There are a number of possible options for the Eastercon, depending on whether we want a top-down governance approach, a bottom-up support approach or a minimal approach. At present, these are some (very broad) options that I’ve identified:
- Top down
- Incorporate Eastercon as a limited company (either by shares or by guarantee) and mandate use of company services by any future Eastercon committee
- Incorporate Eastercon as a charitable incorporated organisation or charitable company (with limited liability) and mandate/encourage use of its services by any future Eastercon committee.
- Set up Eastercon as an unincorporated association or trust (with trustees responsible for the organisation – note that they then can’t enter into contracts) with responsibility for ensuring the con is held and possibly providing other services. I think this is the closest UK equivalent to WSFS (which is an unincorporated literary society)
- Place the Eastercon under the governance of the BSFA (or a similar existing group) and hope they take a hands-off approach (as the Brum Group does with Novacon)
- Bottom up
- Create a purely voluntary conrunning support group (e.g. like the LFF does for fan charities) to provide support and services to Eastercons (and others)
- Create a mutual aid society/association (possibly in the form of either a charitable company or unincorporated association) to provide support and services to con committees that join the society, recommending that all Eastercons join and sign up to a common code
- Create a profit-making business to supply services to conventions that are prepared to pay for them
- No change (you always have to consider the ‘no change’ option)
- A concerted, but informal, effort simply to produce better documentation of options for committees
There’s an interesting web page at https://www.gov.uk/charity-types-how-to-choose-a-structure on the different possible structures for a charitable organisation. However this doesn’t help with the question of whether we’re looking at a governing body or a support body, it also doesn’t help with thing like questions of scope.
If you can think of any other alternatives, please let me know in the comments.