Minutes of 27 August 2022 meeting

Minutes of meeting of the Board of Directors of the Autscape Organisation

Autscape board meeting, 27 Aug 2022 16:00 BST (17:00 CEST, 18:00 EEST),

Meeting opened, 1608

Present: Elaine, Heta, James, Kalen, Martijn, Richard, Trish

Absent: Peter

2 Observers

1. Approvals

1.1 Minutes of the 23rd July meeting, posted to the list on 28th July.


It was requested we change event organiser to event manager

1.1 Carried (subject to minor alteration), 7 for

1.2 Minutes of the 11th August in person meeting, posted to the list on 13th August.


1.2 Carried, 7 for

2. Ratifications
No Ratifications

3. Proposals

3.1. The Company Secretary proposed that the board increase the numbers for the final day booking of Autscape 2023.

Rational: A lot of people objected to us sharing the last night, however the 100 spaces this year were not filled.

A discussion was held and there was concern that this would increase the chance of us not fulfilling the contract and having to cover the cost. However, participants had not been happy when they found they would have to share the last day at the last Autscape.

There was concern this would increase the contract cost. Participants had not been made aware they would be sharing. The Treasurer asked for financial details.

3.1 Motion fell, 7 against

3.2. The Company Secretary proposed that the board book The Hayes conference centre for Autscape 2024

There was concern that this would mean the same venue 3 years in a row and also a reminder of the effort involved in finding a new venue. There was also a discussion about having a venue in Scotland.

As the Hayes is an expensive venue the board felt it would be necessary to increase the number of bursaries. There were also concerns re the accessibility for people with mobility problems.

Elaine agreed to ask the venue to let her know if there is interest from anyone else.

3.2 deferred to list

4. Follow-ups

No follow-ups

5. Role reports

5.1 The Chair

Chair Report August 22: After a long talk with the Company Secretary I have concluded that we must overhaul the way the Board operates. This will involve tightening up the way we conduct board meetings, the way discussions are raised and how decisions are made. It will also include defining the roles that we have more clearly, and how they are carried out.

Policy creation and updates will come under this overhaul. One reason for this is that recent events have shown serious short-comings in the way we deal with problems that arise (I include myself in that.) I have reached this conclusion as these are not isolated incidents, but recur regularly.
Therefore they must be systemic failures, as opposed to individuals getting things wrong. (Of course, they are unlikely to get things right if there is no policy/guidance on how to do so.)

None of these changes will alter the Board's supremacy as the decision-making body of Autscape. Indeed, most of these changes will have to go through the Board to be approved. (Exceptions are things reserved to specific roles.) Nor will they alter the ability of individual board members to raise issues on the board list.
Another reason is that as our events are getting bigger, there will be more issues to process in the future. We will need to streamline our decision-making procedures if we are to have a chance of dealing with these effectively.

Concern was shown over increased formality. It was mentioned that there may be legal requirements and also that there are uncertainties over what the Board should do in some circumstances. A refresher for the Board was suggested.

5.2 Company Secretary

Company Secretary report: As Autscape is getting bigger and we are about to take on 3 new board members I have discussed with the Chair ways to improve our working practices and improve our governance. This is becoming more important the bigger we get and the more accountable we become. These will come to the board for discussion either later today or at some time in the near future. They are things which the whole board should have a say in as all board members are responsible for shaping the future of the organisation.

I also have a meeting planned with the Treasurer to discuss and review our practices in this area and see if we need to make any proposals or changes.

I also need the board take a look at the cyber insurance policy. When the insurance came up for renewal just prior to Autscape they had changed the cyber crime part. It did not appear on first glance that we were still eligible to take it out. As a result I only renewed the main insurance and this add on I will now bring to the board list.

I also have to complete the induction of our new Board members and I think it is time we had a training day at some point in the near future which I will propose later.

5.3 Treasurer

The Treasurer said that the income from the last Autscape was better than expected. Further details will be given when all the expenses were in.

5.4 Event Manager

The Event Manager report:

We had an Autscape. It went well. In spite of very substantial teething trouble with the venue around room allocations, most people seemed happy most of the time. There were a lot of new people, but the usual Autscape 'vibe' was still evident. A repeat of the same venue will solve a lot of problems, as would the 20-25C weather we ordered. I will hold a debriefing meeting with the Management Team shortly. It has been delayed due to Elaine's injury.

The Chair thanked the Event Manager for all her hard work on the board for these last 3 years.

5.5 List Co-ordinator

The List Co-ordinator report: As I am leaving the board, I will be leaving as lists coordinator. It's been a light job as the lists have been quiet for a couple of years now. Many of the lists need removing from the list of lists because we don't use them. We really need to look at an alternative for lists. We also need to upgrade the role of Facebook or other social media. I won't be answering Facebook messages either. I suggest the board consider a role of communications officer or similar.

6. AOB

Kalen reminded the Board that if they were going to continue to use IRC for meetings then another operator needs to be trained to replace her. Currently this left Martijn as the only operator which was not satisfactory if he was unavailable. Richard volunteered to train and Kalen agreed to stand in if needed and she was available in the meantime. The chair added that our method of meeting was something he wished to discuss shortly.

7. Closed part of Meeting

7.1 [confidential item redacted]

7.2 [confidential item redacted]

The remaining items on the agenda were deferred due to time.
Meeting closed 1834