The UK Python Association (UKPA) is a Charity registered in England and Wales. It was created in 2017 and its aims are:
To advance education for the public benefit in the use and understanding of the Python programming language within the UK by organising, presenting and promoting Python related conferences, meetings and events at venues in the UK
Anyone attending the PyCon UK conference is entitled to annual membership of the UKPA.
Up to and including 2015, PyCon UK was run by the PyCon UK Society. This was an unincorporated membership organisation that was set up early in the history of PyCon UK.
Because it was unincorporated, it was unclear who would have liability should something go wrong; the likelihood being that individuals concerned with organising and running the event would have personal liability.
As such, those of us at a planning meeting for the 2016 conference agreed to commission an investigation into the formation of a suitable incorporated entity.
That investigation recommended the formation of a not-for-profit structure known as a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG), since (among other things) it is simple to establish, and PyCon UK Society Ltd (PUKSL) was registered in early 2016. Its directors are Peter Inglesby, Kristian Glass and Zeth Green. The assets of the original PyCon UK Society were transferred to the PUKSL and its bank account was closed.
The 2016 and 2017 conferences were formally run by PyCon UK Society Ltd; PUKSL entered all the relevant contracts and was liable for any debt.
Formation of the UKPA
Although forming the CLG was the correct decision in 2016, it has a number of drawbacks:
As a limited company, it is not immediately obvious to community members, potential sponsors or the general public that PUKSL is a not-for-profit company being run for the benefit of the community.
PUKSL membership and so there is no mechanism for the community to have any influence in how the conference is organised.
Following several discussions at the 2016 conference, it was decided that we should investigate whether we could improve matters further and a decision was made to form a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) registered with the UK Charity Commission.
The UK Python Association was thus registered in June 2017 as Charity No. 1173471 with a constitution based upon a combination of a model document produced by the Charity Commission and the original constitution of the PyCon UK Society.
Trustees have control over, and legal responsibility for, a charity's management and administration. They are, in many ways, similar to Directors of a company or Governors of a school.
The main legal duties of a trustee are:
- To ensure that the charity is fulfilling its stated aims for the public benefit
- To ensure that the charity complies with its constitution and the law
- To act in the charity's best interests
- To manage the charity's resources responsibly
- To act with reasonable skill and care
- To ensure that the charity is accountable to its members
The elected trustees of the UKPA were decided at the first AGM of the UK Python Association, held at PyCon UK 2017. They were:
- Owen Campbell
- Kristian Glass
- Peter Inglesby
- Kirk Northrop
- Chloe Parkes
- Nicholas Tollervey
One further trustee, the Conference Director, is appointed by the elected trustees and, at their first trustees meeting on 29th October 2017, they appointed Daniele Procida who thus became the seventh Trustee.
In May 2018, Nicholas Tollervey resigned as a UKPA Trustee.
The 2018 conference will once again be run by PUKSL.
Although we intend to transfer the assets of PUSKL to the UKPA and for the UKPA to run the conference in future, there are tax and VAT implications which will take some time to resolve before we can do so. The UKPA trustees felt that there was not enough time to be confident of completing that process before the 2018 tickets had to go on sale and did not want to put the conference at risk by not having completed all that's required.
At PyCon UK 2018, we will hold the second AGM of the UK Python association.
Anyone attending the 2018 conference is entitled to membership of the UKPA and is thus entitled to vote at the AGM. Membership will expire after 12 months or at the 2019 conference - whichever is sooner.
We have a trustee vacancy due to the resignation and the constitution specifies that a further two trustees must retire at each AGM (but may then put themselves forward for re-election). We will, therefore, have three vacancies for which we will hold elections at the 2018 conference.
If you would like to put yourself forward for election as a UKPA trustee, please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominations must be submitted before 17:00 BST Friday 17th August, 2018.
To be eligible as a trustee you must be at least 16 years of age and not otherwise disqualified under the Charities Act.
The Charity Commission provide further detail on the responsibilities of trustees and the circumstances which might lead to disqualification in their Essential Trustee document.