Minutes from the BiCon Decision Making Plenary (DMP) 2009

University of Worcester, 23rd August 2009


A. Welcome and Introduction
B. Reports on BiCon funded projects
C. BiCon 2008 accounts
D. Proposed Guideline changes
E. Future BiCons
F. Funding requests
G. Any Other Business

A. Welcome and Introduction

David M welcomed everyone and explained the reason for the DMP. He summarised where the agenda had been displayed and the format of the DMP.

B. Reports on BiCon funded projects

There were two reports given following on from the 2008 DMP. As the relevant people running each project were not able to attend BiCon, Natalya reported on their behalf. Attendees were reminded that Natalya was reporting only and did not have in-depth knowledge of each project, therefore, an detailed questions would need to be directed via email for later discussion.

i) Bi at Prides funding.

BiCon funded activities to enable a bisexual presence at Prides across the UK, thereby improving bi visibility. They were allowed to utilize a maximum of £500 from BiCon funds and also raised £40 via bucket donations.
The amount actually spent was £398.90 and no additional BiCon funds were given above this amount. This funded presence at several Prides across the UK and materials such as leaflets, purple umbrellas and banners.
A more detailed report will be available on the BiCon website and potentially in BCN.

Saxey was thanked for her hard work and it was noted that the purple umbrellas idea was very successful.

ii) Bi Asset Management Companies

Work has been done to investigate the practicalities and legalities of setting up a BiCon asset management company, with a view to setting up the company before BiCon 2010. Issues raised as potential concerns during this investigation included the public availability of members’ names and addresses. This could have resulted in some people being unable to be members because they were not publically “out” and therefore, disadvantaging them by not allowing them to be members without being “out”.
Work is on hold until October 2009 because of new changes and legislation around the formation of companies and charities.

The Chair encouraged anyone wanting to report back work being done outside of BiCon that relates to BiCon and bi visibility, to share it at future DMPs.

C. BiCon 2008 Accounts

Ian W summarised the BiCon 2008 accounts.
They inherited £8800 from previous BiCons and made £3200 surplus. This meant a total of £12,100 was passed on to future teams. Current liquid assets are approximately £4100 (this does not include the monies which have been allocated to 2009 and 2010 BiCons). The accounts will soon be on the BiCon website in more details.

D. Proposed Guideline changes

David M explained that BiCon guidelines were created in 1998 are in place to support BiCon organisers to run a BiCon. Changes are rare but when they are needed, must be passed two years in a row for the guidelines to be amended.

Changes from 2008 DMP

The amendment to the smoking guideline was passed in 2008 and was put to the DMP attendees for a second year as per the two year rule.

The original section read: “All session rooms should be non-smoking and consideration should be given to allocating non-smoking social space.”
This was proposed to be changed to: “All indoor space at BiCon will be non-smoking, and consideration should be given to allocating non-smoking outdoor space.”

Attendees were asked for comments on the proposed change and other than one attendee joking regarding making all rooms smoking (which goes against current UK legislation), no further comments were made.

VOTE: Unanimously passed.

E. Future BiCons

Marcus M represented the 2010 team. He updated everyone on the following:
– Venue: expecting to have the UEL campus in London Docklands again. This was previously used in 2003. However, in 2010 it will be in different accommodation but in a compact and central part of the campus.

– International BiCon: International BiCons happen every two years. Unfortunately, the last one did not take place and the one previous to that did not follow a model similar to the UK one in terms of social and networking aspects. The 2010 BiCon will be the host International BiCon. It is hoped that by using the UK model of BiCon, best practice will be demonstrated for future International BiCon organisers.

– Registration: People can register now for UK BiCon 2010 or IBiCon and full online registration should be available by mid-December. As it will be in London, it is expected that prices will be higher than those of 2009. Therefore, payment in instalments will be set up to allow delegates to pay in as much as they can when they can, before the event.

– Team members are: Marcus M (team leader), David M (venue liaison), Hessie (finance), Ryan (programme), Katy H (co-ordination), Dave W (website) , Meg and Christina (BiReCon).

– Dates: The UK and International BiCons will be run in a combined manner starting with BiReCon on Thursday 26th August 2010 till Monday 30th August 2010. They will not be two separate events. It will be possible to book for the full event as well as specific days if desired.

– Sessions: suggestions for sessions and other aspects of UK and International BiCon 2010 are welcomed and should be directed to Marcus M.

– Attendance numbers: Whilst the venue can hold approximately 1000 delegates, it is expected to only have 300-400 attendees.

F. Funding requests

Two requests for funding were put to the BiCon attendees.

i) Regional Pride Packs

Sanji requested funding to a maximum of £780 for the creation of 7 Pride packs to cover various regions within the UK. These packs would consist of: a pull-up banner, a banner for marching, a tablecloth and purple umbrellas. They would be stored in the seven regions: West Midlands, Brighton, London, Manchester, Scotland, West Yorkshire and Wales.

This would allow people across the UK to be able to access the materials without having to travel across the countries to get them.

Comments were made from delegates on:
– the usefulness of the packs for local groups
– the potential that some local groups might be able to get funding and might not need the packs. In which case, packs would not be created
The packs would be created before mid-December and available for use once ordered.

VOTE: 1 abstention, unanimously passed

ii) BiWales BiFest

Ele requested £500 towards the cost of running BiFest Wales. It would be a loan to cover the minimum costs which would be repaid back to BiCon over a two year period. By doing so, this would allow BiFest to gather enough surplus to not need another loan and therefore be sustainable.

It was clarified that funding from other sources is actively being sought with funding bids being submitted, sponsorship being negotiated and fundraising through collections and donations to be carried out. The organisers BiWales have significant experience in fundraising – Ele in particular. Therefore, a positive outcome was hoped for in terms of additional funding from non-BiCon sources.

Entry charge to the event would be £5 (unwaged)/£10 (waged) based on the costs of other BiFests. Market research had already been carried out to demonstrate that at least 50 people are expected to attend. It would be run in April 2010 in order to not clash with other BiFests. The venue is currently being negotiated but would be an educational establishment.

Comments were made from delegates on whether it should be a grant or a loan in order to support the sustainability of this BiFest. It was agreed that initially it would be a loan and if other funding were not forthcoming, the DMP could consider a request for it to be considered a non-repayable grant.

VOTE: Unanimously passed.

G. Any Other Business

There was no other business.

Thanks to David M for all his hard work and organising.

Thanks to Sanji for minuting. The decision making plenary was then formally closed and it was confirmed that minutes would be available in BCN and on the BiCon website.