brief discussion about the number of Board members and whether this should be changed and the authority to change it given to the Board.
The discussion was deferred to continue on list.

3.6 Action – discussion on contingency plans to be taken to list (Elaine)
3.6 Action – discussion on Board taking back ability to vote for number on board.

3.7. Autscape 2020

Elaine proposed that now organising and governance are separate we should change how we choose venues for a few years to ease the load and uncertainty. She described the difficulty and time used in finding a suitable venue (location, accessibility, size etc), collecting information from them, venue visits and negotiations.

She explained that preplanning would reduce pressure on organisers as a known venue was always easier. Tasks would be easier and new venues could be reintroduced for future years well ahead of time.
She also pointed out that the Bursary scheme now offset the need to find cheap venues and that any extra time could be diverted into training people to help organise.
The Treasurer pointed out the high probability that the bursary scheme won't last another 2 years if Autscape stays at High Leigh. The bursary scheme costs Autscape money, and the amount of bursaries given out this year is twice what has been returned so far in donations. It was built on excess reserves.

It was also pointed out that travel from Scotland and the North is more expensive, requiring bursary support, as well as the longer more stressful travel affecting participants.

4. Follow-ups

5. Role reports

5.1. Chair (Martijn)
No report.

5.2. Company Secretary (Elaine)
The Company Secretary reported that the annual report must be approved and sent off this month and is on the list.

5.2 Action – approve annual report (All)

5.3. Honorary Secretary (Elaine)
No report.

5.4. Company Treasurer (Jeremy)
The Treasurer reported that the pay-by-installment plan has worked well this year, at the beginning he received approximately 30 requests to pay by installments. Not every one of those people has ultimately decided to do so. But from over 20 people, there has been a 100% success rate in upkeep of payments as of 31st May.

5.5. Fundraising Co-ordinator (Jeremy)
No report.

5.6. Membership Secretary (Jeremy)
The Membership Secretary had no report but will start work on membership administration next month.

5.7. Event co-ordinator Autscape 2019 (Kalen)
No report received.
Martijn said he would ask Kalen to send a report to the list.

5.7 Action – ask Kalen to send report to list (Martijn).

5.8. Lists Co-ordinator (James)
The List Co-ordinator reported that David Singh has now been officially announced to the Community list and is fulfilling his responsibility well. The list is functioning healthily, with many diverse voices contributing. There is still an interesting variety of topics. The Experience list has been more active than usual, with new attendees asking about Autscape, and others contributing their views and experiences.

5.9. Venue search coordinator (Elaine)
Nothing further to report.

6. Any Other Business

6.1. The Treasurer proposed that Autscape pays the charge incurred by Debbie for using a self-storage facility for the sensory equipment for 3 months June-August.

6.1 Payment for sensory storage, 8 for.

6.2. Debbie's AOB and tech report.
Debbie informed the Board that Peter could no longer do any work on the computer system. He will not be upgrading the VM or making any changes or improvements from now on. He will also stop paying for the second VM (which he currently pays for personally) when it comes up for renewal at the end of the year.
Martijn expressed thanks to Peter for his many years of hard work on our system. He said he will need some time to think through the ramifications of this new situation and he would need to quickly acquire some new expertise. He will report back ASAP.

There was a short discussion including a suggestion that the registration system could be simplified, using something like the online bursary form.

Deferred to list for discussion.

6.2 Action: Discuss future maintenance of Autscape computer system. (Martijn)

6.3 Dogs

Fergus asked for an update on the dogs situation.
Elaine stated that one person with a dog has booked now and most of the others have dropped out.
Fergus expressed concern about possible ongoing fallout from the mistakes made and concern about the dragging out of matters which people could reasonably have expected rapid action on.

There was mention of someone having missed the chance to pay by instalments and discussion over whether people had cancelled and whether this was for related reasons. Martijn and Fergus agreed to compose an email to Debbie to check. Elaine asked people to confirm they have read the emails even if they hadn’t anything to add as she wants to finish it this week.

6.3 Action – Email to Debbie re dog cancellations (Martijn and Fergus)

6.4 Minutes
With people at the end of their term as board members, Trish asked if a non-board member could write minutes and Elaine said no.

Meeting closed 19:20