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 - 2018 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 had 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 has no 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.
The 2019 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. (Specifically, we need to create a separate not-for profit trading company). The UKPA trustees felt that there was not enough time to be confident of completing that process before the 2019 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 2019, we will hold the AGM of the UK Python Association where we will elect the Board of Trustees.
Anyone attending the 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 2020 conference - whichever is sooner.