Making Decision

The Leicester BiCon DMP

Minutes of the Decision Making Plenary
(DMP) of BiCon 2008
University of Leicester,
30th August 2008
A.    Welcome and Introduction
B.    Proposed Guideline changes
C.    Future BiCons
D.    Finance
E.    Any Other Business
A.    Welcome and Introduction
Ian W welcomed everyone and
explained the reason for the DMP and
introduced the Chair David M (DM).
David summarised where the agenda
had been displayed and that it had
been in the latest BCN special.
B.    Proposed Guideline changes
1)    David summarised the guidelines
and history of changes to the BiCon
guidelines. This included the fact that
it takes two successive BiCons to make
an amendment. This amendment was
to add a footnote to a guideline which
had passed at BiCon 2007. Last year’s
proposed guideline change.
“Proposal: to add a footnote to
Guideline B.4 as follows: ‘The intent is
not that the Equality Fund be how
unwaged people generally attend
BiCon.’”
Natalya had researched the issue of
Helping Hand Fund (HHF) payments
and felt that the added footnote
supported the spirit of this guideline.
She explained that people don’t want
charity. The prices this year took into
account this guidance and the sliding
scale was used to support
low/unwaged people to attend BiCon.
Attendees had the opportunity
to ask question/express concerns.
These were:
–    For those travelling far, would
it be possible to not only have a day
rate but a night rate? Those travelling
far for just one day find that local
accommodation is almost as expensive
as if they were booked for the whole
event. It was agreed this issue would
be looked at for future BiCons.
–    Would the footnote mean that
unemployed people could not be
helped via the Helping Hand Fund
(HHF)? It was clarified that the
footnote is a guide for organisers to
highlight the fact that unemployed
people should not have to apply to
HHF to be able to come to BiCon.
Without this footnote, it was argued
that, the BiCon organisers could set
the con rates extremely high. With
this amendment, the organising team
would be persuaded to set the rates at
a reasonable level so that people don’t
have to apply for HHF. However, this
does not exclude attendees from
applying for HHF should it be
necessary.
–    It was agreed that the note is
for the organisers however, it was
suggested that when the team decide
their sliding scale, they clarify that it
has been designed to take into
account that some attendees will be
unemployed.
–    A suggestion to further change
the wording of the guideline/footnote
to include “pricing should be set such
as…” was directed to be put to the
pre-decision making plenary next year,
as appropriate.
A vote was taken and it was
passed for the second year.
2)    A change was proposed to
guideline B10.
The current section reads:
“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.”
–    It was explained this was an
update to the original guideline to
bring it in line with current smoking
legislation. It was discussed at the
pre-decision making plenary. This
suggested change should allow the
team to create outdoor smoke free
areas whilst not constraining them. It
was commented that the current
legislation allows for smoke free areas
around doorways and certain public
outdoor spaces.
–    It was suggested that the
relevant legislation be referenced but
was agreed that the guideline changes
occur at a slower pace than that of the
legislation changes.
A vote was taken and it was passed
unanimously for the first year.
C.    Future BiCons
1)    The 2009 team introduced
themselves and confirmed that BiCon
2009    would be in Worcester on the
weekend of 20th August.
2)    The 2010 team introduced
themselves and confirmed that BiCon
2010    would also be the International
BiCon. It was hoped that by running
an International BiCon, we would be
able to demonstrate appropriate
standards of best practice to other
non-UK teams. Questions were raised
and answered:
–    Will BiCon funds be used to
pay for International attendees to
come to BiCon? It was confirmed that
2010    would be a UK BiCon first and an
International BiCon second in terms of
keeping the finances separate.
Sponsors will be approached to
support the UK and International
BiCon.
–    Would the shape of BiCon be
vastly different in terms of duration
and dates? The team are looking at
different options, one of which would
allow for an overlap: Thursday to
Saturday = International BiCon, Friday
to Monday = UK BiCon. The venue has
not yet been decided and the date is
currently anticipated to be in August
due to university campus venue
restrictions. The suggestion of the use
of holiday camps will be looked at by
the team.
–    It was not expected that
holding the International BiCon in the
UK would affect the mix of countries
represented.
–    There are currently no
guidelines for an International BiCon
team as there are for a UK BiCon team.
Should the teams running future

BiCons wish to have guidelines, it
would be their responsibility to
develop them. The 2010 BiCon will be
run according to UK BiCon guidelines.
D.    Finance
1)    Funding of resources to support
Pride and local Bi events
A request for a one off grant of £500
was put forwards to create a Bi
Resource Network consisting of
materials which could be used to
enhance bisexual visibility and
promote bisexual events (regional and
national) such as Prides and Bifests.
The organisers of this will be seeking
match funding for the £500.    There
will be a holding bank account set up
for the funds. Voluntary donations
were suggested to help this project
obtain further funding in addition to
the requested £500.
A vote was taken and it was passed by
a large majority.
2)    Funding to support the BiCon
Survey
A request for an annual sum of £100
was put forwards to support the
printing, collating and distribution of
the Bi Survey which is carried out each
BiCon. The breakdown of costs for the
last survey was given as approximately
£52 for printing, £15 for postage and
£15 for folding.
The data needs to be analysed but will
be available in an anonymous and
publically available format once it is.
Previous analysis has been published
in Bi Community News. This analysis
could be used to support the bi
community, further research and
funding to undertake research.
A vote was taken and was passed
unanimously.
3)    Surplus
Questions were raised about the
amount of funds available in surplus to
be able to support small funded
project such as the Bi Resource
Network and the Bi Survey. Whilst no
details were available yet, it was
expected that there would be a surplus
sufficient to cover the £600 requested
at this decision making plenary.
4)    BiCon Companies
The proposal put forwards was to
support the creation of two BiCon
organisations – Limited companies.
One of which would be for asset
holding, the other for liabilities.
Whilst these would be initially formed
as Limited companies, it was proposed
that one would apply for charity or
not-for-profit status.
Reasons were given why this would be
beneficial to BiCon and the bi
community:
–    Currently all BiCon monies are
held by one or two people within the
BiCon team. This would cause
problems if (for example) the team
died because all monies would be
frozen as they would be seen as
belonging to that person(s).
–    If there were any problems
with the BiCon accounts, the team
would be personally responsible for
any debts/problems.
–    If any team members had
credit problems, the BiCon monies
could be seized to pay off any debts as
it would be considered personal money
of the individual team members.
–    By having Limited companies,
the individuals would not be
personally liable for any monies.
–    Directors would need to be
appointed to the companies. A system
which would allow for fairness and
transparency would be set up to allow
for regular retiring and voting in of
new candidates for the director posts.
Directors would be responsible to the
members of the company and so would
need to act in their interests. It is
anticipated that 5 people would be
appointed initially.
–    It was suggested that people
who have attended two BiCons will be
eligible for membership of the
companies. They would be able to ask
questions and be informed about the
companies.
–    The accounts would be done
by the person who proposed creation
of these accounts and will be creating
them.
–    Various members of the
audience offered support with this, tax
and other aspects of Limited and
Charity status issues.
–    It was suggested that with
charitable status, it would be possible
to give donations/grants to relevant bi
projects.
–    It was clarified that future
BiCon teams would not be obliged to
use the companies but would have the
option to do so.
A vote was taken and it was passed
unanimously.
E.    Any Other Business
1)    A request that the opportunities
for merchandise such as t-shirts to be
created and sold at BiCons as these
are often popular with attendees.
2)    Thanks from attendees to David M
for all his hard work and organising.
3)    Thanks from attendees to Sanji for
minuting.
The decision making plenary was then
formally closed.