Education Reform Programme Board minutes: September 2022
- Education Reform Directorate
- Part of
Minutes of the meeting on 27 September 2022.
This document is part of a collection
Attendees and apologies
Attendees and apologies
- Clare Hicks (CH)
- Stephen Pathirana (SP)
- Alison Cumming (AC)
- Elaine Lothian (EL)
- Robert Skey (RS)
- Geoff Huggins (GeH)
- Ken Muir (KM)
- Peter Hookway (PH)
- Fiona Robertson (FR)
- Gayle Gorman (GG)
- Grace Vickers (GV)
- Douglas Hutchison (DH)
- Gillian Hamilton (GH)
- Liza McLean (LMc)
- Laura Cavan (LC)
- Graham Logan (GL)
- Liz McGrath (LMcG)
- Mike Baxter (MB)
- Stephen Kerr
- Nicky Richards
- Lisa Bird,
- Helena Gray
- Chris Dunne
- Neil Cardwell (NC)
- John Booth (JB)
- Frances Douglas(FD)
- Gill Winters (GW)
Items and actions
Summary of decisions and action points
- the Board endorsed the range of approaches set out in the Communications and Engagement paper subject to the comments above being considered - PB270922 – D10
- Board members to provide comments on the vision and mission to CD - PB270922 – AP43
- CD to share final version of Gateway Review Report and related Action Plan with Board Members - PB270922 – AP44
- GW to arrange an in-person Programme Board meeting in December - PB270922 – AP45
- RS to share the Strategic Outline Case with Board members - PB270922 – AP46
- NC and GW to make arrangements for the publication of Programme and Delivery Board minutes on the SG website - PB270922 – AP47
- NC, JB and FD to develop the stakeholder engagement plan - PB270922 – AP48
- CD to bring a Dependencies Management Strategy to a future Programme Board - PB270922 – AP49
- LB to engage with SQA and ES in relation to the legislation work - PB270922 – AP50
- LB to bring a horizontal commission on roles and responsibilities across the system to the next Programme Board - PB270922 – AP51
- Board to review risk actions planned and offer thoughts on additional actions that could bring the risk scores down - PB270922 – AP52
Welcome and introductions
CH welcomed members to the seventh meeting of the Programme Board and noted apologies received. Welcome extended to Liz McGrath attending her first meeting as Delivery Director for the new Qualifications Body.
Minutes and actions
FR will forward some minor amendments to PB06 minutes by correspondence. Comments were received and minutes now marked as approved. GW took the Programme Board through the five open actions in the log.
Strategic values and direction
CH shared a slide deck with Programme Board which described the overall programme vision and mission and then covered the key responsibilities of the Programme Board in championing the reform programme and providing strategic advice, support, challenge, scrutiny and assurance, especially in relation to the outputs from the various Delivery Boards. The recent Gateway Review report highlighted the role of the Programme Board both in relation to scrutiny, challenge and support but also in terms of appropriate visibility of the delivery projects to support delivery of the TOMs.
Action – Board members to provide comments on the vision and mission to CD.
Owner – Chris Dunne
In relation to the findings of the recent Gateway Review, CH summarised the eight recommendations made by the review team and agreed to share the full report with members once it is finalised. An action plan will be prepared in response.
Action – CD to share final version of Gateway Review Report and related Action Plan with Board members.
Owner – Chris Dunne
Deadline – 21/10/22
CH set out the timescales for delivery of the Strategic, Outline and Full Business Cases and asked for views on the need for an in-person meeting towards the end of the calendar year to really test progress. Members agreed that an in-person meeting would be very beneficial. It was confirmed that the Strategic Outline Case would be circulated.
Action – GW to arrange an in-person Programme Board meeting in December.
Owner – GW
Deadline – 14/10/22
Action - RS to share the Strategic Outline Case with Board members.
Owner- Robert Skey
Deadline – 07/10/22
Board members asked about the Outline Business Case and its specific purpose in setting out a preferred option, wondering how possible this would be prior to the publication of the Strategic Target Operating Models (TOM). CH noted that the November date was there as a milestone to help progress the work, but also noted the iterative process of developing the Outline Business Case and that work would continue into December and beyond. Board members asked about the overall timescales for the programme and related budgets. CH confirmed that guidance on funding would be provided to Delivery Boards soon and work was progressing to develop the critical path for the delivery stage of the programme.
It was highlighted the role of options and choices need to be set out in the development of the Full Business Case and the related costs of implementation, especially given the wider review landscape. CH acknowledged that there is a role for all the Delivery Boards and Programme Board in shaping the final document and the proposed timescale is deliberately ambitious (early 2023). The Board acknowledged the importance of the planned in-person meeting in December to progress the work.
Communications and engagement plan
In introducing this item, CH noted that the recent media focus on governance and process in relation to the Education Reform Programme, highlighted the degree of investment and interest in it across the system. CH acknowledged that the programme needs to handle media communications more proactively and with sensitivity to all involved and that a planned approach to communication and engagement was now a key priority and invited NC to speak to this item. NC described the strategic approach which had been taken to developing the communications and engagement plan in order to better align the work being taken across the entirety of the programme.
The approach being taken is about bringing the vision and mission into life and showing progress relevant to the needs of specific stakeholders and users. The plan seeks the Board’s endorsement of a range of approaches. NC noted the recent media coverage and the need for effective handling of the media’s reaction to related messages. It was clear that we need to move quickly from a focus on governance and process towards more detailed progress updates that truly engage stakeholders and users in shaping the future arrangements. JB and FD endorsed this approach and noted the importance of engagement on substance being taken forward in a planned and sequenced way to minimise the burden on a stretched education community.
CH noted that all Programme and Delivery Board minutes and specific papers would be published.
Action – NC and GW to make arrangements for the publication of Programme and Delivery Board minutes on the SG website.
Owner – Neil Cardwell and Gillian Winters
Deadline – 31/10/22
It was agreed the paper offered a useful starter for discussion, but some wondered about aspects of its tone. It was observed the proposed timeline for user engagement and learner voice felt quite late in the overall process. It was also noted that Covid appeared to be the main driver for reform. This was not the case and more emphasis was needed on pre-existing drivers. The Board noted that there is a need to substantially develop the paper’s proposals for engaging with children and young people. CH noted the criticality of ensuring we have children and young people’s voices at the centre of the reform process. It was also highlighted that beyond communications resource to shape and share messages and support engagement, we also need more positive and meaningful things to communicate. It was felt in-person meetings should form a critical part of the future approach to help generate a shared purpose, coherence and ethos amongst Board members.
Board members welcomed the good work that had been led by the communications teams. Learning from the last few weeks, there is a question of how we position our future messages, while recognising that the landscape is busy and potentially confusing. The need for engagement with children, young people and practitioners will be key.
It was suggested that the next phase of the work needs to be the overall stakeholder mapping exercise, which can make best use of the limited resources at Delivery Board level. The importance of consistent, coherent and appropriately sequenced messaging was stressed.
It was highlighted that the language we use reflects the inclusive approach to which we are committed and we must recognise the different ways stakeholders and users should be approached. AC made an offer of support around engagement with early learning and childcare stakeholders.
Board members made the point that people will want to know what is tangibly different for them and when such changes will happen.
CH summarised that the substance of what we are communicating is key and the level of interrelated reform activity needs to be managed well. It was good progress to now have a top-level narrative as a starting position. The next stage is to move onto the stakeholder mapping and manage related activity in a coherent way. There are multiple reform strands and aligning these in a meaningful way will be key.
Board members also highlighted that a number of policy reviews across the education and skills space are ongoing at the moment. Stakeholders and individuals will have questions around what these will mean. The role of the Education Reform programme and the Programme Board in communicating the opportunities that this change agenda will create and reassuring stakeholders was discussed CH noted that the National Discussion offers one such helpful framing device.
Decision – The Board endorsed the range of approaches set out in the Communications and Engagement paper subject to the comments above being considered.
Action – NC, JB and FD to develop the stakeholder engagement plan.
Owner- Neil Cardwell
Deadline – 31/10/22
Progress update from delivery boards
New qualifications body
LMcG summarised her highlight report and noted that since the report was submitted, they are now trending Amber with dependency on an updated PID covering the final positioning on Accreditation to be in place by mid-October. By the next Delivery Board, they expect to be in a good place regarding their stakeholder and user engagement approach. She noted that stronger links with the policy and legislation project would be needed in the period ahead.
Board members suggested that they were still unclear on what progress is actually being made against specific timescales and whether a strategic TOM for the new qualifications body would be in place by the end of this calendar year. LMcG confirmed that new resources were now secured and a process was being established to enable the deliverables expected this calendar year. Finding the right balance between depth and pace was the main challenge at the moment.
CH noted the work that had been progressed since LMcG took up post and recognised the impact of recent resourcing constraints. The Board looks forward to seeing more detail on the timeline for delivery at its next meeting.
New agency and new inspectorate
GH summarised progress to date and confirmed that material on the current functions, ‘the as is’, would soon be shared with external colleagues on the Delivery Board. She noted that a large volume of evidence exists and is being sense checked at the moment. Looking ahead, they would like to use the forthcoming conference cycle to test some of their products and thinking with stakeholders.
Policy and legislation
LMc summarised progress to date, noting the work on communications and engagement, and the TOM Playbook resource. This has been developed to support the other Delivery Boards in shaping their TOMs. It that had also been shared with the Pplicy and Legislation Delivery Board. Looking ahead, work to develop benefits mapping for the programme would start soon. In terms of legislation, this is now a standing item and regular updates would be brought to the Programme Board from October onwards.
It was noted the interplay between the legislative timescale and the wider work taking place in the other Delivery Boards would be key. Finding a balance which doesn’t pin us down too much prior to more detailed thinking in the New Year will be important. We do not want to limit future opportunities. As a priority dependencies between the delivery workstreams will be identified and managed in accordance with Dependency Management Strategy.
Board members asked about the actions being taken to address the resourcing challenges around policy and legislation. LMc confirmed that actions are being taken to resolve these, including the appointment of a Bill team leader and appropriate staffing resource.
It was highlighted that there was a need for coherence around the legislation and TOM work, especially around the interface between future roles and responsibilities within the new bodies and more widely.
Action – CD to bring a Dependencies Management Strategy to a future Programme Board.
Owner – Chris Dunne
Deadline – 08/11/22
Action – LB to engage with SQA and ES in relation to the legislation work.
Owner – Lisa Bird
Deadline – 31/10/22
Action - LB to bring a horizontal commission on roles and responsibilities across the system to the next Programme Board.
Owner – Lisa Bird
LMc took the Board through the new format for reporting overall summary of programme progress. She highlighted the refreshed ‘actions planned’ following the risk deep dive exercise at the last Programme Board and the plans to publish Programme and Delivery Board minutes on the SG website.
Action – Board to review risk actions planned and offer thoughts on additional actions that could bring the risk scores down.
Owner – all
Deadline – 14/10/22
Board members asked about the roadmaps and the intent to start the delivery tranche in January 2023. CH noted that a lot of work would need to take place between now and the end of the calendar year to make this achievable. Overall, it remains possible, but this is something the Programme Board will wish to keep under review.
It was noted the communications and engagement challenge of balancing technical and other sensitive material and messages in the Dashboard with the more refined needs of different stakeholder groupings. This will require careful management in landing key messages in a helpful and transparent manner and in a way that also meet our duty of care to current staff.
Any other business
Board members asked for future papers to be shared more than 3 days in advance.
CH agreed that future Programme Board meetings would have two specific halves – a front end which focuses on strategic insight and advice, followed by key monitoring of programme progress and related assurance.
CH thanked the Board for their contributions and ended the meeting – next meeting will be 08 November 2022.
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