NHS Forth Valley Assurance Board minutes: 22 November 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 22 November 2023.

Attendees and apologies


  • Christine McLaughlin, Co-Director of Population Health (Chair) (in-person) 
  • Fiona Hogg, Chief People Officer (in-person)
  • Angie Wood, Director of Social Care Resilience and Improvement (in-person)
  • Robert Kirkwood, Head of the Office of Chief Executive (in-person)

Attendees – Forth Valley 

  • Janie McCusker - Chair (in-person)
  • Amanda Croft - Interim Chief Executive (in-person)

Attendees – SG/Other 

  • [redacted] (Secretariat), Executive Support Officer (in-person)

Items and actions

Welcome, apologies and introductions

The Chair of the Assurance Board (AB) welcomed members to the fifteenth meeting and outlined the agenda. The Annual Review which was held on Monday 20 November 2023 was a positive discussion, providing the opportunity to highlight the positive recovery work that continued across the board, whilst also providing the Cabinet Secretary with valuable insight from a range of FV colleagues. 

NHS Forth Valley improvement plan

Escalation improvement action plan v2 - Close out report

Amanda Croft (interim Chief Executive) provided an overview of the updated close out report, following comments from AB members at the previous meeting. AB members commented that the document successfully summarises and sets out the progress made to date. Any outstanding actions from v2 have been carried forward onto version 3 of the assurance and improvement plan, with an appropriate read across between the documents. The AB Chair and members were content to sign off the close out report, prior to it being discussed at NHS Forth Valley’s board meeting on 28 November 2023.

Assurance and improvement plan v3 – final draft

Amanda Croft gave an overview of the updated assurance and improvement plan and highlighted that it will remain a live document with progress monitored on an ongoing basis. Feedback from AB members included:

  • good level of detail in the plan and set out well, making it easy to read and providing clarity on outcomes sought
  • consideration to be given to including Innovation and iMatter in the plan, not necessarily in this iteration, but will want to demonstrate that NHS FV is a psychologically safe learning organisation
  • it should be set out that the dates included in the plan are a mix of completion dates, as well as dates to reach a point on the journey to completion – this would highlight the incremental improvements being made
  • clarity would be drawn through into the governance section, as work on the recent self-assessment and recommendations from the independent review emerged.

The AB Chair reminded colleagues that NHS Forth Valley is escalated for governance, culture and leadership and although it’s important for the board to be mindful of their financial position, consideration should be given to how the board of FV continues to monitor their financial position. This should be monitored and evaluated out with the AB improvement plan. This plan is reflective of their current escalation only. 

The new board secretary will start their role on 4 December 2023 and will be key in maintaining the momentum and rigour around the ongoing monitoring and development of the assurance and improvement plan. Progress within FV will be monitored via 4-weekly highlight report meetings, as well as through monthly meetings with AB board members.

The Chair and AB members were content to sign off the assurance and improvement plan, on the basis that the comments raised today would be considered ahead of the full FV board meeting scheduled for 28 November.

Governance report

Janie McCusker (Chair) highlighted that facilitated development sessions took place on 7 and 21 November 2023 to consider the rovernance report, received from John Brown (Chair of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and member of the external support team). It was highlighted that these were positive sessions, which allowed for FV board members to fully reflect on the report before discussing a way forward. Janie McCusker updated that she had recently written to John Brown seeking clarity on one of the paragraphs included in the report and awaited a response. A number of recommendations included in the report had already been completed as well as several other recommendations underway within their assurance and improvement plan. The report would now be presented at the full FV board meeting on 28 November. 

It was noted that facilitated discussions on the governance self-assessment will take place on 5 December, with a follow up on 1 February. This will allow both the themes of the governance report, along with the self-assessment to be drawn into a single action plan that can be reflected in the assurance and improvement plan.

The AB noted the good progress made but reiterated the need for a cohesive approach, that drew together the report and self-assessment findings.

AOB/prep for next meeting

The next meeting of the AB would be held on 20 December 2023. It was expected that the assurance and improvement plan would continue to be considered at AB meetings going forward. For the next meeting, consideration was given around having a deeper discussion on a specific topic and Amanda Croft and Janie McCusker would be asked for their view on this closer to the meeting. 

The Chair thanked everyone for their contributions and closed the meeting. 

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