Board minutes June 2019

Published: 23 August 2019
Freedom of information class: How we take decisions

Our board minutes for June 2019.

Chair   Jennifer Henderson, Keeper of the Registers of Scotland
Present Janet Egdell, Accountable Officer
Kenny Crawford, Business Development Director
Chris Kerr, Registration and Policy Director
Deepa Mann-Kler, Non-Executive Director
Jayne Scott, Non-Executive Director/ARC Chair    
Andrew Harvey, Non-Executive Director
Shrin Honap, Non-Executive Director 
In attendance Head of Finance (SW)
Head of People and Change (SW) – item 5
Head of Communications (NRH) - item 5
Interim Head of Organisational Development (ND) - item 5
Interim Head of HR (CD) - item 5
Head of Risk and Information Governance (JM) - items 11 and 12
Head of Information Governance (AR) - items 11 and 12
Head of Land Register Completion (FM) - item 16
Workplace project manager (JM) - item 16
Apologies Billy Harkness, Corporate Director
Secretariat Head of Secretariat (LW)

Introduction, apologies and declaration of interests

1. Jennifer Henderson welcomed everyone to the June RoS Board meeting.  Apologies were received from Billy Harkness.

2. Janet Egdell was nominated as board observer and agreed to produce an internal blog following the meeting.

3. The board noted the outcome of the recent NED campaign and welcomed Andrew Harvey to the meeting, who had been appointed as a Board NED and was in attendance to observe the meeting in advance of his contract start date.

Minute of meeting previous meeting

4. The minute of the meeting of 2 May 2019 was accepted as an accurate reflection of the meeting.

Action log

5. The board agreed that the following actions are now closed.

3428, 3429, 3436, 3439, 3647, 3666, 3669 and 3766 – 3776

6. The board agreed that the following actions are ongoing.

3651, 3652, 3664, 3672

Audit update

7. Jayne Scott provided an overview of the recent audit and risk committee meeting. The board noted that two internal audit reports were presented to the last meeting and the recommendations made were sensible and have been actioned immediately by the relevant teams.

8. The board noted that the internal audit plan for 19/20 was presented at the last meeting and assurances were provided that it appears robust.  The board also took assurance from the deep dive on cyber security carried out at the  last  ARC  meeting and  noted  that  some  of  the  ARC  members  are specialists in this area.

9. The board noted the May ARC minutes and thanked Jayne for the update.

People workshop

10. Sharon Wilson, Carolyn Dyer, Natalie Dowey and Nicola Rose-Hughes joined the board to facilitate a People Strategy workshop, designed to engage the Board in exploration of some key elements of the designed approach to People and Change under the refreshed strategy; to further refine RoS’ model for leadership development and to showcase the new organisational approach to strategic workforce planning.

11. The board noted the recent strategic workforce plan work that had taken place, with a view to publishing a living strategic workforce plan in August. The board also noted the new approach to the big picture sessions, due to run mid-September to mid-October, resulting in the upskilling of staff in the visual communications field with a train the trainer approach.

12. The board were encouraged to hear that absence rates had decreased overt the past two years and work was ongoing to further train managers on dealing with sickness and absenteeism through a management training programme.

13. The  board  advised that  interim  measures of  success  should  be identified to ensure progress People Strategy delivery can be tracked leading up to 2024.  The board highlighted that embedding the People Strategy and ownership by the staff is fundamental to its success and suggested consideration should be given on how to quantify and evaluate that.

14. The keeper encouraged NEDs to attend a big picture session to get a feel for the issues front line staff are experiencing and advised she would consider further opportunities for NEDs to engage with staff outwith board meetings.

15. The board noted the summary of workshop discussions and thanked Sharon, Nicola, Carolyn and Natalie for running such a fantastic and engaging workshop.

Registration showcase

16. The board attended a registration showcase of TP shared plot developments.

One year at RoS

Keeper Transparency/Communication Review

17. Jennifer Henderson presented her personal reflections on changes to transparency and communications achieved during her first year as keeper. The board agreed that the increase in transparency and bespoke communications to targeted areas was a welcome move.

18. The board suggested that it would be interesting to look back in a years’ time to review the improvement to internal communications, following the investment of upskilling staff in visual communications.

19. The board cautioned whether internal engagement may reduce over time and suggested that interest in internal blogs etc should be monitored to ensure they are still providing value.

20. The board agreed that it would be helpful to segment the internal population and steer people to articles of importance or relevance to their role that otherwise may be missed on the intranet.

21. The board thanked Jennifer for the updated and agreed to accept the position and review again in 12 months’ time.

RoS publication scheme

22. Aidan Robertson provided an update on RoS’s ongoing commitment to follow the Scottish Information Commissioner’s approved Model Publication Scheme (MPS).

23. The board were supportive of a project being created to deliver an updated guide to information to publish information that   meets the requirement of the MPS and an improved level of maturity in its publication practice. The board agreed that items that can be published with little complexity over process for release should be actively published as and when deemed appropriate by the project and shouldn’t be delayed until the project concludes. For items that have complexity and sensitivities, these should be considered fully by the project and reported back to the Excutive Management Team (EMT). The board agreed that any proposal around the release of board papers specifically should be brought back to the board for consideration.

24. The board thanked Aidan for the update.

Key risk update

25. Jim McConnell presented the updated version of the key risk register. The board discussed the risk scoring and agreed that more information was required in the register to explain a shift in risk scoring – particularly to demonstrate whether the inherent risk has changed or mitigating actions have worked.

26. The board were assured to hear that a log of risk discussions at high level governance groups was being created and would be presented to future boards for noting going forward.

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

Update on the annual report and accounts

28. Janet Egdell presented the latest update on the Annual Report and Accounts and thanked everyone for the feedback received to date. Particular thanks were passed to the communications and finance teams for all the great work carried out to get it to this stage.

29. The board highlighted that RoS has no gender pay gap and agreed that this should be reported in the Annual Report and Accounts.

30. Janet welcomed any final comments by Friday 21 June 2019.

Review of KPI and Financial update

31. Stephen Welham provided an overview of the KPI and financial performance. The board noted that the KPI scorecard was still developing and only contained one month of data currently – the board were encouraged to feedback on the scorecard to further shape and improve the reporting.

32. The board noted the financial position.

MBH refurb update

33. Fiona McKie and Jenny Mitchell joined the board to provide an update on the Meadowbank House refurb and to seek permission to go ahead with the upgrade to 0 south.

34. The board visited 0 south, before being presented with the business case and visual plans to upgrade.

35. Subject to a few minor enhancements to the business case, the board were supportive of the investment, acknowledging the operational benefit to our people.

36. The board thanked Fiona and Jenny for the update.

Board effectiveness review

37. Jennifer presented the results of the board effectiveness review and welcomed further feedback and discussion from the board. The board highlighted that most results were in the neutral to positive range, which was great to see. Key areas for further improvement were highlighted as follows:-

  • further value could be added from providing early strategic challenge and input to inform activities, rather than providing retrospective input
  • longer term future strategy should be reviewed by the board annually
  • consider utilising NED expertise outwith the board – further thought to be given to governance around this
  • ensure NEDs are updated real time on key issues that arise between meetings
  • proposal on the frequency and length of future board meetings to be brought to the August board

38.  The board thanked Jennifer for the update and reiterated that the outcome of the survey presented an impressive set of results and agreed that there are lots of areas working well.

Papers for noting

39. KPI Policy - the board noted the KPI policy and agreed that it would be helpful to share the policy with staff when the KPIs are shared, in order to build awareness of how the KPIs were created and why they are important.

Board observer feedback

40. Janet Egdell advised that it had been an effective board meeting, with a great workshop on the people strategy. Janet observed that the board worked well as a group, with great discussions and constructive challenge.  Janet highlighted that it was great to hear about all the good work ongoing during the people workshop.

41. Janet highlighted that it was good to engage in activities outwith the meeting room, which assisted in keeping energy levels high throughout the day. It was noted that future showcases should be 45 minutes, as 30 minutes was too short to allow for good discussion and questions.

42. The board recognised that there was occasion for open discussion and occasion for scene setting before questioning and agreed that the discussions during the people workshop would have flowed better if questions had been held until after the initial scene setting had taken place.

43. Janet highlighted a resonant point around when staff may be interested in contributing to various strategies and the board agreed that it would be helpful to be mindful of staff desire to consult on strategies and explore when and how staff can contribute, which would further increase the transparency agenda.

44. The board thanked Janet for the feedback.

Any other business

45. No other business was discussed.

Date of next meeting

46. The board noted that the next meeting was scheduled to take place on 20 – 21 August 2019.

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