Strategic Board minutes: December 2015

Minutes of the Strategic Board, which meets quarterly, chaired by the Permanent Secretary in December 2015.

Attendees and apologies

No information available.

Items and actions


10:15 Welcome and introductions

10:20 Minutes of SB(15) 3rd meeting

10:25 Strategic Board operation and SG Governance review

Overview of the four themes

10:55 People and Capability: People Board Highlight Report Organisational Efficiency: Workforce Information and Resources Board Highlight Report Finance and Risk: Finance Paper, risk register and oral update on Audit and Risk from SGARC/PARC Performance and Outcomes: Scotland Performs Headline Report and oral update on the Performance Board

SG2020, Spending Review and the People Survey

11:10 Review of progress to date


12:10 Feedback

Minutes and actions

Please note that parts of the record of discussion are considered exempt from publication and have been redacted.

NXDs had attended the Directors’ Weekly meeting, the consensus being this is a useful way for them to engage more widely with the organisation.

Minutes of September SB cleared.

Action tracker cleared.


Identify a date for Executive Team (ET) to consider international issues (item 1 on September’s action tracker). (Perm Sec’s Office)

Revised SB role and purpose

Work undertaken on revising SB has identified three key areas for change.

A redesigning of its purpose, ‘readiness to address future challenges’, has been added along with a clear focus on four themes:

  • performance and outcomes
  • people and capability
  • finance and risk
  • organisational efficiency

A streamlined agenda, a focus on the four key themes and fewer, shorter papers.

More in-depth discussion on one or two major strategic issues.

SG governance. Update on the work in progress from Ken Thomson. SB were pleased with the progress that has been made, in particular the balanced scorecard on governance which SB afreed was well aligned.

Shadow Strategic Board (SSB). Paul Johston recently invited some of his staff to offer their reflections on the ideas of an SSB and thoughts on how SB could engage better with the wider organisation. Desire for greater engagement was evident.


The revisions made for this SB have resulted in an improved agenda, however it should be seen as work in progress and will continue to be developed.

Further work on engagement, including testing different engagement methods ahead of the next SB meeting.


The overall Governance Review should include proposals for staff engagement within each one of the boards that will form part of the governance landscape.

All DGs to test out an approach to staff engagement within their DG families (potentially supported by an NXD) and report back on this engagement at the next SB meeting.

Overview of the four themes

People and capability

People Board Highlight Report (Sarah Davidson), noted.

Organisational efficiecny

Workforce Information and Resources Board Highlight Report (Ken Thomson and Barbara Allison).

Finance and risk

Finance paper, risk register and oral update on Audit Risk from SGARC/PARC (Alyson Stafford and Janet Hamblin). Alyson provided and update.

Performance and outcomes

Scotland Performs Headling Report and oral update on the Performance Board (Alyson Stafford), noted.

SG2020, Spending Review and the People Survey


Ken gave a brief update on SG2020 and the four point plan.

Spending Review (SR)

Alyson provided and update on the SR.

People Survey (PS)

Sarah informed Sb that the results of the PS mirror the findings of the local leadership 'keep/leave' exercise.


We need to have a clear focus on developing local leadership and management capability within the organisation in response to the findings of the People Survey and the demands that will be placed on the organisation in the context of 2020. Sb to be updated on the work that is underway to secure this at the next SB meeting.

The thematic discussions that began in the context of the SR should be progressed. Progress on these themes will be essential in order to meet medium and longer term pressure and demands. A future SB should review progress.

SB should be kept up to date with the progress that is being made with staff engagement on the 2020 Vision following the completion of the 'keep, leave, 2020' excercise.

SB reflections on the meeting


Perm Sec summarised the discussion on the SB role and prupose, confirming it is a journey but with a defined outcome and clear timescales.

SB meetings should have a more prominent focus on readiness, looking forward rather than back, with the paper work provided being designed to facilitate challenging discussion.

Other NXDs may find it useful to have exposure to SB.


Significant progress to be made ahead of the next SB meeting in March.

More information

The Strategic Board oversee's the governance of the civil service, and is chaired by the Permanent Secretary. It includes:

  • six Director-Generals (DGs)
  • the Chief Scientific Advisor
  • the Chief Economic Advisor
  • the Chief Executive of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)
  • three Non Executive Directors.

Minutes are published quarterly.

strategic board minutes thursday 03 december 2015.pdf



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