Education Reform Programme Board minutes: April 2023

Minutes of the meeting on 18 April 2023

This document is part of a collection

Attendees and apologies

Attendees and apologies  

  • Clare Hicks (CH)
  • Fiona Robertson (FR)
  • Gillian Hamilton (GH)
  • Matthew Sweeney (MS)
  • Des Murray (DM)
  • Douglas Hutchison (DH)
  • John Wilson (JW)
  • Graeme Logan (GL)
  • Andrew Watson (AW)
  • Geoff Huggins (GeH)
  • Stephen Kerr (SK)
  • Jenny Stewart (JS)
  • Robert Malpass (RM)
  • Tibs Zaheer (TZ)
  • Ken Muir (KM)
  • Louise Hayward (LH
  • Lisa Bird (LB)
  • Liz McGrath (LMcG)
  • Mike Baxter (MB)
  • Patricia Watson (PW)
  • Janie McManus (JM)
  • Chris Dunne (CD)
  • Sarah Hart (SH)


  • Laura Cavan (LC)
  • Adela Mansur (AM)
  • Stephen Pathirana (SP)
  • Laura Murdoch (LM)
  • Nicky Richards (NR


  • Sean Stronach (SS)
  • Elizabeth Morrison (EM)
  • Neil Cardwell (NC)
  • Kieran Watson (KW)


  • Gill Winters (GW)

Items and actions

Summary of decisions and action points

  • CD to review terminology used in model - PB18042023-AP75
  • PMO to include a finance risk deep dive session at next Programme Board (PB) - PB18042023-AP76
  • Board to provide feedback on Roles and Responsibilities progress, particularly on any gaps within the themes and principles (PMO to circulate slide deck) - PB18042023-AP77
  • PMO to add further update on Roles and Responsibilities to a future PB agenda - PB18042023-AP78
  • GL to arrange a further discussion with JW on workforce planning - PB18042023-AP79

Welcome and introductions

CH welcomed members to the 11th meeting of the Programme Board and noted apologies. CH highlighted new board members Janie McManus and Patricia Watson, who have taken on the Delivery Director role for each of the two new Delivery Boards; Janie for the new Inspectorate and Patricia for the new Agency. CH also highlighted new board member Mike Baxter, who chairs the New Qualifications Body Delivery Board. 

CH referred to the appointment of the new First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills and their continuing commitment to this agenda.  Introductory meetings with board members and wider education stakeholders are underway.

Minutes and actions from PB10

Minutes from the 10th Programme Board meeting were issued on 6 March 2023. Comments were received via correspondence and minutes now marked as approved. RAE took Programme Board through actions in the log. Out of eleven actions, seven have closed and four remain open/ongoing. 

Outline business case approach

CD gave an overview of the approach to the Outline Business Case (OBC). Areas of dependency required for the OBC development were presented. The relationship of these dependencies to areas of the OBC were also shown. It was noted that these dependencies and their expected delivery dates inform the timeline for delivery of the OBC. The timely delivery of the Target Operating Models (TOMs) was highlighted as the most important dependency. Assuming all dependencies are addressed, a draft OBC will be presented to the Board in August. Any slippages in dependencies will impact on the timing of draft OBC being presented to the Board.

The Board welcomed this update and noted the importance of the project definition of roles and responsibilities and the Financial Memorandum for the Education Bill. It was highlighted that there is a tight timeframe between the New Qualifications Body TOM submission and OBC draft deadline. The Board was assured that there were various review points prior to the submission to manage the risk of delays.

Benefits model update

CD updated the Board on the development of the Benefits Model which was revised following comments received at the last Board and via subsequent correspondence. The model will be assured by analytical colleagues and will then be baselined by the SRO (Senior Responsible Officer). It is expected there will be further iterations of the model and a more detailed PPM (Programme and Project Management) Benefits Profile, but a baselined core model diagram is required now to allow work to proceed. CD also noted that some measurements which will be developed for the model may inform future Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for new bodies.

The Board welcomed the update of the model following previous comments. It noted that the use of terminology on certain outcomes may require review to ensure that there is clear articulation in place. The Board agreed with the suggested next steps and noted that the use of the benefits model to inform development of KPIs will only be used where appropriate and that there were critical interactions between KPIs for new bodies and the role of the Scottish Government. The Board agreed that it is key that we define what measurable contribution this programme brings to education reform and the vision for improvement.

Action point: CD to review terminology used in model.

Deadline: 30/05/23

Owner: Chris Dunne

Programme update

CD gave an update on the programme position which remains at amber. CD noted that the format of the paper is expected to continually evolve to reflect the delivery focus of the programme. This may include more detailed timelines and inclusion of immediate milestones.

The Board welcomed the update and acknowledged that many of the high-level risks are related to finance. It was agreed a deep dive on risks relating to finance will be scheduled for the next PB to discuss mitigation and contingency measures. The Board acknowledged that many of the planned actions for these red risks have deadline for mid or late April and that the completion of these actions is expected to reduce the risk score.

Action point: PMO to include a finance risk deep dive session at next Programme Board (PB).

Deadline: 30/05/2023

Owner: PMO

Policy and programme delivery

LB summarised the Legislation and Thematic Projects Highlight Report. She noted that good progress is being made on drafting of the Bill and accompanying documents which will be shared when appropriate.

LB noted that the aim is to have initial draft Project Initiation Documents (PIDs) in place for each thematic project by the end of April. These PIDs will remain living documents and will evolve as our understanding does. To directly govern the delivery of these projects a Project Steering Group, is being set up. This will oversee the delivery of these projects and will further strengthen our PPM approach, with the group reporting directly to the SRO and the Programme Board. The first meeting of the group will be held in May.

The Board welcomed the update and progress made.  It was noted that the timing for the thematic PIDs was tight. LB agreed this was challenging whilst noting that some of the projects are more developed than others and that will help us to achieve this deadline.

SS presented progress on the Roles and Responsibilities thematic, including information on draft principles and areas for further focus, developed in dialogue with partners. He noted next steps and highlighted the dependencies on other thematics for key inputs around customer journeys and work on defining overarching ambition for cultural change in more detail

The Board welcomed this update and noted it was helpful to see the direction of travel and a system approach. It was noted that it will be important that the intended broader focus of this work (including different stages of learning and fuller range of partners) is realised. There are opportunities through this work to develop a focus on wider system coherence. The Board specifically noted the importance of rooting the focus on system coherence in the future vision for education emerging from the National Discussion; and the importance of financial analysis to this work. The Board noted that this work is at a crucial point. It acknowledged that there must be balance in completing work in a way that is logical and manageable, while ensuring the complexity of the education and skills system is captured.

Action point: Board to provide feedback on Roles and Responsibilities progress, particularly on any gaps within the themes and principles (PMO to circulate slide deck).

Deadline: 28/04/2023

Owner: Sean Stronach

Action point: PMO to add further update on Roles and Responsibilities to a future PB agenda.

Deadline: 30/05/2023

Owner: PMO

Update from delivery directors

New inspectorate

JM noted that focus has been on updating and strengthening the TOM following feedback from SG and Delivery Board. Significant work has taken place around vision and future direction; defining what they want to achieve and what these outcomes look like at a short, medium and long term. This work was aided by a deep dive with SG on defining the vision for the new Inspectorate. JM noted that despite challenges with resourcing, they are still on track for the TOM submission at the end of April. JM noted that the recent Delivery Directors meeting had focused on user engagement. This was a reassuring and helpful session. It was noted that they now have a clear timeline for engagement, including when and where support can be drawn from.

New agency

PW noted focus has been on development of the TOM, particularly on articulating the difference between options; feedback reflected. PW noted that financial planning for the options being developed still included an estimated range which could be refined further following a clear understanding of the Cabinet Secretary’s ambition. Despite resourcing challenges, they are currently drawing on wider support to ensure the deadline for the TOM submission is met. The project team are considering next steps after the TOM submission and highlighted the importance of timely feedback to ensure the deadline for the submission of a roadmap is not impacted.

New qualifications body

LMcG noted that the project teams continue to focus on service improvement plans and submission of an interim update on the  NQB TOM. The key differences between the interim and final TOM submission are; the finalisation of ‘To Be’ outcomes and options to improve user journeys which are currently in progress, articulation of the changes of systems/processes which will ensure the move between ‘As Is’ to ‘To Be’ and the refinement of what impact these changes will have on current suppliers.

Any other business

JW raised the issue of workforce planning, and associated resource constraints (staff and finance), and the impact on the improvement of experiences and quality of outcomes. He noted there was an increasing gap between the current workforce and the workforce required. CH noted that responsibility for this does not sit directly under the new bodies as it is a Ministerial decision but agreed it’s importance and impact on Education Reform within the wider Public Sector context.

Action point: Graeme Logan to arrange a further discussion with John Wilson on workforce planning.

Deadline: 30/05/2023

Owner: Graeme Logan

Review and close meeting

CH thanked the Board for their contributions and ended the meeting, noting the next meeting will be in-person and a date is to be confirmed.


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