Corporate Board minutes: June 2018

Minutes from the 5 June 2018 meeting of the Corporate Board (formerly the Executive Board) chaired by the Permanent Secretary.

This document is part of a collection

Attendees and apologies


  • Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary (Chair)
  • Barbara Allison, Director of Communications, Ministerial Support and Facilities
  • Sarah Davidson, DG Organisational Development and Operations
  • Liz Ditchburn, DG Economy
  • Paul Gray, DG Health and Social Care
  • Annie Gunner Logan, Non-Executive Director
  • Janet Hamblin, Non-Executive Director
  • Ronnie Hinds, Non-Executive Director
  • Paul Johnston, DG Education, Communities and Justice
  • Hugh McKay, Non-Executive Director
  • 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

  • Maureen Bruce, Deputy Director, People Development
  • David Patel, Deputy Director, People Services
  • Helen Paterson, Head of Workforce Strategy
  • David Rogers, Director of Strategy and Constitution
  • Penny Sim, Constitution and UK Relations Division


  • Helen Buckley, ET Support and Governance Office
  • Julie Humphreys, Board Secretary
  • Joanne Ward, ET Support and Governance Office


  • none

Items and actions

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

1. The Chair welcomed everyone to Corporate Board (CB). No apologies nor declarations of interest were noted.

2. The minutes of the last meeting on 17 April were cleared without comment.

3. Sarah Davidson provided an update on the Balance Scorecard item on the action tracker. The significantly improved data had been used and tested during DG Assurance meetings. Members recognised the importance of using the material to assist future decision making.

Item 2: Permanent Secretary’s overview report

4. The Chair provided an overview of areas of current corporate significance including the forthcoming Non-Executive Director recruitment exercise, the current external B Band recruitment exercise and the passing of the Social Security Bill.

Item 3: Financial stewardship

5. Gordon Wales provided Board members with an overview of the 2017-18 provisional outturn which was currently in the process of being finalised.

6. In discussion the Board noted:

  • that the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Constitution will provide the provisional outturn to Parliament on the 21 June 2018

  • the diversity and complexities of the annual accounts process, in particular, when considering tax, Scottish reserve and borrowing powers

  • finance colleagues will be taking forward a number of forecasting improvement initiatives over the coming months involving colleagues across the organisation

  • The Scottish Reserve is being utilised to carry forward all the fiscal DEL underspend and

  • forecasting to remain a key area of focus within the DG Assurance space.

Item 4: Workforce: capacity and capability

7. The Chair welcomed Maureen Bruce, David Patel, Helen Paterson, David Rogers and Penny Sim to CB.

8. Sarah Davidson and Ken Thomson jointly introduced the discussion. Sarah Davidson set out the strong connections between their respective Accountable Officer responsibilities for the work undertaken by People Directorate, overseen by the People Board, and that of the Strategy and Constitution and External Affairs Directorates, overseen by the Constitution and Europe Programme Board. Feedback was provided with from the recent Directors Quarterly meeting which had considered capacity and capability.

9. Ken Thomson placed the discussion in the context of challenges posed by EU Exit, our priorities and preparedness. Following an initial Cabinet discussion there would be further opportunities for DGs to discuss priorities, and approach, with Cabinet Secretaries.

10. The Board’s views were sought on the themes: What and How to Change; Challenges (short and longer term) and Next Steps.

In discussion the Board noted:

  • the organisational challenges inherent in maintaining high levels of competence while simultaneously delivering an ambitious Programme for Government (PfG); the National Performance Framework outcomes; implementation of further powers and readiness for EU Exit

  • uncertainty around EU Exit remains one of the biggest challenges for the organisation with a number of outcomes possible

  • these challenges, and the implementation of further powers in particular, are placing significant demands on our organisational capacity and capability. SG2020 provides the context for our longer term Organisational Development response and it would be important to invest in the organisation’s ability to plan for, and forecast, growth at both local and corporate level

  • careful consideration should be given to how partnerships with key organisations and communities in Scotland can maximise the impact of public sector investment

  • a flexible resourcing response will be required to meet some of the immediate challenges arising from EU Exit and attracting specialist skills may be impacted by the financial offer. This should, however, be balanced with the longer term workforce planning which also needs to take place regardless of circumstances

  • the need to continue to invest in leadership capacity and resilience and

  • the importance of recognising that recruitment and the process to induct people into being fully effective civil servants requires significant investment from the organisation.

11. The Board agreed the next steps as:

  • this discussion should inform the forthcoming Cabinet Paper and feedback to CB will be provided

  • DGs should engage with their Senior Management Teams focusing on leadership and resilience. Further engagement with staff and wider stakeholders should follow

  • alternative ways of designing and implementing legislation should be considered

  • The First Minister’s Policy Delivery Unit should be consulted on the management of existing PfG commitments as well as future commitments particularly focusing on sustainable economic growth

  • in parallel, DGs should engage with Cabinet Secretaries on the Total Operating Costs model and priorities in the Brexit context and

  • work should commence to plan and shape the operating model and plan for 2019-20.

Item 5: AOB

12. No items were tabled.



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