ACCUConf and BrExit

As we approach October 2018 and the Call for Proposals for ACCU 2019, a number of people have expressed some concerns about ACCU 2019 being after BrExit 2019-03-29. The issue being that post-BrExit the UK government’s apparent obsession with curtailing EU freedom of movement may lead to EU citizens having difficulties entering the UK.

When UK leaves the EU on 2018-03-29, there is a two-year transition period and as such, nothing will change immediately. Constraining EU citizen’s entry into the UK after this date is highly unlikely. If however, travel into the UK by EU citizens is constrained, a move to the same sort of visa arrangements the UK already has with non-EU nationals is the most likely scenario – either automatic entry with no visa needed as per the current arrangement with Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea and the USA; or as we do with other nationals. In the unlikely event of EU nationals travelling to the UK requiring visas, the ACCU organisers are able to send ‘Letters of Invitation’ to support visa applications through UK embassies and high commissions. We believe though this will not come to be needed.

Here is a statement agreed with Archer Yates Associates the organisation that organises the ACCU conferences:

Concerned about travel to the UK after Brexit? – ACCU firmly believes, free travel to the UK after Brexit will continue as it currently operates, as part of the agreed two-year transition period. In the event of visas being necessary, we will make available ‘Letters of Invitation’ to speakers and registered attendees to help facilitate any visa requests they may have.

And So ACCU 2019 Begins

OK so ACCU 2019 isn’t actually happening any time soon – it is scheduled for 2019-04-09 to 2019-04-13, but preparation and planning takes quite a long time. So this is really "Planning and Preparation for ACCU 2019 has Begun".

We have a nice logo. Well, obviously, it is essentially the same logo as ever but with a numeral changed and in a different colour – continuity of brand imagery has a lot going for it. We hope you like the colour – or if you are in the USA: color :-).

Of course, there can be no ACCU conference without good content, and good content requires lots of good submissions so the committee can select from them to create a great schedule. We are busy, OK I am busy, updating the submission Web application in the light of experience from last year. As there should be in any project, there is a deadline for these changes, and that is 2018-10-05. Why is that? Because that is the date of the opening of the Call for Proposals. This is really what this post is about, the Call for Proposals.

The Call for Proposals will open 2018-10-05T10:00+00:00.

The Call for Proposals will close 2018-10-26T19:00+00:00.

So as to be fair to everyone who submits, these date/times are not negotiable. Neither will there be any extensions[1]

Anyone who has an idea for an ACCU conference session should think it through, plan it, and create the proposal ready to submit it during the Call for Proposals. Details on the sort of sessions at an ACCU conference are given on the front page of the website.

You have three months. Get planning to submit.

1. If, as there was a couple of years ago, there is a problem with the submission system such that people cannot submit or amend proposals during the Call for Proposals, then appropriate negotiations or extensions will happen. I think it fair to say this is the only situation in which it would happen.

Schedule Web App

For ACCU 2017, Austin Bingham of Sixty North created an ACCU conference schedule Web application implemented in Elm. After the conference he donated the code to the ACCU Conference. Sadly, despite lots of good intentions, it has not been developed over the year. It seems though right to have it running anyway. So the ACCU 2018 schedule Web application is at

If you do want to get stuck in to helping to develop the Web app the master Git repository is at

Marriott Hotel and The News

A couple of people contacted us about this government document that was released 2018-03-09. It named The Marriott Hotel in Luton as having paid workers less than the national minimum wage. The people that contacted us were concerned that ACCU 2018 was being held at a Marriott Hotel (the Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre) and they were worried that Marriott Hotels were paying people less than the minimum wage, and that ACCU should not be associated with such a hotel.

AYA (the ACCU organisers) have had an excellent relationship with the Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre people since we moved from Oxford to Bristol, and we felt confident there was no problem with this hotel. However, we felt it prudent to ask them explicitly about this issue. For sensible reasons, rather than just make a local informal verbal statement, Marriott Hotels head office have created a formal public statement that they have authorised us to publish:

Marriott is committed to compliance with the national minimum wage. When an error was identified by a routine HMRC audit in 2015, we cooperated fully with HMRC and promptly reimbursed all those affected. We apologised to all our associates impacted by this error and have taken steps to ensure it cannot happen again.

This relates to technical underpayments made in 2015 where some hotels made deductions from wages for live-in accommodation or late-night taxi services. Despite acting in good faith, and with full consent from associates, these deductions were not permissible by HMRC as they lowered the impacted associates’ salary below minimum wage.

When Marriott first became aware of the issue, we immediately suspended all non-statutory deductions. We have since updated our payroll processes so this cannot happen again.

I would like to thank the Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre staff for taking our enquiry seriously, and not only giving AYA verbal assurances, but also "escalating" things so as to get this public statement for us to publish and so explicitly answer the concerns of the people who original raised the issue. Not only can ACCU 2018 go ahead in full knowledge there isn’t an issue, we can continue with our plans for 2019.

Session timetable swap

There has been lots of activity in ACCU organising over the last two months, but we failed to tell people the news. Our "There is a month to go" resolution is to report more news.

The news of the moment is that we have swapped a couple of sessions: Eoin Woods' session "Common Webapp Vulnerabilities and What to Do About Them" has moved from Wednesday 2018-04-11T16:00+01:00 to Thursday 2018-04-12T16:00+01:00, and Florian Gilcher’s session "Three years of Rust – A look around" has moved a day forward and will be where Eoin’s session was, i.e. it’s a straight swap of schedule slot.

As ever the current state of the schedule is at

Sorry We're Late

Due to some circumstances beyond our control, but also some problems at our end, we failed to meet the posted deadlines of 2018-01-12 for notification, and 2018-01-19 for publishing the schedule.

We have slipped everything by a week from today and should have everything sorted and published by 2018-01-29, but hopefully sooner.


First Decisions Made

So the ACCU 2018 call for session proposals ended 2017-11-17T23:59+00:00 exactly as anticipated. The committee then went through all the proposals and scored them and, if appropriate, added a comment or two. Also a number of irritants and glitches with the system were noted and added as issues to the source repository[1].

The committee met, some physically, some via video call, a couple of people had to send their apologies for absence, in Reading Saturday 2017-12-02 to review the situation, and make decisions. Some of the decisions were very hard to make since we had many more excellent session proposals than we have space for in the conference schedule.

It is now necessary to transfer the decisions made into data in the database, make all the consistency and correctness checks, and then we can begin the process of informing people of the results, and doing the sub-editing on scheduled proposals so the session data can be published. Despite the improvements made to the system compared to last year, this remains a non-trivial activity. The question is whether things are ready to send out notifications of acceptance before the Winter Solstice, Christmas, Hogmanay, New Year holiday period. Just at the moment it is not possible to tell.

1. If anyone who used the system and had irritants or spotted glitches with it, or indeed has suggestions for improvements, please feel free to add issues so we can make the system better for next year.

Registration is Open

Archer Yates Associates, who are the people who collaborate with ACCU to put on ACCU conferences, have opened up registration for ACCU 2018. Thus are people able to get tickets for ACCU 2018 as Winter Solstice / Christmas / whatever-your-end-of-calendar-year-holiday-is-labelled presents for themselves and/or others.

True, the schedule is yet to be decided, but we do know Gen Ashley, Hadi Hariri, Seb Rose, and Lisa Lippincott will be presenting keynotes. We also know there will be full day pre-conference tutorials, and lots of great sessions. And social stuff.

Buy now, enjoy later. Register here.

The 2018 Keynotes

We are very pleased to be able to announce that the keynote speakers for ACCU 2018 will be: Gen Ashley, Hadi Hariri, Seb Rose, and Lisa Lippincott. We’re collecting titles, blurbs, and bios and will have a webpage with the details very soon now.

Move the Conference Dinner?

A number of people at ACCU 2017 suggested that it would have been much better to have had the Conference Dinner on the Thursday and the Bloomberg Party on the Friday, instead of the other way around. The ACCU Conference Committee couldn’t see any reason why not try doing this as an experiment. However, we have no idea how many people prefer the way it is as we had no feedback that it was right the way it was. We are currently organising with the new format, unless enough people think it is a bad idea. You know who to email if you have a view.