Corporate Board minutes: September 2018

Minutes from the 4 September 2018 meeting of the Corporate Board (formerly the Executive Board) chaired by the Permanent Secretary.

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
  • Ronnie Hinds, Non-Executive Director
  • Hugh McKay, Non-Executive Director
  • Linda McKay, Non-Executive Director 
  • Nicky Richards, Director of People
  • Alyson Stafford, DG Scottish Exchequer
  • Gordon Wales, Chief Financial Officer

In attendance

  • David Patel, Deputy Director, People Services
  • Aileen Wright, Deputy Director, Corporate Reporting Accountancy & Governance Division


  • Helen Buckley, ET Support and Governance Office
  • Julie Humphreys, Board Secretary
  • Rebecca Robb, ET Support and Governance Office


  • Janet Hamblin, Non-Executive Director
  • Paul Johnston, DG Education, Communities and Justice
  • Ken Thomson, DG Constitution and External Affairs

Items and actions

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

1. The Chair welcomed everyone to the Corporate Board (CB) meeting and noted apologies from Janet Hamblin, Paul Johnston and Ken Thomson. No declarations of interest were noted.

2. The Board agreed the minutes of the last meeting on 5 June and noted the action tracker.

3. The Chair highlighted the circulation of the Balance Scorecard and Risk papers and noted that the Balance Scorecard would be an agenda item at future meetings. It was agreed that the Balance Scorecard would record trends as well as the current position.

Item 2: Permanent Secretary’s overview report

4. The Chair provided an overview of areas of current corporate significance including: the appointment of the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead, MSP; the establishment on 1 September 2018 of the new Social Security Agency and preparations to make the first payments of Carer’s Allowance Supplement; the announcement of the Programme for Government with a focus on economic growth and mental health; EU Exit and the recent travelling Cabinet to Arran.

5. The Permanent Secretary also referred to the statement that she had made on Friday 24 August, confirming the fact of two complaints which had been investigated under the Scottish Government’s Procedure for considering complaints of harassment involving current or former Ministers. For legal reasons she was unable to say more about this matter, but directed Board members to the text of her public statement and associated communications with staff.

Item 3: Financial stewardship


6. Gordon Wales provided Board members with an overview of the 2017-18 provisional outturn position, noting that there were no significant changes since the previous report to CB on 5 June 2018.

7. In discussion the Board noted:

  • the current financial position as reported
  • that the Scottish Reserve is being utilised for resource expenditure
  • the importance of ongoing robust and effective budget management across portfolios, as set out in the Budget Management Framework, which will be supported by Finance teams
  • directors General (DGs) should use their Assurance mechanisms for robust consideration of budget spend and forecasting, with input from Non-Executive Directors (NXD), to address any overspend forecasts and
  • the importance of engaging Ministers individually and collectively in relation to making sustainable spending decisions

2017-2018 draft consolidated accounts

8. Gordon Wales introduced the paper and invited CB to note the near-final draft annual accounts and agree their presentation for Scottish Government (SG) Audit and Assurance Committee (SGAAC) consideration on 24 September 2018.

9. Gordon Wales explained that the accounts reflected the expenditure, consolidated assets and liabilities within the consolidated accounting boundary including the core portfolios supported by core SG administration, Crown Office and Prosecutor Fiscal Services, Executive Agencies and the National Health Service. Discussions had taken place with Audit Scotland (AS) regarding the content of the report and a meeting to review the near-final version would take place shortly. AS had not yet provided their equivalent draft reports.

10. In discussion the Board noted:

  • the value of the NXD Network session on the accounts held on 4 September 2018
  • the position statement on the external audit of the account, issues arising and expected audit reporting
  • the opportunity to input and provide further comments by Friday 7 September
  • the current Review of the Scottish Public Finance Manual and
  • their significant thanks to Gordon Wales and Aileen Wright for their work on the annual accounts

11. The Board agreed that:

  • the National Performance Framework section of Performance Overview should be strengthened and included within the ‘The Budget Framework’ section and
  • subject to the above amendment, and any others received before 7 September, for the 2017-2018 draft annual accounts to proceed to SGAAC

Governance statement

12. Aileen Wright introduced the 2017-2018 Governance Statement paper and invited CB to confirm that it fully reflected the current state of governance within the organisation and to confirm the finalisation of the overall content.

13. In discussion the Board noted:

  • the provision of a Director Certificate of Assurance for Energy and Climate Change by DG Economy as that post was vacant at the time of submission and
  • the opportunity to input and provide further comments by Friday 7 September

14. The Board agreed:

  • Alyson Stafford would provide a narrative to support the creation of the Exchequer Board
  • to revise the Assurance Framework entry to better reflect the role the NXDs play in the Certificates of Assurance process and
  • to endorse the Governance Statement subject to the agreed amendments

Item 4: Organisational health

Delivery and Implications of new powers [Social security]

15. Sarah Davidson introduced the paper which, through the lens of the Social Security (SS) Programme, set out the impact and implications for the organisation as of implementing new powers at a time of reducing resource and provided a useful example of how cross-cutting risk was managed.

16. In discussion the Board noted:

  • Director General (DG) Organisational Development and Operations (ODO) role was designed to incorporate both SS and corporate services functions as a result of lessons learned from the impacts of past major transformational and change and service delivery projects
  • that, while Programme oversight sat within DG ODO, it was important that there was overall corporate oversight because of the SG-wide implications
  • the positive transformational impact of the development of a major operational delivery function on how SG supports people and their development, as well as SG’s culture and skills as a whole
  • the impact of the implementation of SS powers on SG resources could be characterised with as both stretch and “displacement” and was particularly apparent for corporate services such as IT; digital capacity and People Directorate support services
  • our model of employment should continue to deliver an open, capable and responsive organisation in face of major changes
  • the need to consider an holistic approach to the design and delivery of corporate services functions including support role time frames
  • the requirement for careful consideration of wave two of SS activity on the organisation, particularly at a time of other changes to the wider landscape, for example EU Exit
  • the potential learning which could be applied to support the outcomes of EU Exit, in particular any new responsibilities which may be devolved
  • the importance of data sharing within Government and the wider Public Sector
  • the need to consider who is providing the ‘independent’ input when undertaking the Review e.g. Directors external to DG ODO, NXDs to maximise learning lessons for the organisation and
  • the Review should keep a clear focus and concentrate on the implications for corporate services or SG more broadly

17. The Board endorsed the paper, agreed to the recommendation that a mid-point review should be taken forward, led by DG ODO and DG ODO Directors. Consideration should be
given to the scope and management of the review with recommendations to be reported ET and to CB at the appropriate point.

Item 5: AOB

18. No items were tabled.


Date of next meeting: Tuesday 6 November 2018.



Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road


Back to top