Executive Board minutes: October 2016

Minutes from the first meeting of the Executive Board, formerly the Strategic Board, on 4 October 2016.

Attendees and apologies


  • Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary (Chair)
  • Janet Hamblin, NXD
  • Sarah Davidson, Director General Communities
  • Paul Gray, Director General Health and Social Care
  • Paul Johnston, Director General Learning and Justice
  • Alyson Stafford, Director General for Finance
  • Ken Thomson, Director General for Strategy and Operations


  • Linda McKay, NXD
  • Ronnie Hinds, NXD
  • Liz Ditchburn, Director General Economy
  • Barbara Allison, Director for Communications, Ministerial Support and Facilities

In attendance:

  • Nicky Richards, Director for People
  • John Booth, Head of Communications
  • Gordon Wales, Director for Financial Management
  • James Hynd, Head of Cabinet, Parliament and Governance Division
  • Rebecca Winterstein, Team Leader, Finance Admin and Pay Policy
  • Donald Cameron, Head of Executive Team Support
  • Helen Buckley, ET Support Hub

Items and actions

The Permanent Secretary welcomed everyone to the inaugural meeting of the Executive Board (EB) established following the Corporate Governance Review. New governance arrangements would help the Executive team respond appropriately to a dynamic and complex environment. The new arrangements would also support collective and consistent scrutiny of financial and other data. The development of a new Balanced Scorecard and a business intelligence project (both to be discussed as part of the agenda) would also help manage delivery of the SG2020 programme. There would be 3 key success factors. The first of these was co-ownership – Executive Team members, colleagues with standing attendance, and the support team, had a shared responsibility for success. Second, the new governance arrangements should provide a clear line of sight around decision making for the whole organisation. And third, the approach to business would help determine the quality of outcomes delivered by the Executive Board.


The Board agreed the remit which had been revised to include explicit reference to delivery of the SG2020 programme and to the proposed quadrants in a new Balanced Scorecard. It was agreed that DG Strategy and Operations would chair the Executive Board in the Permanent Secretary’s absence; this and some other textual changes are reflected in the revised remit which is attached to the minutes.

The Board agreed it would be helpful to receive advice on substitutes attending Executive Team (ET) in their absence.

Action 1: ET Support Hub to update ET Remit and recirculate for information. Action 2: ET Business Hub to circulate guidance for ET members about substitute attendance at ET meetings.

Financial stewardship


DG Finance provided an update on the Finance Report. The Board noted that:

  • the Director of Financial Management would begin a scheduled programme of mid-year financial reviews to scrutinise programme expenditure; and
  • the reported forecast DEL outturn position and associated actions.


The Board noted discussion of the Strategic Risk Register, Risk Landscape and Finance and Risk at the final Strategic Board on 6 September, and that a further discussion was scheduled for 6, December.

Development of people and capability

DG Health and Social Care provided an update on the Administration Budget.

The Board discussed and noted:

  • actions taken to balance the administration budget for 2016-17, and work being led by the People Board to develop a Workforce Strategy (People Plan 2020).
  • recruitment, in the remainder of the current year of staff with specialist skills required in new priority areas would add to pay pressure in subsequent years, alongside current known pressures – this was an important component of our forward planning.

People Survey

DG Communities said that the People Survey had gone live on Monday, 30 October and would run until 31 October. All staff communications were in place and communications packs had been issued to business areas for tailoring to local audiences. The People Survey delivery team would share interim business area results as soon as is possible to facilitate local action.

The Executive Team and the Executive Board would have an opportunity for further discussion.

Corporate Board People

DG Communities advised that the People Board (PB) was next scheduled to meet on 13 October and would focus on the needs of the organisation through the lens of SG2020, and in particular focus on actions needed to develop a People Plan and strengthen workforce modelling. Action taken in light of the promotion review was a good example, in an SG2020 context, of how the organisation had responded to staff aspirations and views, and had been developed in collaboration with the trade union side. Similarly it would be important to ensure that the development of the workforce strategy was visible to staff.

The Board would receive a summary report of the PB meeting from October along with an outline of the PB work plan for the next 12 months.

Action 3: DG Communities to table the PB work plan for the next EB meeting scheduled for 1 November.

Corporate Partnership Board

The Director for People said that the new Corporate Partnership Board was an important part of the new governance structure and was intended to streamline current arrangements, and support greater collaboration and engagement with the trade unions. The Corporate Partnership Board is due to meet on 19 December. Membership includes Chairs of all the Corporate Boards.

Results and outcomes

Scotland Performs Report

The Board noted discussion about the Scotland Performs Report at the Strategic Board on 6 September and that the next scheduled discussion would be at EB on 6 December.

Corporate Board Performance and Priorities

DG Finance advised that the Performance and Priorities (P&P) Board would be responsible for tracking delivery of Programme for Government commitments with the National Performance Framework embedded at the heart of the Board’s activity.

The Board was next scheduled to meet on 31 October.

The EB would receive an outline of the P&P work plan for the next 12 months.

Action 4: DG Finance/DG Health and Social Care to table the P&P work plan for the next EB meeting.

Corporate Board: Scottish Government Audit and Assurance Committee (SGAAC)

Ms Hamblin, NXD, said that the creation of SGAAC signalled an important shift in the assurance framework. Ms Hamblin NXD invited Directors General (DGs) to consider how the SGAAC agenda planning could best serve their portfolio needs and ultimately provide the Principal Accountable Officer with the appropriate level of assurance.

The EB would receive an outline of the SGAAC work plan for the next 12 months and an outline of any outstanding actions from SGARC for the EB meeting scheduled for 1 November.

The SGAAC Board was next scheduled to meet on the 15 December.

Action 5: ET Business Hub to table SGAAC work plan and an outline of any outstanding actions from SGARC that should be reassigned to the EB for the next EB meeting scheduled for 1 November.

Action 6: Directors General to contribute views on SGAAC agenda planning to shape the nature of the forthcoming meeting scheduled for 15 December.

Organisational efficiency

Corporate Board: Place Board

DG Learning and Justice said that meetings of the Place Board (PlB) had been scheduled through to October 2017 and the next meeting would take place on 15 November. The Board would be publishing a Saltire article to encourage staff participation on the Board.

The EB would receive an outline of the PlB work plan for the next 12 months; a copy of the draft agenda PlB meeting scheduled for 15 November; and an outline of any outstanding actions from Resources Board that should be reassigned to the EB.

Action 7: DG Learning and Justice/DG Communities to table an outline of the PlB work plan for the next 12 months; a copy of the draft agenda PlB meeting scheduled for 15 November; and an outline of any outstanding actions from Resources Board that should be reassigned to the EB.

Balanced Scorecard

DG Strategy and Operations said that discussion of the proposed Balanced Scorecard and the Business Intelligence project provided an opportunity to consider data requirements for the Executive Board. The collection and scrutiny of appropriate data would be key to developing actions and tracking delivery of the SG2020 programme. Data would be reported and scrutinised by the relevant corporate board that would be responsible for taking necessary actions and reporting to the Executive Board.

The Head of Cabinet, Parliament and Governance Division updated the Executive Board about work being done to develop the Balanced Scorecard. The Scorecard proposed quadrants (against which the agenda for the EB had been mapped).

Following discussion the Board agreed the four quadrants and commissioned further work to identify data requirements for each quadrant including frequency to be considered by the EB.

Action 8: Head of Cabinet, Parliament and Governance Division and ET Programme Office to identify data requirements for each quadrant including frequency to be considered by the EB.

Business Intelligence

The Director for Financial Management informed the Board of progress with the Business Intelligence Project, highlighting the benefits of the system including: consistent format; automation of repetitive tasks; shared services agenda; and less resource intensive; (people) - SG2020 focussed. A proof of concept has been undertaken and approval granted. Procurement was due to start week commencing 10 October with an implementation timeline of 12 months.

The Board agreed that the Place Board should be responsible for oversight of the business intelligence project.

Performance data

Director General Strategy and Operations provided an update on Performance data and asked colleagues, under the new assurance framework, to include discussion relating to management information in their scheduled Senior Management Team meetings.


No items for discussion.
Next meeting: Tuesday, 1 November
Executive Board Secretariat
5 October 2016


Email: ceu@gov.scot

Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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