Board minutes August 2019

Published: 14 November 2019
Freedom of information class: How we take decisions

Our board minutes for August 2019.

Chair   Jennifer Henderson, Keeper of the Registers of Scotland
Present Janet Egdell, (items 3 - 16)
Billy Harkness
Kenny Crawford
Chris Kerr
Deepa Mann-Kler
Jayne Scott
Shrin Honap
Andrew Miller
In attendance Stephen Boyle (items 1 - 6)
Jim McConnell (items 7 and 12 - 15)
Trevor Burridge (item 12)
Sharon Wilson (item 12)
Nicola Rose-Hughes (item 12)
Euan McGalliard (item 12)
Paul Christie (item 13)
Alan Howie (item 13)
Stephen Welham (item 13)
Katherine Falconer (items 13 and 17)
Hilary Brownlie (item 15 and day 2 item 7)
Stephanie Brown (item 15 and day 2 item 7)
Craig Gardner (item 16)
Anne Godfrey (item 16)
Fiona McKie (item 16)
Stevie Simpson (item 16)
Keith Blackie (day 2, item 2)
John Jamieson (day 2, item 2)
Carolyn Dyer (day 2, item 5)
Barry Mullan (day 2, item 7)
Apologies Andrew Harvey
Secretariat Lucy Walker

Introduction, apologies and declaration of interests

1. Jennifer Henderson welcomed everyone to the August RoS Board meeting. Apologies were received from Andrew Harvey.

2. A warm welcome was extended to Andrew Miller at his first RoS Board meeting as a newly appointed Non-Executive Director and to Stephen Boyle, who joined the meeting to present the Audit Scotland Annual Audit Report.

Minute of meeting previous meeting

3. The minute of the meeting of 18 June 2019 was accepted as an accurate reflection of the meeting.

Action log

4. The board agreed that the following actions are now closed:

3651, 3652, 3672 – 3871, 3873, 3875 – 3877 and 3879 - 3882

5. The board agreed that the following actions are ongoing:

3664, 3872, 3874 and 3878.

Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) annual report

6. Jayne Scott talked the board through the ARC Annual Report.

7. The board noted that there had been a change of Internal Auditor this year and the handover from the outgoing auditor had worked well.  The board noted that the reports from the new internal auditors have been reviewed and continuously improved throughout the year through regular feedback.

8. The  board  noted  that  the  head  of  internal  audit  had  provided  a reasonable assurance level for 2018/19, which was a welcomed outcome by the ARC.

9. The board noted the areas that the ARC planned to focus on for 19/20 in addition to its usual programme of work, including scrutiny of any issues referred to it by the Board.

10. The board noted that Jayne Scott would step down as the current Chair of the ARC in August 2020 and Andrew Harvey would take over as Chair in September 2020 and an effective transition would be a key area of focus leading up to this transition.

11. The board approved the updated ARC Terms of Reference.

12. The board thanked Jayne for the update.

Audit Scotland update

13. Stephen Boyle provided an overview of  the Audit Scotland  Annual Audit Report Covering Letter and 2018-19 Draft Annual Audit Report.

14. The board noted the key messages contained within the annual audit report and ways in which the annual report and accounts could be improved for future reporting.

15. The  board  highlighted  that  the five year corporate  plan  will  be important in highlighting where we are going alongside the ARA to report on where we have got to for future reporting.

16. The board agreed that it might be helpful to embrace technology to fulfil the recommendations, as it is challenging to include so many elements into one document and that an early discussion would be had to consider how to improve the ARA for next year.

17. The board thanked Stephen for joining the meeting to present these reports.

Annual reports and accounts final

18. Janet presented the annual report and accounts to the board for consideration. Janet thanked the Non-Executive Directors (NED) and Audit and Risk Committee Members for their input during the process. Thanks were also extended to the Finance and Communications teams for their hard work in pulling this together.

19. The board agreed they were content to approve the Annual Reports and Accounts 2018/19.

Key risk update

20. Jim McConnell presented the updated version of the key risk register. The board noted that the risk register would be moving to an Excel format to make it more user friendly.

21. The  board  noted  that  the  Risk  Assurance  Framework  would  be presented to the October board.

22. The board noted that a good discussion was had at the Audit and Risk Committee around risk scoring and more work was required to ensure target scores aren’t overly optimistic.

23. The board noted that KPIs that go off track and aren’t able to make it back on track by the target date will be monitored and may be added as a risk.

24. The board agreed they were content with the current risk register and thanked Jim for the update.

Review of KPI/financial data

25. Stephen Welham provided an overview of the KPI and financial performance. The board noted that the KPIs would be discussed in detail later on in the afternoon.

26. The board noted the latest financial position.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Platform

27. Billy Harkness presented the virtual desktop infrastructure platform request. The board noted that the proposal was discussed in detail at the Business Portfolio Board (BPB) and Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting, who are proposing that the request should be approved by the board - which has been remitted due to the costs associated.

28. The board were content that the BPB and EMT had carried out an in depth review of the costs and benefits associated, and that the anticipated cost had been included in the FY19/20 budget which had been approved by the Board, and therefore approved the spend on their recommendation.

Board meetings proposal

29. Jennifer presented the 2020 board meeting proposal.

30. The board were supportive of the dates, frequency and agenda topics suggested, although asked that budget setting is called out as a specific agenda item, separate to the corporate plan review, at appropriate times throughout the year.

31. The board were broadly content to alternate meetings between Meadowbank House and St Vincent Plaza, however, suggested that meetings could be held in partner venues on occasion and it was agreed that this would be kept in mind when arranging the meetings.

C2 KPI updates

32. The C2’s joined the meeting to provide an update on KPI Progress to date, using data from the KPI Dashboard available for April - June.

33. IT Staffing – the board noted that there was a desire to rearticulate the wording to make it easier to measure success. The board were broadly supportive of this change and noted that this would be formally agreed at the Q2 EMT Review.

34. Investors in People – the board noted the IIP progress to date.

35. Civil Service People Survey (CSPS)/Engagement – the board noted that a pulse survey took place in July, in which 871 colleagues participated. The board noted the high level results of the pulse survey and looked forward to seeing the annual CSPS results at a future board.

36. Carbon Footprint and Paper Reduction – the board noted the actions that had taken place to date and future plans and that this KPI is on track to be met.

37. Service Availability – the board noted that online service availability is currently at 99.6% and commented that a lot of work has taken place to reach this percentage of success, which is a huge achievement.  The board praised the teams involved.

38. Statutory Product Unit Cost – the board noted that this was off track at the moment, mainly due to the 6% pension cost increase absorbed by the business. Some positive factors and opportunities were highlighted to the board that could be used to get this KPI back on track.

39. Data Quality – the board noted that one part of this KPI had slipped slightly, but the trend is upward. The board noted the current and planned actions to get this KPI back on track. The board noted that work was ongoing with five registry colleagues to compare quality measures.

40. Non Statutory Revenues and Return – the board noted the challenges surrounding this KPI and agreed to keep it in mind when reviewing pricing later in the day.

41. Customer Experience – the board noted that this KPI was currently reporting amber, but was on track to report green by Q3.

42. Digital Improvements – the board noted that this KPI was reporting amber/green,  but  the trend  is  upward on  both measures. The  board discussed the difficulties associated with this KPI and noted that the KPI may be reframed at the Q2 review.

43. Customer Effort –  the board noted the customer effort scores and trends and requested to see a more holistic view over and above statutory services.

44. ScotLIS – the board noted that this KPI has exceeded its target and therefore the intention is to reframe the KPI, which will be brought to the Q2 review for approval.

45. Service Standards – the board noted the 9 measures for this KPI and that the volumes of casework concerned are very different. The board agreed that more work was required around external communications to inform the customer that a registration case in the arrear won’t prevent them from doing anything, such as re-mortgaging, selling etc. and to make customers aware of the expedite route where required.

46. Rejections – the board noted that this KPI target is tied to the arrear eradication and work was ongoing to work collaboratively with solicitors to avoid rejection after 3 months if legally possible.

47. Land Mass Coverage – the board noted the LRC update and were supportive of the next steps proposed.

48. Arrear – the board noted that backlog growth is on track to be arrested. Prior to interventions taken over the last year over 250 applications per week were being added to the arrear and this has been reduced to 4 for the current week, which is a positive result. The board noted the next steps.

49. The board thanked the C2s for the updates on KPIs and noted that future boards would focus solely on KPIs that have changed, or are not on track to seek board endorsement or input.

Future pricing options

50. Katherine Falconer joined the board to facilitate a discussion on future pricing options.

51. The board discussed benchmark pricing and noted the difficulties due to the unique nature of Registers of Scotland’s business.

52. The board discussed the options and opportunities around statutory and non-statutory fees and agreed that clarity is required around products that could be commercialised in the future and suggested the option of differential pricing by customer and usage type.

53. The board suggested that value added services could be developed in addition to statutory registration products. The board noted that the dataset is not complete until the land register is complete and therefore restrains the options available until 2024.

54. The  board  concluded  that  the  discussion  had  been  very  useful  to inform thinking and Katherine would consider next steps and come back to a future board for further input.

55. The board thanked Katherine for attending.

Papers for noting

56. Board Terms of Reference (ToR) – the board noted the terms of reference. No changes were made.

57. Governance Risk Discussion Tracker – the board noted the risk discussion tracker.

PCS introduction to Non-Executive Directors

58. Non-Executive Directors (NED) had a private introductory session with PCS.

NED reflections

59. The Board reconvened and the NEDs reflected what they had heard from the PCS discussions. The NEDs welcomed the opportunity to meet with PCS and were supportive of another session in six months’ time.

Strategic Workforce Plan

60. Kenny Crawford and Carolyn Dyer updated the board on Strategic Workforce Planning activities to date.

61. Kenny talked the board through an overview of the project, next steps and presented an example summary matrix. The board noted that RoS are looking to carry out skills assessments in order to talent map and recognise skillsets across the organisation.

62. The board highlighted the importance of managers recognising talent and having confidence to release talented individuals to allow them to take on opportunities and broaden their skill sets. The board also stressed the importance of managing performance effectively to ensure optimum performance is achieved.

63. The board agreed that the skills assessment work would be helpful alongside corporate planning and suggested that early conversations should be had with PCS to encourage a partnership approach.

64. The board noted the observations made and were supportive of the implementation and ongoing development of the SWP for RoS.

65. The board thanked Kenny and Carolyn for the update.

Envisaging an alternative future for RoS

66. Hilary Brownlie joined the meeting and led the board through a future thinking workshop.

67. The board thanked Hilary for hosting such an engaging workshop.

Board observer feedback

68. Shrin Honap advised that the board provided good constructive discussions and challenge throughout the two days, however, occasionally got into a level of detail that wasn’t necessarily required.

69. Shrin highlighted the importance of ensuring presenters were allowed time to finish their update entirely before the board ask questions.

70. Shrin suggested that some papers and agenda slots were longer than required and it would be helpful for papers and presenters to be clearer about the input they are seeking from the Board.  The board noted that as it was an advisory board it was rarely being asked for a decision, however, agreed to consider updating the board paper template to provide clarity on what advice is sought.

71. Overall Shrin advised that it had been a constructive meeting with full board member attention and contribution.

Any other business

72. No other business was discussed.

Date of next meeting

73. The board noted that the next meeting was scheduled to take place on 22 October 2019.

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