Corporate Board minutes: February 2018

Minutes from the 6 February 2018 meeting of the Corporate Board (formerly the Executive Board) chaired by the Permanent Secretary.

Attendees and apologies


  • Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary (Chair)
  • Sarah Davidson, DG Organisational Development and Operations
  • Liz Ditchburn, DG Economy
  • Paul Gray, DG Health and Social Care
  • Paul Johnston, DG Education, Communities and Justice
  • Alyson Stafford, DG Scottish Exchequer
  • Ken Thomson, DG Constitution and External Affairs
  • Annie Gunner Logan, Non-Executive Director
  • Janet Hamblin, Non-Executive Director
  • Ronnie Hinds, Non-Executive Director
  • Linda McKay, Non-Executive Director

In Attendance

  • Barbara Allison, Director of Communications, Ministerial Support and Facilities
  • Nicky Richards, Director of People
  • Gordon Wales, Chief Financial Officer
  • Julie Humphreys, Board Secretary, Corporate Board
  • Rebecca Winterstein, ET Support Division
  • Becky Robb, ET Support Division
  • Sean Doohan, ET Support Division


  • Hugh McKay, Non-Executive Director

Items and actions

Item 1: Welcome, introductions, apologies and declarations of interest

1. The Chair welcomed everyone to the first formal meeting of the new Corporate Board and noted apologies. There were no declarations of interest.

Item 2: Minutes and actions from the previous meeting held on 05 December 2017

2. The minutes of the last meeting were cleared without comment. It was noted that as part of the refreshed Governance approach consideration would be given to the style and content of future minutes. DG Economy updated the Board on the plans for creating a new Economy Board, noting the draft proposal was with the Permanent Secretary for consideration.

Item 3: Financial stewardship

3. The Chief Financial Officer outlined the changes in the financial position following Stage 1 of the Budget Bill. These included updates to the Income Tax threshold, £172m additional government support to local government and an increase in the level of reward in relation to Public Sector pay. The Chief Financial Officer provided an overview of how these changes will be funded, reiterating the importance of managing spend in 2018/19. The Chief Financial Officer also updated the Board on work underway on due diligence in relation to relevant companies following Carillion going into administration.

4. The Board discussed governance in relation to income tax as part of the Scottish Government’s new financial powers and the impacts of taxation on the Scottish Government’s available budget. The Scottish Fiscal Exchequer Committee would be responsible for overseeing taxrelated issues and providing information and assurance to the Permanent Secretary and the Corporate Board.

That concluded the standard business of the Board.

Item 4: Ways of working

Agenda planning

5. The Board Secretary and Annie Gunner Logan, Non-Executive Director, led a workshop designed to support Corporate Board Agenda Planning.

6. The Board discussed its purpose in relation to other elements of the Governance Structure. It was agreed the Corporate Board would delegate key functions to the sub-boards, providing associated clarity on its expectations. The schedule of business for Corporate Governance meetings should therefore be designed to support these arrangements.

7. The Board considered the criteria which should be used in relation to the agenda and business of the Board. It was noted that the Board should play a key role in considering cross-cutting issues and it was agreed that the Board Secretary has a key role to play in managing the business of the Board appropriately to ensure that it was fulfilling its purpose and adding value.

8. The following items were agreed as illustrative of the kind of issues that should be considered by the Board:

  • strategic medium-term workforce planning and the future shape and size of the organisation
  • digital government – the expectations and needs of citizens and staff
  • long-term implications for the people of Scotland of leaving the EU
  • top 10 strategic risks to achievement of the agreed National Outcomes
  • inter-governmental relations
  • Corporate Board communications strategy (correspondence)

9. The Board Secretary thanked members for a useful discussion and outlined the next steps whereby the remit and associated criteria to support appropriate business for consideration by the Board would be revised. This will support the development of a forward plan for the year, working in partnership with the wider organisation. The revised papers will be shared with the Board in correspondence in advance of the next meeting for agreement.

(Action: Board Secretary)

Corporate Board - housekeeping

10. The Board Secretary introduced the Housekeeping paper, setting out proposals for the arrangements required to support the smooth running of the Board.

11. The Board agreed with proposals in relation to the commissioning process, timescales and quality of paperwork, noting that the Board Secretary would provide a supporting narrative on each Board paper to assist Board members if desired. The Board agreed the commissioning process and to explore the role of the lead NXD in supporting the lead DG in preparing papers.

(Action: Board Secretary)

12. DG Scottish Exchequer provided an overview of the planned Strategic Leadership session and agreed to provide advice to ET to consider the forward plan and how this work fits with the work of the Scottish Leaders Forum.

(Action: DG Scottish Exchequer)

13. It was noted that proposals on the membership, roles and remits of each corporate sub-board will be brought forward by the end of April, and that each sub-board will have a work plan for 2018 that will complement that of the Corporate Board.

14. The Board noted that work will begin this month (February 2018) to improve the Balanced Scorecard under the sponsorship of DG OD&O with a proto-type being modelled as a first step. It was noted that whilst this work continues, papers will include whatever data and MI is required in order to provide the relevant information to support decisions.

15. The Board Secretary set out the plans for Board Development. DG Operational Development and Organisation, Director for People and the Board Secretary are working on proposals for the twice yearly Board development slots. The Board agreed that it was important to have a range of skills and Ronnie Hinds and Hugh McKay would be able to assist as required.

16. There was a discussion about the most effective way to increase awareness of Corporate Governance, the role of the Board and the context around work plans and decisions which are made. The Board discussed a range of options and the Board Secretary agreed to consider further and provide advice.

(Action: Board Secretary)

17. The Board Secretary provided an overview of plans to recruit younger members of Scottish Government staff to the People, Place and Performance Boards as part of Year of Young People. The Board discussed the role that young people could play in relation to the Corporate Board and it was agreed DG Education, Communities and Justice would work with the Board Secretary to develop a proposal for the Board to consider.

(Action: DG Education, Communities and Justice/ Board Secretary)

Item 5: Reflections on meeting

18. The Board felt that a good discussion had taken place, helping members to consider how the Board would operate going forward. Members thanked the Board Secretary and Annie Gunner Logan for their support in shaping the meeting.

Item 6: AOB

It was noted that the first full meeting of the Board would be April to allow the necessary planning to take place in advance.



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