Executive Board minutes: July 2017

Minutes from the 18 July 2017 meeting of the Executive Board, which is chaired by the Permanent Secretary.

Attendees and apologies


  • Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary (Chair)
  • Liz Ditchburn, DG Economy
  • Paul Gray, DG Health and Social Care
  • Paul Johnston, DG Education, Communities and Justice
  • Ken Thomson (Dialled in), DG Constitution and External Affairs
  • Janet Hamblin, Non-Executive Director
  • Linda McKay, Non-Executive Director

Also in Attendance

  • Barbara Allison, Director for Communications and Ministerial Support
  • Nicky Richards, Director of People
  • Eleanor Emberson, Director of Financial Strategy
  • Maureen Bruce, Deputy Director People Policy
  • Donald Cameron, ET Support Division
  • Sean Doohan, ET Support Division


  • Sarah Davidson, DG Organisational Development and Operations
  • Alyson Stafford, DG Finance
  • Gordon Wales, Chief Financial Officer
  • Ronnie Hinds, Non-Executive Director

Items and actions

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

1. The chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted apologies. DG Organisational Development and Operations and DG Finance interests were represented at the meeting by Director of People and Director of Financial Strategy respectively. There were no declarations of interest.

Item 2: Minutes and Actions from the previous meeting held on 6 June 2017

2. The Board agreed the minutes of 6 June and noted the updates to the action tracker.

Item 3: Financial Stewardship and Risk


3. The Director of Financial Strategy updated EB on the latest forecast outturn and work being taken forward as part of the One Project. The board took assurance from the proposed process, which had been designed to jointly support both the management of the existing budgets through a formal mid-year budget review exercise and the development of the 2017/18 Programme for Government, As part of this work the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution would discuss budget allocations with his ministerial colleagues and DGs were asked to work with Ministers, in their role as Accountable Officers, to help develop proposals. It was agreed the Director of Financial Strategy would attend ET on Thursday to provide a further update on the budget process to support these discussions.

(Action: Director of Financial Strategy)

4. The Director of Financial Strategy provided assurance on the work underway to manage budgetary risks, including that relating to EU funds. EB noted the importance of the organisation continuing to learn from existing payment programmes to improve delivery of financial transactions. It was agreed that lessons learnt in the delivery of CAP payments should be further considered by the Scottish Government Assurance and Audit Committee.

(Action: DG Economy)

Update on the Economy

5. DG Economy provided an update on the latest economic position. Following discussion, EB agreed regular updates should continue to be received on three areas: 1) Analysis of Economic Performance; 2) Fiscal Implications; and 3) Building Economic Capability, with further thought required on the potential inclusion of a fourth and fifth item relating to policy specific proposals on the substantive cross cutting issues including the economy and exiting the EU.

6. Linda McKay and Janet Hamblin, Non-Executive Directors, reflected that because supporting sustainable economic growth was the Scottish Government’s overarching policy objective it was appropriate, and in line with the Board’s remit, that Board members continued to receive regular high-level updates. They noted that these should support the provision of assurance that the more detailed scrutiny of specific policy initiatives and challenges was being effectively considered across the wider organisational framework of governance. DG Economy, and DG Constitution and External Affairs agreed that they would collaborate to ensure that the EB had access to the appropriate level of information in respect of key issues, such as economic performance and EU exit, and that this would complement existing governance arrangements to ensure the board continued to prioritises its time effectively.

(Action: DG Economy/ DG Constitution and External Affairs)

7. DG Constitution and External Affairs provided an update on the plans for the next Strategic Leadership session noting that economic policy was an area that would benefit from further consideration at a future session.

(Action: ET Programme Hub)

Item 4: Development of People and Capability

People Board Update and People Plan

8. The Director of People outlined the development of the People Plan and supporting communications and engagement plan. The plan had been agreed by the People Board in April and People Directorate colleagues had been working hard to ensure the proposals set out in the plan were well developed and sufficiently resourced before sharing with the wider organisation. The People Plan for 2017/18 focused on three key priorities around Workforce Planning, Strategic Resourcing and Building Capability. The EB would receive a copy of the full plan in correspondence following the meeting.

9. EB welcomed the update and agreed that the corporate boards should identify the contribution they will each make to the delivery of the objectives set out in the People Plan.

(Action: Chairs of corporate boards/ET Programme hub)

10. EB discussed the importance of targeted communications to support the publication of the Plan so that staff are clear on the timetable for change. It was agreed that as part of this communication People Directorate should consider re-highlighting the proposals set out in the People Strategy, including the expectations on staff as part of “the deal” between the organisation and staff.

(Action: Director of People)

Item 5: Results and Outcomes

Programme for Government: Monitoring 2016/17 delivery and preparation for 2017/18

11. The Director of Financial Strategy provided an update on the 2016/17 commitments noting the majority of the commitments are on track for delivery with identified risks being managed by officials. A progress report was being prepared that would be shared with the Board in advance of the next meeting.

(Action: Director of Financial Strategy)

12. The Board discussed the need to for the organisation to remain outcome focussed and considered the inter-relationships between the National Performance Framework, the Programme for Government and internal resourcing to ensure that financial investment is targeted to ensure delivery objectives. It was agreed that the Performance and Priorities Board should consider further and report back to the Board.

(Action: Director of Financial Strategy)

13. Janet Hamblin, Non-Executive Director, asked the board about the relationships between the new Balanced Scorecard, Scotland Performs and the reporting on the Programme for Government (PfG). The discussion clarified that the Balanced Scorecard had been developed to focus on internal organisational performance, which included an overview of the organisational delivery of the PfG. In contrast, Scotland Performs is an outward facing reporting tool that focusses on the delivery of societal outcomes set out in the National Performance Framework. The Board noted, however, that it was important to look at both reporting tools together to ensure appropriate linkages were made.

14. The Board agreed that it would be helpful for these relationships to be set out diagrammatically, and for the members to receive a short narrative on how outcomes are tracked and reported across the organisation. As part of this request the Board asked that the Priorities and Performance Board provide an update at a future meeting on its role in relation to monitoring progress of the National Performance Framework and the commitments made in the annual Programme for Government.

(Action: DG Scottish Exchequer)

Item 6: AoB

15. There were no items for discussion.


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