Board minutes November 2018

Published: 21 February 2019
Freedom of information class: How we take decisions

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Chair   Jennifer Henderson, Keeper of the Registers of Scotland
Present Janet Egdell
Billy Harkness
Kenny Crawford
Deepa Mann-Kler
Jayne Scott
Fiona Ross
Shrin Honap
In attendance Stephen Welham
Aidan Robertson - item 5
Chris Kerr - item 5
Isla MacLeod - item 7, 10, 11 and 12
Jim McConnell - item 7, 10, 11 and 12
Greg Urquhart - item 10, 11 and 12
Paul Christie - item 12
Sharon Wilson - item 14, 15, 16 and 17
Claire Grant - item 16
Apologies None
Secretariat Lucy Walker
Jackie Malone

Introduction, apologies and declaration of interests

1. Jennifer Henderson welcomed everyone to the November RoS Board meeting. No apologies were received.

2. No declarations of interests were made.

3. Jayne Scott was nominated as the Board observer.

Minute of previous meeting

4. The minute of the meeting of 21/22 August 2018 was accepted as an accurate reflection of the meeting.

Action log

5. The board agreed that these actions are now closed:

2926, 2931, 2932, 3143, 3145, 3146, 3147, 3148, 3149, 3150, 3151, 3152, 3153, 3155, 3157, 3159, 3160, 3161, 3162, 3163, 3164, 3165, 3166, 3167, 3168, 3169, 3171, 3171 and 3172.

6. The board agreed that these actions are ongoing.

2919, 3144, 3154, 3156 and 3158.

Audit update

7. Jayne provided an update on the Audit and Risk Committee (ARC). The board noted that ARC members Chris Andrew and Stephanie Kerr had attended their final ARC meeting in November and following a successful recruitment campaign, three newly appointed ARC members were also in attendance at their first meeting. Jayne advised that the new members brought a wide range of experience and skills to complement the ARC.

8. The board noted that a new head internal auditor from SG had been allocated to RoS and the recent audits have been very thorough. The board noted that the internal audit function would be kept under review and the board would be updated on performance throughout the year.

9. The board highlighted that the supporting structure for audit internally could potentially be strengthened and suggested that consideration was given to allocating resource to support the accountable officer and head of finance.

10. Jayne highlighted that following a review of effectiveness of the ARC, the main suggestion was to strengthen the risk role of the committee and as such, the meetings in 2019 would be extended to perform deep dives into risks in order to provide assurance to the board that the executive management team (EMT) are looking into issues effectively.

11. The board thanked Jayne for the update.


12. Chris Kerr and Aidan Robertson joined the board for a discussion on transparency. Jennifer talked the board through the paper and welcomed views on the appetite for further transparency. The board questioned whether there was a demand for further transparency and highlighted that there had been a significant increase in transparency since the arrival of the new Keeper and stakeholders appear satisfied.

13. After a lengthy discussion, the general consensus of the board was that there was an appetite to explore what pragmatic steps could be taken to move towards Audit Scotland’s best practice and explore what the areas of public interest are. It was agreed that the EMT would take this forward and report to the board in due course with specific recommendations.

14. The board thanked Chris and Aidan for joining the discussion.

15. Janet talked the board through the KPI scorecard and highlighted that it was continually developing and now being shared internally. It was agreed that EMT would consider sharing the scorecard externally as part of their transparency considerations. The board noted that customer satisfaction monitoring was moving from twice a year to four times a year.

16. The board noted the current financial position and agreed that the narrative in the annual report and accounts would be helpful in explaining the conscious shift in direction of travel to clear the arrear and any associated impact.

17. The board thanked Janet for the update.

Corporate plan progress

18. Isla  MacLeod  joined  the  board  to  talk  through  the  corporate  plan progress.  The board noted that the EMT had decided to move from a three year corporate planning model to a joint 18 month detailed and five year planning model.

19. The board generally agreed with the strategic objectives outlined in the paper, however, requested that the EMT consider further whether fairer Scotland should be called out in the objectives and present their decision back at the corporate planning session in January. It was also agreed that an update paper on fairer Scotland should be presented to a future board once EMT have discussed further.

20. The board thanked Isla for the update.

Financial strategy

21. Janet presented the financial strategy and welcomed feedback. The board were impressed with the strategy and scenarios presented and thanked Janet and Stephen for their hard work in producing.

22. The board noted that it is possible to add value to risks such as the legacy estate and stressed the importance of highlighting the result of investment, such as legacy estate investment translating to protecting core systems.

23. The board discussed an emerging risk and the potential associated impact on finances. It was agreed that the board should have a further discussion around risk scenarios that RoS may wish to communicate to Ministers in due course.

24. The board thanked Janet for the update.

Risk update

25. Jim McConnell talked the board through the updated key risk register and tracker summary. The board noted the update and agreed it would be helpful to clarify the ownership and responsibilities of each of the governance groups around risk.

Risk opportunity

26. Jim provided an update on how to quantify opportunities within the risk register. The board agreed the paper was helpful and advised that they were content to support the recommendations outlined within the paper.

Risk culture feedback

27. Jim talked through the various options to assess risk culture in RoS. The board reviewed the recommendations and fully endorsed them all, with the caveat that internal audit were not embedded enough to review risk at the level described in recommendation ‘e’ and suggested that an internal audit review of the process may provide more value at this time.  The board were particularly impressed with the level of detail in the paper and agreed that recommendation ‘b’ should be carried out in December, with a view to feedback in early in the New Year.

28. The board thanked Jim for the update.

Legacy IT deep dive

29. Greg Urquhart and Paul Christie joined the board to provide an update on the Legacy IT deep dive. The board noted the work carried out to date which has allowed IT to truly understand the digital estate and create the legacy IT heat map, which is a useful tool for prioritising what needs to be replaced. The board were assured that business continuity plans were still valid and in place for the current systems, however, there was a desire to move away from these legacy systems. The board noted that ‘legacy’ was defined by the fear of change.

30. The board noted that there has been a lack of ownership of products created in the past, however, the importance of enduring ownership of products has been recognised and will be built into future products. The board agreed that this work was extremely important and stressed that there was a contingent liability if the investment wasn’t made.

31. The board thanked Greg and Paul for the update.

Current health of organisation

32. Jennifer  reminded  the  board of  the outcome of  the organisational health assessment carried out at the August board, which set the scene for the people updates that followed. The board noted that the whole organisation was currently carrying  out  the  same assessment and the results would be shared with the board when available.

Big picture update

33. Kenny provided an update on the third round of big picture sessions, which had been supported by various board members, including non- executive directors. The board noted that the feedback from staff had been very positive in relation to an increase in transparency since the arrival of the new Keeper and staff were impressed to see non-executive Directors involved in the sessions.

34. Kenny talked the board through the highlights of the feedback analysis from the sessions and agreed to share the full document with non executive directors for information.

35. The board noted that further thought is required around what we do with big pictures moving forward.  It was suggested that the narrative could be built  into  downloads, townhalls and blogs moving forward, however, a proposal would be brought to a future EMT for decision.

36. The board thanked Kenny for the update.

Strategic Workforce Planning update

37. Kenny Crawford and Claire Grant provided an update on Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP). The board noted that that the SWP project has now delivered the tools and framework to carry out the scenario planning and the buying and selling team were currently going through the process, with registration to follow next, which combined accounts for half of the organisation.

38. The board were impressed with the progress to date and highlighted the importance of linking the benefit projection, investments and financial plan into the new workforce projections in order to understand the impact of scenarios.

39. The  board  noted  that  there  would  be  a  hybrid  approach  to  the corporate plan workshop, with some real SWP workshop outputs feeding in, alongside assumptions.

40. The board agreed that the stability of the IT workforce was important in order to ensure the future capability and Shrin offered to assist with a review of the size and shape of the future of IT.

41. The board thanked Kenny and Claire for the update and for all the hard work to date.

People@RoS strategy update

42. Sharon Wilson provided an update on the People@RoS Strategy. The board noted that the EMT had approved a refresh of the current 2016-19 People@Ros  strategy in alignment with  development of  the 2019-24 Corporate Plan, which would be informed by a range of business data sets. As well as a review of current HROD activity, streamlined to focus on two or three key deliverables over the next 6-12 months, aligned to business needs.

43. The board welcomed the refresh and requested that the refreshed strategy was presented to a future board, once approved by EMT.

44. The board thanked Sharon for the update.

RoS 2030 progress

45. Jennifer provided an update on RoS 2030 progress. The board noted that the organisational health assessment was being rolled out to all staff to complete and the results will be analysed alongside the board results from the August meeting.

46. The board noted that work was ongoing to produce the outputs of the August workshop to identify the possibilities for RoS in 2030. It was agreed that the board would be updated on progress regularly and an annual review would be carried out.

47. The board agreed that it would be helpful for the financial strategy to have a scenario under each of the headings contained within the 2030 grid; New Customers,  Existing Customers,  New Products  and  Services  and Existing Products and Services.  It was suggested that the grid could also be used for investment cases and the use of standardised language would be helpful.

Civil Service People Survey results

48. The board noted that the Civil Service People Survey Results had been recalled by the Cabinet Office whilst quality assurance checks were carried out. It was agreed that the results would be circulated to non-executive directors out of committee when received and followed up with a phone call to discuss with the Keeper.

2019 meeting dates

49. The board noted the 2019 meeting dates.

Audit and Risk Committee minutes - August 2018

50. The board noted the Audit and Risk Committee Minutes.

51. The Board noted the agenda planner and requested that the order of agenda items differed during meetings throughout the year to ensure that items received a fair share of energy levels.

Board observer feedback

52. Jayne Scott advised that the board had had a very productive and full day and everyone remained engaged throughout and contributed to the conversations, which were challenging at times.

53. Jayne  complimented the  quality  of the  papers  received and  the Keeper’s ability to bring the agenda back on track after lunch. Jayne suggested that consideration should be given to the structure of future agendas to ensure that we don’t try and cover too much at one meeting, in order to guarantee that we get the best out of attendees.

54. Jennifer thanked Jayne for her observations.

Any other business

55. No other business was discussed.

Date of next meeting

56. The board noted that the next meeting was scheduled to take place on 19/20 February 2019.

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