Executive Board minutes: April 2017

Minutes from the 4 April 2017 meeting of the Executive Board, which is chaired by the Permanent Secretary.

Attendees and apologies


  • Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary (Chair)
  • Sarah Davidson, DG Communities
  • Paul Gray, DG Health and Social Care
  • Gordon Wales, Acting DG Finance
  • Janet Hamblin, Non-Executive Director
  • Ronnie Hinds, Non-Executive Director
  • Linda McKay, Non-Executive Director

Also in Attendance:

  • Barbara Allison, Director for Communications, Ministerial Support and Facilities
  • Bridget Campbell, Director for Forestry and the Environment
  • Nicky Richards, Director for People
  • Fiona Robertson, Director for Learning
  • Julie Wilson, Office of the Chief Statisticians and Strategic Analysis
  • Donald Cameron, ET Support Division
  • Sean Doohan, ET Support Division


  • Liz Ditchburn, DG Economy
  • Paul Johnston, DG Learning and Justice
  • Ken Thomson, DG Strategy and Operations

Items and actions

Item 1: Welcome, Introductions, Apologies and Declarations of Interest

The Chair welcomed everyone to the Executive Board (EB) meeting and noted apologies from DG Economy, DG Learning and Justice, and DG Strategy and Operations; their interests were represented at the meeting by Director of Environment and Forestry, Director of Learning and the Director for Communications, Ministerial Support and Facilities respectively. There were no declarations of interest.

Item 2: Minutes and Actions from the previous meeting held on 14 March 2017

The EB agreed the minutes of the previous meeting of 14 March 2017 and the action tracker.

Item 3: Financial Stewardship and Risk

Acting DG Finance updated EB on the latest forecast outturn which indicated that all targets for the 2016/17 budget were on track to be met. A number of residual risks were being actively managed within the overall budget including financial transactions related to the CAP Loan scheme; forecast tax receipts; and around changes to the Discount Rate Change. The EB noted that work was underway to quantify the impact of the Discount Rate changes across portfolios given that the impact was unlikely to be restricted to the NHS.

The EB noted that while residual risks around the CAP Loan Scheme were being managed it would be important to continue to monitor the management of risk around the overall CAP programme through regular scrutiny of the corporate risk register.

Item 4: Organisational Efficiency

Balanced Scorecard

Julie Wilson, the project lead, demonstrated the Balanced Scorecard tool which was based around four main quadrants: People and Capability; Financial Stewardship; Organisational Efficiency; and Results. Each quadrant contained key performance data to directorate level and was intended to support management action and to improve performance. In its current stage of development the material was slide based and would be manually populated using existing data sources.

The EB welcomed the demonstration of the tool. It would be important to ensure that information was as contemporary as possible; trend information was welcome and the further development of the tool should be aligned with other investment in business intelligence systems and linked to existing corporate systems such as corporate analytics. The availability of consistently presented material along with meaningful analysis was already benefiting business management across the organisation. The Permanent Secretary thanked Julie for the progress she had made in developing the tool and noted the important contribution it would make to the work of the Executive Board, corporate boards and directorates. It would be important to make directors aware of the progress made and to test drive the tool with a representative sample to ensure that the tool could be used to maximum effect.

EB thanked Julie progress made towards developing the Balanced Scorecard tool and agreed that it should be circulated to Directors and used for the next round of DG Assurance meetings.

Place Board

Representing the co-chairs of the Place Board the Director of Communications, Ministerial Support and Facilities updated the Executive Board about activity since the last report to the EB. The Board had initially focused on accelerating the Smarter Workplaces Programme, however it had subsequently agreed that the focus should extend to activity around creating an integrated workplace improvement programme. The Executive Board asked for further consideration to be given to whether there was an appropriate balance between the board’s strategic function and driving operational delivery and requested an update be provided at the next meeting.


Ms Hamblin, Chair of SGAAC, provided an update noting that the DG Assurance process was bedding in well but that it would be important to use feedback from those involved to support the continued development of assurance work. Ms Hamblin highlighted that work was on-going to consider risk escalation including the role of the Risks and Opportunities Group and agreed to discuss with DG Communities whether there was an appropriate cross cutting risk issue in her area for consideration by the Risk and Opportunities Group. EB noted that SGAAC had been content with the Internal Audit and Audit Scotland Annual Plans and agreed the importance of keeping plans under review. EB also welcomed the role that Internal Audit can provide in supporting policy areas at the start of projects and agreed this offer should be shared with Directors.

Performance and Priorities Board

Acting DG Finance provided an update and said that the meeting held the previous month had considered a draft work plan through to the end of 2017. Further work was being done to develop and agree a reporting methodology in relation to the PfG and other key commitments. A further meeting to progress these issues and in particular to clarify how the remit of the board should be discharged was scheduled for 7 June. Mr Hinds, NXD emphasised the importance of ensuring an appropriate focus and culture across on managing performance against delivery of key priorities. It would also be important to align the role of DG Assurance meetings in scrutinising performance with the work of the board. But in doing so care was needed to avoid duplication with other governance mechanisms. The EB noted the update and emphasised the importance of keeping up momentum and asked for a further update at the next meeting.

Corporate Governance Review

The Permanent Secretary highlighted the review of the new Corporate Governance arrangements that would be completed by the end of June and asked the secretariat to arrange for information to be circulated once David Harvie, the Crown Agent and Sharon Fairweather, Director of Internal Audit had completed the necessary scoping work.

Item 5: Development of People and Capability - SG2020

DG Communities provided an update on work being done to progress the SG2020 programme. The outline Project Initiation Document set out proposed governance arrangements which included highlight reporting from the corporate boards to the Executive Board. Project timescales would be determined as implementation plans were developed for individual stands of work. Key deliverables for 2017 included workforce planning; development of management capacity; improved systems; expanded capability in key areas such as PfG priorities; responding to the UK decision to leave the EU and other constitutional issues including new powers agreed for the Scottish Parliament. The EB welcomed the approach set out in the presentation and noted the importance of effective communications and engagement with people across the organisation which was specific about the nature of the change that was expected, and which was also clear about the culture and behavioural change required. The Executive Board agreed that the corporate boards would be the appropriate governance forum and agreed to consider which actions in particular it should focus on. The EB also agreed to consider a further update at its next meeting which should include further specificity about actions and timelines for key deliverables.

Item 6: AOB

There were no items for discussion.

ET Secretariat 25 April 2017


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