Corporate Board minutes: February 2019

Minutes from the 5 February 2019 meeting of the Corporate Board (formerly the Executive Board) chaired by the Permanent Secretary.

This document is part of a collection

Attendees and apologies

  1. Present

  • Leslie Evans (Chair), Permanent Secretary
  • Sarah Davidson, DG Organisational Development and Operations
  • Liz Ditchburn, DG Economy
  • Annie Gunner Logan, Non-Executive Director
  • Janet Hamblin, Non-Executive Director
  • Ronnie Hinds, Non-Executive Director
  • Paul Johnston, DG Education, Communities and Justice
  • Linda McKay, Non-Executive Director
  • Nicky Richards, Director of People
  • Alyson Stafford, DG Scottish Exchequer
  • Ken Thomson, DG Constitution and External Affairs
  • Gordon Wales, Chief Financial Officer

In attendance

  • Jonathan Curry, Deputy Director, Change and Operations
  • Gabby Pieraccini, Head of Europe and Constitution Programme Office
  • Luke Cavanagh, Corporate Analytical Services
  • Jess Rosevear, Corporate Analytical Services


  • Helen Buckley, ET Support and Governance Office
  • Emma Sinclair, ET Support and Governance Office
  • Joanne Ward, ET Support and Governance Office


  • Paul Gray, DG Health and Social Care
  • Hugh McKay, Non-Executive Director
  • Barbara Allison, Director of Communications, Ministerial Support and Facilities

Items and actions

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

1. The Chair welcomed everyone to the first Corporate Board (CB) meeting of 2019 and noted apologies from Barbara Allison, Paul Gray and Hugh McKay. No declaration of interest were noted.

2. The Chair recognised the valuable and immense contribution that Paul Gray had made to the Board and to the organisation over the past 40 years, and welcomed Malcolm Wright as Interim DG Health and Social Care pending the recruitment campaign for a permanent successor.

3. The Board noted that the CB meeting dates for 2019 were now set and confirmed in the diary.

4. The Chair updated the Board with the delay to Action point 22 which refers to the commitment to revise the Governance map and confirmed that the Executive Team Support and Governance Office (ET SGO), were working with Corporate Communications colleagues with an aim to circulating the revised governance map to CB members by the end of February.

5. Sarah Davidson provided the Board with an update in relation to Action point 28 regarding the review of the delivery and implications of new Social Security Powers that was discussed at CB on 4 September 2018. The Board noted the appointment of Kenneth Hogg which has enabled the work to commence with assistance from Ronnie Hinds. A further update will be circulated to Board members for review and comment in due course.

6. The Board agreed the minutes of the Corporate Board meeting on 6 November 2018 and noted the action tracker.

Item 2: Permanent Secretary’s overview

7. The Chair provided an overview of areas of current corporate significance including:

  • reflections on the Organisations achievements during 2018 across all DG portfolios including: the launch of Scotland’s new Social Security Agency; the expansion of Early Learning and Childcare; the Year of Young People; the refreshed National Performance Framework embedding values of equality, kindness and love; welcoming 1200 new colleagues into the organisation; delivering of the 2018/19 budget and some key commercial investments; redefining work on the economy; preparations for EU Exit; the recent Non-Executive Director recruitment exercise; and the handling of complex and high profile HR casework, all of which demonstrated the extraordinary length and breadth of activity which takes place and tests our organisation as a matter of routine
  • priorities for 2019 such as: continuing to prepare for EU Exit including threats and opportunities; the passing of the 2019/20 budget and the work that lies ahead to ensure we deliver within our means; responding to the aftermath of the recent Judicial Review; and managing the unknowns and unpredictable events
  • the organisation re-entering Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers ranked number 72

Item 3: Annual review of the Corporate Board remit

8. The Board discussed the Corporate Board Remit and agreed that the wording of the remit should be re-articulated to better reflect the role of the Board, particularly the use of language around authority, advisory and decision making.

Item 4: Financial stewardship


9. Gordon Wales provided Board members with an overview of the latest financial outlook for both 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.

10. In discussion the Board noted:

  • that there is confidence that financial balance will be delivered across all HM Treasury fiscal budget controls in 2018-2019
  • that the fiscal resource requirement to support 2019-2020 spending plans has not yet been fully identified, and there are residual unfunded high likelihood fiscal resource cost pressures to be addressed in the 2019-2020 Budget Process – the contingency position to meet the remaining balance is to draw from the Scotland Reserve
  • that work is underway to develop a strategy to manage priorities and reduce down the pressures to address the 2019-2020 overall fiscal resource budget challenge with advice to be provided to the First Minister in due course
  • that the UK Government delivered additional consequentials funding on Monday 28 January in which a proportion was allocated to Local Government, and the surplus used to help towards mitigating the budget pressures
  • that earlier in the year an amount of the resource expenditure was moved to capital expenditure which underlines the structural deficit on the resource budget
  • Brexit and Programme for Government should be used as an anchor and rationale for the budget allocation process. The prioritisation of commitments will require an opportunity to challenge the proposals

11. The Board agreed:

  • Directors General are to continue to take steps to manage down expenditure in 2018-2019 wherever possible and ensure the robustness of their spending forecasts, manage any further emerging financial risks, alert Financial Management Directorate of any surpluses or pressures that emerge on a timely basis and engage in work to address 2019-2020 budget pressures
  • to receive an update at the next CB meeting on 4 June on the outcome of discussions with Minsters relating to the 2019–2020 budget position

Item 5: Vision and strategy

EU Exit preparedness / SG2020 integrated delivery

12. Jonathon Curry and Gabby Pieraccini provided the Board with an update on how the organisation had responded to preparations for EU Exit and reflected on the alignment with the SG2020 vision.

13. In discussion the Board noted:

  • the activity that was providing assurance about the response of the organisation to EU Exit
  • the benefits from using dedicated resources to managing change and using corporate tools within local contexts
  • the opportunity to shape the organisation’s culture and respond to what we have learned from leading change through SG2020 to help support the organisation’s future development
  • the importance of communicating effectively with the organisation to ensure that people are aware of the organisational context for their work
  • the critical leadership role for DGs, in conversation with Directors, to ensure colleagues can contextualise and direct their work to the SG’s priorities

14. The Board agreed that:

  • the analysis presented was in line with the Board’s understanding of the organisation’s preparedness for EU Exit and that DGs would engage their teams around the outputs from the conversation and seek assurance from their Directors about the implementation of the support being provided for EU Exit, based on the examples contained within the presentation and the commission from Nicky Richards, utilising the EU Exit toolkit and incorporating the following points:

(a) Ensuring that there is support in place locally for those teams who are carrying the greatest volume of EU Exit work

(b) Recognising the challenge in connecting and coordinating every element of EU Exit work across the SG, but the importance of using information provided by central teams to shape workplans and in turn feedback key developments through EU Exit networks and inter-portfolio relationships

(c) Engaging those staff whose roles and responsibilities are developing as EU Exit work grows, who are not involved in the frontline EU Exit discussions, but who require more than all-staff communications

(d) Supporting teams to hold in balance the work to simultaneously secure the best outcome for Scotland from EU Exit negotiations, while preparing to mitigate the impacts of other outcomes

Item 6: Organisational health

Balanced scorecard

15. The Chair welcomed Luke Cavanagh and Jess Rosevear to CB.

16. Luke Cavanagh presented the latest version of the Balanced Scorecard highlighting the incorporation of ‘Turnover and Churn’ and asked CB members to indicate if there were other core metrics they would expect to see reported in every Balanced Scorecard in order to support the consideration and development of Key Performance Indictors. In addition, he highlighted other areas of key interest such as diversity, workforce planning and resourcing areas which may change less often (seasonal metrics), or are in development.

17. In discussion the Board noted that:

  • the supporting headline narrative was helpful and informative
  • DG Assurance meetings should focus on workforce planning and addressing cultural and systemic drivers of churn
  • more in-depth data on churn is currently being developed which People Board will consider and escalate for further discussion at Executive Team
  • the next financial resourcing exercise will provide a clearer assessment on both structure and affordability
  • every vacancy creates another five vacancies within the organisation creating a chain reaction
  • developing metrics for workforce planning should be a priority
  • data on grants and procurement will be included in the format, as part of efforts to demonstrate overall value for money
  • consideration should be given to how we dovetail the National Performance Framework with the Balanced Scorecard

18. The Board agreed:

  • unanimously with the core metrics presented
  • that the next CB meeting should again focus on the one or two top local / corporate issues

Item 7: AOB

19. No items were tabled.

Next meeting: Tuesday 4 June.

ET Support and Governance Office
February 2019



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St Andrew's House
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