Firstly, apologies that I will not be present. I am currently visiting family.
Update on progress
I would like to make public an email sent to the Board during the week, updating them on the current progress of the Consumables group (see below). This has been updated to reflect changes in situation since time of writing. I leave the option of reading this aloud/printing and passing around to the Chair.
A budget of £200 was suggested at the last board meeting. I am assuming that this is a figure renewed every month and any allocation unspent will not be carried over to the next month (this seems the sensible option). I would like to suggest that this is too small; whilst the group will almost certainly not utilise the full amount initially, I suspect that as it grows and begins to supply more areas of the 'space the expenditure will increase to a figure greater than this. My justification for this is the recent trial run to Makro; this came to a total of just under £120 and was intended to stock the kitchen and toilets only. Whilst it is appreciated that we are only stocking a small area of the 'space and will not be restocking everything every month (a lot of items had to be restocked on this occasion), it would be easier for the group to function autonomously if we didn't need to approach the Board on a regular basis, once we expand.
I would like to suggest a monthly budget of £300, open to negotiation. As an alternative we could set the budget to £200 and review the amount in three or four months time.
Repayment of members
Currently the consumables members are paying for items and reclaiming the funds back afterwards. Is there a chance of applying for a Hackspace Consumables credit card in order to simplify the outgoing consumables payments to one invoice per month (with details on the credit card invoice)? This could be scrutinised as part of the monthly consumables update.
Given that consumables members will be utilising their own vehicles for the purpose of the group, may I request a discussion over whether these members should be allowed a small mileage payment in order to cover the cost of petrol? I would suggest 20p per mile. (I am not aware of any tax-related ramifications, but that does not mean they do not exist; I haven't gone looking for them! If this causes issues, feel free to discount the idea.)
Due to the more complicated financial arrangements within Snackspace I am not intending to include it under the remit of Consumables. (This does not prevent a pooling of resources - no point going to the same cash-and-carry twice in one day!)
The Consumables Group
There has been an amount of progress on the Consumables group. We (Lionel, "prison Liz" and myself) have begun collating a list of consumables alongside an hackspace inventory of sorts (link to list at the bottom of this email). I am intending for this group to start small, in order to get a supply and payment scheme running smoothly before expanding to eventually encompass the whole 'space. As a start, we're focusing on the kitchen and toilets, as I believe these areas have the greatest turnover of consumables (tea, kitchen roll etc.) - once this is running smoothly we can start integrating areas of the workshop.
Firstly, I intend to keep the consumables group as open as possible but most importantly, separate from the Board. This is not because I dislike you all, but I feel that the group would operate best at arms length from board and 'space politics. Hence I would request that, whilst your advice and opinions are invaluable as always, we would not accept Board members as active members of the Consumables group. This is not to say that I don't want you to get involved!
My idea is to try to arrange a regular "stocktake" on the Hack-The-Space day. This should initially take form in a printable checklist which any hackspace member can use and will result in a shopping list of items that need to be purchased. The consumables group would then "go shopping" in the time between Hack-The-Space day and the next board meeting ten days later (assuming the board meeting is moved to the second Wednesday in the month!). The latest costs and purchases can then be presented at the upcoming meeting. This would be the main function of the consumables group. Additionally, given that some items run out much faster than once a month we are considering having a mini-stocktake every open hack night, in order to check on the levels of items which have been identified to be rapidly consumed or which cannot be purchased in quantities large enough to last a month.
As a trial we have decided on a kitchen/bathroom-related shopping list for a run to Makro. Lionel visited Makro yesterday (Tuesday 2nd April) using a Makro card borrowed from David Clarke. This came to a total of approx. £118 and included; Catering (sized) coffee (and decaff) Catering tea Sugar Ketchup Cooking oil Scourers Liquid soap Air freshner Dustpan & Brush x2 Bleach Toilet cleaner rubber gloves for the toilets (not yellow to distinguish from kitchen) two colours all purpose cloths (to separate kitchen and toilets)
I've started updating the Wiki and at some point an announcement on the forum may appear, explaining the group to the world; this is most likely to occur when I get bored with my thesis. From the start I hope to be able to receive feedback and ideas, which may or may not be implemented given time, cost and manpower. With a lot of luck this will be running itself in a few months... [/optimism]
Anyway, I hope this helps to muddy the waters a little. I shall hopefully be on the IRC for discussion...