Minutes of April 2011 meeting

Autscape Management Committee Meeting Minutes

Meeting date: Sunday 17th April 2011

Meeting time: 1pm BST


Present:  Martijn, Kalen, Peter, Stephen, Trish, Yo, Katja, Elaine


1.      Ratifications


The committee unanimously ratified decisions made over the last 

month on the committee email list to:


1.1.   To accept one further proposal from those submitted and invite one
additional presenter (see decision on list 30/3/11)


1.2.   To decline the offer of Ammerdown as the 2012 venue (see decision on
list 31/3/11)

2.      Announcements 


2.1.   (Subject to the ratification of 1.1 above) The final list of
presentations accepted for Autscape 2011 is as follows (in alphabetical order
of titles): 

An insider's critique of the dominant psychological models of autism - Damian

Owning autism research - Kalen 

Owning our support: personalisation - theory and reality - Yo 

Owning the languages of autism - Martijn Dekker 

Pitfalls in autism diagnosis and support: reflections from an 

autistic doctor - Ava Ruth Baker 

Specialisterne Scotland: passion for details - Alastair Cooper 

Use it or lose it. How autism has been owned, and how to claim it for ourselves
- Larry Arnold 

There will also be a panel discussion on the final morning on the conference
theme, and one invited presenter (details to be announced later).



3.     Proposals

[minutes of closed meeting to be approved separately] 


The committee unanimously voted to approve 

3.2.   To agree a budget of £1100 for youth sc to book 'alittlesomethingextra'
as the childcare provider.


The committee unanimously voted to approve


(Peter would require a breakdown of costs at a later date) 

3.3.   To agree a budget of £100 for merchandise 


There was some discussion regarding the amount and what merchandise was being
proposed. There was also discussion regarding mugs as a membership benefit. Yo
asked Stephen to liaise with sc-fund re possible membership benefits. Following
the discussion Stephen asked if he could increase the budget to £200 for


The committee unanimously voted to approve


3.4.   To approve the treasurer's proposed day fee rates (see Appendix) 


Yo asked why they were so high when they didn't include accommodation. Peter
explained that the venue charges us nearly as much as for residential. Kalen
referred to the appendix in which Peter states "We only get GBP 12 off per
person per 3 days, so I've aimed for a reduction of GBP 10 for a 3 day
attendance, based on the corresponding residential fee for a shared room." 

The committee voted 7 for, 1 abstention


4.     Follow ups 

4.1.   Membership database 

Peter said he had put some search tools in place that he hoped were more like
what Yo wanted. He'd also considered how to integrate emailing with the search
tool. He didn't want to make it too easy to export a list of email addresses.
He pointed out that nearly every organisation he'd dealt with has leaked some
portion of its membership database at some point due to mishandling of email
addresses and therefore he'd like to have emails sent to a special address
which just holds the email and doesn't send it anywhere. The secretary could
then direct the email to the right group of members using the same web
interface as is used for searching for members and subsequently avoid ever
having to mass export email addresses from the web site. He also pointed out
that an unexpected consequence of the newsletter being sent out was that we
know how much email addresses change (more often than anticipated), and we have
updated addresses for a few people as a result. Yo asked when she would be able
to access it and Peter said she could now using the same URL. 


4.2.   Newsletter


As the newsletter working group chair was not a member of the committee a full
update was not available. It was suggested that in future she is asked to
provide a progress report prior to the meeting and Yo volunteered to ensure
this happens. In the meantime Kalen said there was a problem with the next
issue in that the published deadline had already passed before many people saw
it. Yo said she was thinking of recommending publishing the deadline date on
the website rather than in the newsletter in future, so that it was easier to
change and Kalen suggested we have a newsletter page on the website. 


4.3.   Registration system 

Peter said he took a long time to get started on this but he thinks the target
date is still achievable. Kalen agreed to keep contact with him directly to
monitor progress. Peter said his aims were: to make it possible to add in
special case bookings (eg. those for the presenters), to integrate it with the
new accounts system, and to have it automatically track expenditure as well as
income due to bookings. The changes will mean it will be easier to know when
we've got to the break-even point so we'll know when we have money available
for other activities. It'll also be easier to check the venue's invoice.
Stephen asked if it was still possible to put in 'where did you hear about us?'
as mentioned in a previous meeting and Peter said yes. 


5.     Subcommittee Progress Reports 

5.1.   Venue. Kalen said she hadn't written the website information yet. She
also wasn't sure what to do about 2012 as she forgot to reply to a volunteer
who had a day available to spend contacting potential future ones. She thought
it might be prudent to ask Ackworth if they have any suitable dates next year
that we may want and ask them to pencil us in for them so at least we have that
to fall back on if we don't find something better. 


5.2.   Tech. Peter said the PayPal button was done. He had also changed the URL
for donations to make it shorter. He had also created a wd-merchandise mailing
list. Kalen asked if he could create a list for transport with her as the admin
and he said he would. Kalen said she would try and recruit a co-ordinator.


5.3.   Publications/publicity. Martijn said that no volunteers from the pub SC
came forward for the poster so he had done it himself and asked Kalen to tweak
it. The poster will be ready for final approval today or tomorrow. The brochure
wasn't started yet, but he'll start on that tonight. He was hoping for someone
to volunteer to help out this time. 


5.4.   Constitution. Yo said there was no progress due to her current health
and personal issues. However she had sought some help in making progress while
her ability to do so was patchy. 


5.5.   Fundraising. Yo said there was no progress due to her current health and
personal issues. However she had sought some help in making progress while her
ability to do so was patchy. Katja has kindly offered to help out on sc-fund
for the time being.


5.6.   Youth. Elaine said they had finished looking into childcare and have
started to look at what a youth programme might consist of. Hopefully they will
know more by the next meeting. Yo asked if that meant it wouldn't be possible
to say anything about a youth programme in the brochure. Martijn said we can
mention it in general terms if no specifics are available. Yo was concerned
about making promises and then not delivering and that one way was to point to
a webpage with specifics to be filled in later. Martijn said it was possible
and that further discussions would take place on sc-pub. 

5.7.   Programme. Trish said that proposers had been informed of our decision
re acceptance and that there was some interest in discussion groups. She had
also asked the committee for ideas re invited presenters but had had little
feedback. She was also due to address the leisure sessions call and there had
been discussions regarding the pool. Kalen asked if she was able to compile the
programme information that was in the proposals (name, bio, summary) for the
website and information pack. She said she thought she could but she needed to
make sure she got the priorities right and she would chat with Kalen about
this. Peter also mentioned that we need to know which days different
presentations happen so that people can choose which days to attend for
days-only bookings even though it was less critical this year because the
pricing for days isn't very attractive, but obviously it needs doing reasonably

6.     Key position progress reports 

6.1.   Venue coordinator. Kalen said she had nothing to report. She had had no
communication with the venue but she had a list of questions to send them.

6.2.   Treasurer. Peter said he hadn't done anything about the accountant and
he wasn't going to persue this until after registration was open. He also
commented that when money becomes available during the year this mostly affects
funds for participant-led activities and it potentially affects merchandise,
but not much because the lead times for merchandise can be quite long. Before
registration, we have to be conservative because we are working with forecasts
about how much money we will have. Towards the end of registration, when we
know how many people are actually attending, we'll have more certain
information about our income and expenditure for the event. It is very likely
that additional funds will be available then.


6.3.   Company Secretary. Yo said everyone did the trustee declarations in good
time for the Charity application and they are with our solicitor. Now we have
to wait for the Charity Commission. She also said Elaine had taken over
responsibility for doing the minutes for the time being because of her limited
resources right now. She said she seemed to be managing the rest of her usual
responsibilities reasonably and will continue to do what she could with the
limited time and resources she could muster. However she was not able to cope
with the email re last month's item 7 right now and would appreciate someone
taking this job. Kalen said she would like to talk about this on list.


6.4.   Chair. Kalen said that overall progress at this point is fine. She had
no significant concerns other than getting registration open on the agreed


7.     Any other business.


Stephen asked if it was desirable to add the working groups (with or without
the newsletter) to the getting involved page of the website. It was agreed it
was and Martijn offered to do this.


Meeting closed at 14.30 BST