Minutes from the BiCon Decision Making Plenary (DMP) 2007

Chair: David M
Minute taker: Sanji Babes

1) Welcome and Finances

Everyone was welcomed to the decision making plenary.

Impromptu 2007 team report

The treasurer for BiCon 2007, announced that BiCon this year will be handing on approximately £2,000 less to future BiCons than they received from previous BiCons. This was seen as a positive development, since BiCon has accrued approximately £11,000 in surplus over the years, and so spending this on making BiCon less expensive was a good thing. Of this £2,000, approximately £1,700 was used by the Helping Hand Fund.

Efforts are made to break even financially and this will be helped in the future by the increasing accuracy of financial records. The accounts will be published within the next 3 months. Paul C agreed to include financial projections within this.

2) Proposed change(s), discussion and vote

The change proposed was to add a footnote to the guideline B.4:
“BiCon should be made as accessible as possible to people on low incomes and/or with special needs. Means should include a variable price scheme/sliding scale, an Equality Fund and one-day tickets. These methods should all be well publicised. The Equality Fund should be used to remove or alleviate obstacles that could prevent people from attending BiCon.”

The wording of the footnote was:
“The intent is not that the Equality Fund be how unwaged people generally attend BiCon.”
This arose from the decision making workshop (also known as the pre-“decision making plenary” workshop) where participants expressed concerns about the use of the Helping Hand Funds.

BiCon attendees were invited to give their views to the rest of the plenary on whether the change to the footnotes should be passed or not.

The main concerns raised were around:
– the wording of the proposed change
– whether footnotes to the guidelines are voted on (it was agreed that they are)
– use of the Helping Hand Fund to support unwaged attendees rather than being an additional support
– greater and more accurate use of the sliding scale to facilitate the attendance and support of unwaged and low waged attendees
– the Helping Hand being should be used for exceptional cases
– support for people with a disability who may be unwaged because of that disability
– changing circumstances of an attendee between first payment and the first day of Bicon
– need for instalment payments

David M brought discussions to a close and read out the proposed footnote once more before voting took place.

A vote was taken and it was passed by a majority.

3) Future BiCons

Future BiCon organisers were asked to come to the front of the room and introduce themselves.

BiCon 2008

Organisers are Ian, Katy and Natalya. They requested support and suggestions for next year. An A5 leaflet was handed out which requested that BiCon attendees complete and pass back to Ian or Natalya.

BiCon 2009

Organiser is Martin. He asked for volunteers to support him. Suggested venue was Midlands or Manchester.

BiCon 2010

Organisers are Marcus, Hessie and David. It was announced that this will also be the International BiCon. A venue would be considered nearer the time.

4) Any Other Business

Issues raised:
a) How BiCon attendees could support the International BiCon organisers.

b) The sliding scale issue would be minuted and raised at next year’s decision making workshop.

c) Requests for more focus on marketing and publicity for BiCon.

d) Suggestions for the Helping Hand Fund and accessibility issues were requested.

e) Setting up of a Livejournal forum to discuss accessibility issues and collect best practice to try and avoid future problems in this area.

f) Apologies and an explanation were given for a delay in getting the 2005 finances to the 2006 team and the problems this caused. It was confirmed that there was a £3,500 surplus from the 2005 BiCon which would be added to the 2006 accounts within the next few weeks. As soon as this occurs, the 2006 team agreed to transfer the total funds to the 2007 accounts once they had received the bank account details.

g) Requests made to schedule and promote the decision making workshop (also known as the pre-“decision making plenary” workshop) more prominently in order to allow better attendance.

5) Close

David M thanked everyone for attending.