Education Reform Programme Board minutes: August 2022
- Education Reform Directorate
- Part of
Minutes of the meeting on 16 August 2022.
This document is part of a collection
Attendees and apologies
Attendees and apologies
- Clare Hicks (CH)
- Stephen Pathirana (SP)
- Alison Cumming (AC)
- Vikki Bruce (VB)
- Elaine Lothian (EL)
- Robert Skey (RS)
- Laura Murdoch (LM)
- Geoff Huggins (GeH)
- Jennifer Bradley (JB)
- Adam Reid (AR)
- Michael Chalmers (MC)
- Ken Muir (KM)
- Peter Hookway (PH)
- Louise Hayward (LH)
- Fiona Robertson (FR)
- Dawnne Mahmoud (DM)
- Gayle Gorman (GG)
- Grace Vickers (GV)
- Douglas Hutchison (DH)
- Gillian Hamilton (GH)
- Lisa Bird (LB)
- Chris Dunne (CD)
- Nicky Richards
- Helena Grey
- Graeme Logan
- Laura Cavan
- Liza McLean
- Stephen Kerr
- Neil Cardwell (NC),
- Chris Graham (CG)
- Gill Winters
Items and actions
Summary of decisions and action points
- Risk Management Strategy (RMS) signed off by SRO - PB160822 – D09
- GW to share National Discussion communications approach timeline with Board - PB160822 – AP36
- GW to confirm if the High Level Plan – BTL paper 6 can be shared out with the Board - PB160822 – AP37
- CG to review wording on BTL paper 3 in terms of reflecting Scottish Government wording and intent - PB160822 – AP38
- LMc/ CG to arrange meeting with SQA and ES to go through issues and assumptions around policy and legislation - PB160822 – AP39
- CD to look at wording on risk appetite to add changes to risk appetite can be made at the discretion of SRO and Programme Board - PB160822 – AP40
- Board members were encouraged to offer views on the two questions raised by paper 6 via correspondence - PB160822 – AP41
- Board members were encouraged to offer views on the Programme Dashboard, paper 7 via correspondence - PB160822 - AP42
Welcome and introductions
CH welcomed Board members to PB06, acknowledged new members and highlighted apologies.
Minutes and actions
The minutes from PB05 were issued on 21 June. Comments in relation to specific acronyms and terminology used were received. The minutes were updated to reflect these changes and have now been marked as approved.
There were 12 new actions arising from PB05 and three outstanding actions. Of these 15 actions, 10 have been cleared and five remain open/ongoing.
The five open/ongoing actions are:
- in Progress - ToR updated to reflect recent changes to the Board and addition of section on Quorum. Version 1.1 added as BTL paper for Board approval – No further comments were received around the ToR and this action will now be closed - AP17
- in Progress – a revised version of SRO letter currently with DG for consideration - AP19
- in Progress – Publication of Strategic Outline Case (SOC) – follow up with SK re Social Security Scotland approach - this action will be followed up following SOC review meeting to discuss next steps and next iteration of SOC - AP24
- ongoing – New risks will be reviewed in line with the Risk Management Strategy (RMS) - AP31
- ongoing – Following sign off by the SRO of the RMS, work will commence to fully review the Risk Register. This work will mean several risks move to the Delivery Board registers. The strategy also includes a new approach to risk reporting and this will commence from the September Board - AP33
Subsequent discussion focussed on arrangements to progress the Curriculum Review and National Discussion work, and how these two activities would interplay with the new bodies’ Target Operating Model (TOM) development and wider vision for Education Reform.
Board Members noted that the National Discussion will commence in the Autumn and that supporting materials are being developed. They also noted that the Education Reform communications and engagement team and the National Discussion team are working closely on related key messaging to ensure alignment.
Action: Share National Discussion communications approach timeline with Board Members.
CH confirmed that a revised version of the SOC, responding to recent feedback from Board Members, will be presented at the next Programme Board in September.
Progress update from delivery boards
New inspectorate and agency delivery board
GH provided an overview of the work being progressed by the new Inspectorate and Agency Delivery Boards, with reference to the material contained in the Programme Dashboard (Paper seven).
Although the work relates to two separate commissions, it was noted that one Delivery Board was co-ordinating progress to allow for efficiencies across the two workstreams.
Progress was assessed as good. Delivery Board members have been finalised (including external membership), two Board meetings have taken place and the Project teams have been established. Development work on the new Inspectorate is slightly further ahead. Next steps will be to focus on deliverable two (documenting current functions) in each commission and confirming related plans and timelines for TOM development.
A broader discussion then followed and some members expressed disappointment that the delivery boards are led by legacy organisation directors and questioned whether this approach could achieve the stated aims of transparent engagement with the wider system and delivery of meaningful change.
CH confirmed that she had taken the decision as SRO to draw expertise from the current organisations and she and the Cabinet Secretary agreed this was the best way to progress the TOM development. External challenge was in place at both Delivery and Programme Board levels. CH added that these external members represented wide system knowledge.
It was noted that Deliverable four (stakeholder engagement) was an equally important component of transparency and would help to ensure input and engagement from across the wider system. It was also acknowledged that there is a risk of consultation fatigue at the moment and effective alignment and assurance of all related communications and engagement activity would be needed. Board Members requested that the communications approach and overarching narrative for education reform be kept under regular review.
The question of buildings and estate was raised and it was noted that work to describe how the new bodies will fit within the wider system infrastructure would be commissioned soon and related papers would be brought to the PB for discussion.
Action: Confirm if the High Level Plan (BTL paper 6) can be shared more widely.
New qualifications body delivery board
In the absence of the Chair of the Delivery Board being on leave, FR provided an overview of the work being progressed by the new Qualifications Body Delivery Board, with reference to the material contained in the Programme Dashboard (Paper 7). Two critical issues have now been progressed:
- the Commission has now been signed off and feedback on the SOC has been provided; and
- a funding bid for resourcing has been submitted
The first Delivery Board meeting is scheduled for 18 August and will include external members. It was noted that a Head Teacher representative is also being identified.
Work is focusing on documenting the SQA As-Is position through the lens of a SWOT analysis. The Project Team are also progressing on TOM development. It was noted that a key dependency will be the work being undertaken by Professor Louise Hayward.
A question was raised regarding the wording in BTL paper 3, Page 4, para 2 “development of well-rounded skills and knowledge that give them the best opportunity to succeed” and whether this was an appropriate term. It was noted that this section of the paper reflects the wording from the SOC and is consistent across other Commissions.
A question was raised regarding the wording in BTL paper 3, Page 8, section 9, bullet 2 (constraints) which is also used elsewhere. It was noted that the wording used to reflect the Scottish Government response to Professor Muir’s report in relation to Accreditation: “…careful further consideration is required in relation to the scope of these functions and where these functions should sit in future, in particular ensuring that the independence of these regulatory functions is appropriately secured.” was consistent with the SOC.
Action: Review wording in BTL paper 3 to ensure it reflects Scottish Government intent.
Any agreed changes will be reflected in the revised SOC coming to the Board in September.
Policy and legislation delivery board
CG provided an overview of the work being progressed by the Policy and Legislation Delivery Board, with reference to the material contained in the Programme Dashboard (paper 7).
Legislation activities are on track, and a high level summary of the anticipated legislative timetable was shared. CG highlighted that the scope does not include the new Agency at present but this will be revisited once decisions are made on where accreditation sits. Some elements of the new Agency may need new legislation.
The Board discussed whether SQA and ES colleagues should be represented on the Delivery Board or whether separate meetings were needed to consider issues and assumptions around the proposed legislation with SQA and ES.
Action: Arrange meeting with SQA and ES to go through issues and assumptions around policy and legislation.
It was noted that there are clear challenges around the timelines, resourcing and funding to deliver the work and the programme as a whole is in Amber/Red status. Board members were invited to continue sharing views on further actions which could be pursued to accelerate progress.
Risk management strategy
CD presented the Risk Management Strategy (RMS) Paper 4.
Discussion focussed on risk appetite and whether this could stifle innovation and desire for substantial change.
The strategy outlines the balance of risks across corporate and programme risk registers and a programme approach to dependencies will also be taken.
The RMS was signed off by the SRO subject to the following action.
Action: Review wording on risk appetite to add changes to risk appetite can be made at the discretion of SRO and Programme Board.
Risk deep dive
ER11 – SQA people – structural reform and delivery at risk due to uncertainty for staff.
Key points raised through deep dive:
- with mission critical delivery, care is needed to ensure reform does not create risks. SQA is continually prioritising in terms of what could be stopped / paused in order to create space in the organisation for reform
- coordination and prioritisation of additional asks from Scottish Government, which impact business as usual activities as well as reform work, could mitigate risk
CH noted that the business case for Programme backfill to SQA is currently awaiting approval. Continuity of delivery remains key.
ER40 – Budget for transition to new bodies
Key points raised through deep dive:
To consider articulating the risk as the failure to deliver areas of programme outcomes as opposed to the entire programme, stating objective-level consequences for programme delay if budget cover/ budget pressure is currently not addressed.
- need for a multi-year budget to match the programme’s expected lifecycle
- to look at return on investment; the value of return is not insignificant over time
- to look at the cost of doing nothing, and consider costs before further choices are made
It was acknowledged that this was an ambitious programme and difficult to quantify costs and benefits at this stage.
The overall Programme budget is still to be defined in the SRO appointment letter. The ongoing development of the financial and economic cases will evidence the Programme budget with more clarity in the coming months.
Communications and engagement strategy
Item not covered due to time constraints.
Action: Board members were encouraged to offer views on the two questions raised by the paper via correspondence.
Item not covered due to time constraints, although the contents of the dashboard were discussed under agenda item 3.
Any other business
CH apologised to NC and CD for discussion overrunning and asked the Board to provide comments and questions in writing on the Programme Dashboard.
Action: Board members were encouraged to offer views on the Programme Dashboard, via correspondence.
CH thanked the Board for their contributions and ended the meeting. The next meeting will take place on 27 September 2022.
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