Publication - Minutes

Enterprise and Skills Review Implementation Board minutes: September 2017

Published: 11 Dec 2017
Date of meeting: 28 Sep 2017
Location: St Andrew's House Edinburgh

Minutes and papers of the meeting of the Enterprise and Skills Review Implementation Board on 28 September 2017.

11 Dec 2017
Enterprise and Skills Review Implementation Board minutes: September 2017

Items and actions

Item 1 – Welcome

Prof Crerar welcomed the members to the meeting.

Item 2 - Minutes of previous meeting

Prof Crerar advised the members that no comments had been provided on the previous meeting notes and ran through the action points.

Regarding remuneration for non ex-officio Strategic Board (SB) members the point was made that there had been some misgivings around expressed about this idea, but also that there had been some support it if it allowed businesses or social enterprises, etc to release their staff. No consensus on this.

Item 3 - Programme Progress Update

Simon Coote updated the members on progress being made on the timeline, actions log and comms and engagement plan. He highlighted the further progress that had been made in regards to developing project profiles, and confirmed that the Programme Management Office are also in the process of developing risk assessments, delivery plans, and that the development of these is now almost complete.

Following discussion it was noted that the actions set out in these projects should be assigned: some will be the responsibility of the Scottish Government; some will sit with SB; and others will sit with the Agencies. A number will be joint actions to be taken forward using a collaborative approach with all partners being engaged.

Scottish Government Directors, officials and Agencies will decide who owns actions, however SG Directors will continue to monitor them.

Action: SG and Agencies to consider ownership of actions and take this forward.

Item 4 - Strategic Board Membership

Simon Coote thanked the members for feedback provided around the configuration and skills required for the SB, and for the nominations to be added to the list of potential members being considered. In taking this forward there had been significant consultation with the Board, and SG was now working closely with the SB Chair and Ministers.

The SB Chair was to be meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work on 5 October to discuss this further.

In considering business members for the SB a number of criteria has been looked at around diversity, geographical areas, sectors and size of business. It is proposed that there will be approximately 6 business representatives on the SB, with a view to having invitations issued mid-October. It was noted that COSLA requested that they be included as a member of the SB. This is a decision to be made ultimately by the Cabinet Secretary working with the SB Chair.

Item 5 - South of Scotland Enterprise Agency (SOSEA)

Karen Jackson updated on a number of actions that had been progressed since the previous IB meeting. She covered the six areas within the paper provided and also confirmed that the legislation will be introduced in 2018.

Following a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work it was confirmed that the interim South of Scotland Economic Partnership was to be in place by the end of 2017. The South of Scotland Alliance has welcomed this approach and timeline.

The Chair for the partnership will be appointed from the private sector by Ministers. The Chair will have a good knowledge of economic development in the South of Scotland and the challenges facing the area, bringing both seniority and credibility to the role.

In developing the membership of the advisory group the team have adapted the skills model used for the SB membership process - this will ensure a good mix of members with a knowledge of the challenges facing the South of Scotland.

Work is progressing in the development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), this is currently being drafted in consultation with partners. Fair Work and Inclusive Growth will be written in to the MOU, and it will make clear that engagement will be a core value of the partnership and the way it operates.

The members were advised that bidding for future funding will be pursued under the SG budgetary process, however as this was to be a partnership it is expected that partners will feed existing resources into this as a collaborative endeavour.

There was further discussions around:

  • The role and remit of the SOSEA and how it will sit alongside the agencies;
  • This being an opportunity to start fresh, unlock potential and find new ways of working;
  • The local authorities being fully engaged in this process and happy with the direction of travel;
  • If this works well would it could be a model emulated elsewhere in Scotland – taking a regional approach has already allowed a different conversation. There is recognition of the potential for SOSEA to be a case study.

Item 6 - Short Term Project Groups

Strategic Plan

Linda Hanna advised the group of the progress made since the last meeting on the Interim Plan. She confirmed that she had taken on board the comments and feedback received and incorporated this, including through minimising jargon in the text.

Further meetings have been held to refine the SP. Also provided was the SB planning process and a cover paper with insights gathered and questions that remained.

There is a need to complete the collaborative actions within the Interim Plan and keep the momentum of the collaborative work of the working group. This is something that could be allocated to the CEO group to take forward in combination with the working group. The IB members discussed whether to continue with this to complete the actions table. Members expressed a desire to continue the work.

There were discussions about the wider issues impacting on the economy - the remit of the SB will be to focus on the levers the agencies have, but it may seek to influence other factors through advice to ministers. Comms strategy need to make this point clear. This led to discussion around the Performance Framework and the need for this to be consistent with the Economic Strategy and Inclusive Growth framework. It was clarified that this work is still on-going. SG will seek clarity around this before the SB commences.

The SG expects the SB to operate within a broad context, and to take cognisance of external factors and do things differently. There would be a need to consider what the board’s ask of business was. SB should also act as a feedback loop into SG to help SG understand how to make improvements more widely, and provide constructive challenge. The SG would consider all levers, including those out with the Enterprise and Skills Review.

There was recognition that the rural economy has an important role to play and needs to sit within this work.

Performance Framework

Gary Gillespie presented on the illustrative Performance Framework (PF), which is based on a range of priorities, activities and outcomes suggested by the interim SP. The SB will dictate the areas that the eventual PF will focus on.

However, the SB is not accountable for wider SG economic policies beyond those activities under the remit of the enterprise and skills agencies, and it will want to look at where they can have most impact. The PF work has set out the performance gap for Scotland to reach the top quartile in various measures, and will enable the SB to consider how agencies impact on these factors and then consider how to make the right changes. The SB would focus on performance gaps e.g. with GDP – analyse how much of the step change required to close the gap can come from E&S agencies, and then how can it be done. Analysis would be undertaken to identify which policies and activities provide the best return on investment (VFM).

Whilst the goal is reaching the 1st quartile of the OECD countries in terms of productivity, it is recognised that there is a need to ensure at the same time that the SB considers the kind of economy Scotland aspires to, taking account of inclusion and sustainability. Consideration of the regional dimension needs to me be much more sophisticated.

Analytical Unit

Gary Gillespie advised the members that an external recruitment ad should go live shortly at Deputy Director level to lead the Unit (Update: Following comments received from Implementation Board members, advertising for the post of Head of the Analytical Unit has been temporarily withdrawn. This will allow for the scope, specification and salary level of the post to be reassessed before it is re-advertised)

In the meantime in-house analytical resourcing and agencies will provide support to the SB. The wider structure of the Analytical Unit, and a number of themes under consideration already in the collaborative space should continue to be developed.

Gary envisaged the immediate workplan to service the 1st SB meeting would be centrally resourced. There are potential actions for the Analytical Unit in all the papers and the SB will take a commissioning role.

Governance for the Analytical Unit – It is envisaged that the Analytical Unit will report to SB who will determine the work, but the Unit will bring in other views - the overall governance arrangements would be an early action for the SB.

Governance And Advice

Damien Yeates updated on the progress made on a proposed advice structure to the SB, and the draft terms of reference for committees that could be set up to support the SB. Additionally, the mapping exercise has now been completed, but there is a need for further work e.g. a RAG status exercise, to consider the value of forums in the new structure with a view to de-cluttering the landscape. A draft Code of Conduct has also been developed for SB members and committees.

It was recognised that the proposed ‘Dynamic, globally competitive, inclusive economy’ committee may split and focus on specific elements of the economy if it’s remit is considered too broad to be workable. However, it was also recognised that there was value in considering various issues in the round to avoid silo working.

The work presented on Committee structures is intended only as a proposal and makes clear that SB will take a view once convened whether they take it on board as proposed of develop something different.

Questions were raised around whether the CEO’s Collaborative Leadership Group should be a Committee or if this should proceed under a less formal structure. It was agreed that this group should report to the SB, perhaps not as a committee.

The following additional points were discussed:

  • This was a good place to start is as a formal structure and can now leave it to the SB to consider.
  • It should be reflected that Agencies will also remain accountable to their respective Cabinet Secretaries.
  • The committees sitting under the SB – are they in addition to everything else already in the landscape? – the plan at the start of process was to re-purpose existing entities (where appropriate)..
  • There remains a commitment to de-clutter the landscape where appropriate – e.g. taking account of the legal status of and rationale for particular fora (consideration of the role of the current Joint Skills Committee was cited as one example). Noted that more work was required to progress this.
  • Need to consider private sector capacity to participated given the busy landscape. Driving towards a reduction of clutter was a principle feature of the Review.

There was discussion around the proposal that all decisions must go through the SB – it was considered that there should be some flexibility here, and that the SB could choose to delegate certain decision-making to its committees.

Item 7 - CEO’s Group Meeting – collaborative agenda

Linda Hanna advised that the CEOs had met on two occasions; they are looking at how they can drive collaboration, making choices collaboratively more regularly, and there is a need to keep doing this.

These meetings have shown that agencies do collaborate well and people are committed to build on what they have learned over the summer months, e.g. in the SP working group. Cultural similarities and differences are recognised. The CEOs are keen to continue to communicate and learn from one another and will convene regularly.

Consideration is being given to extending this out within the organisations to executive groups.

Consideration is also being given to ways of integrating agency plans, sharing services and capability, operating frameworks and looking at practical extensions of shared services through time. One example is the work around innovation centres.

Acknowledgment required that this is a transformation process, requiring adjustment in culture, values and the way the agencies work together - there should be an open and transparent message that change is happening.

Item 8 - Any other Business

Prof Crerar noted that the minutes need to reflect the level of commitment and work done by many in the preparation for the SB.

He expressed his thanks to the IB members for the dedication put in over the summer and considered the progress made to have gone further than had been anticipated.



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