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ILF Scotland - Minute of Board Meeting - 19 October 2021

Type of document: Board Reporting

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Published: October 19, 2021

APPROVED

Independent Living Fund Scotland: Board Meeting

Video-Conference (COVID 19)

Tuesday 19 October 2021 ~ 11:00am – 12:50pm

Present

Susan Douglas-Scott CBE                     Chair, Board Director

Alan Dickson                                         Board Director

Anne-Marie Monaghan                          Board Director (from item 3c)

Betty McAtear                                       Board Director

Étienne d’Aboville                                  Board Director

Liz Humphreys                                      Vice Chair, Board Director

Mark Adderley                                       Board Director

Apologies                                            None

In Attendance

Peter Scott                                           Chief Executive Officer (from Item 3b)

Harvey Tilley                                           Chief Operating Officer

Jim Maguire                                          Finance Director

Paul Hayllor                                          Director of Digital and Information Services

Robert White                                         Director of Self Directed Support

Linda Scott                                           Director of Policy, Improvement and Engagement

Aileen McNiven                                       Head of Business Services (Secretariat)

Welcome, declarations of interest and apologies

Susan Douglas-Scott (Susan) warmly welcomed everyone to the 24th ILF Scotland Board Meeting. Susan informed that Anne-Marie Monaghan (Anne-Marie) and Peter Scott (Peter) would join the meeting slightly later due to other ILF Scotland business.

Declarations of Interest (DoI)

No additional Declarations of Interest were received out with DoI Register.

Chairs Introductory Remarks

Susan noted that Q2 2020-21 has seen the start of a gradual return to a pre-COVID operational posture with the recommencement of physical review visits. Susan spoke of the cautious return to the office, further noting that it has been a time to refresh, to reskill the workforce whilst also taking much needed holidays.

Susan congratulated the staff following the recognition as a Top 10 UK Employer (the only organisation in Scotland for the third year in a row). The Chair also commended Aileen McNiven (Aileen) for her lead role in achieving the award and the television appearance of Harvey Tilley (Harvey) on the BBC NINE show ( Monday 12th October 2021) when he was interviewed about ILF Scotland’s award winning approach to work life balance/harmony.

Through Q2 the team have successfully participated in delivering the Scottish Government’s £500 thank you payment to PA’s across Scotland and acting as the payment vehicle for over 4,500 PA’s. The Board Director’s recognised the hard work in the smooth delivery offering their congratulations. 

The Transition Fund (TF) is being recognised as successful in the delivery of grants for disabled young people across Scotland. Staff have been managing the ever growing record demand in the Transition Fund which will be discussed further during the meeting. The result of this is that the whole organisation has been under significant and sustained pressure with staff feeling a little ‘battle weary’.

Susan praised the quality of the TF paper which would be discussed at item 4b and invited the team to add an Executive Team Sponsor and author to future Board papers.

ACTION 1: Add Executive Team Sponsor and Author to future Board papers. 

The team have also been working closely with both Northern Ireland and Scotland Sponsor Teams regarding the re-opening of the 2015 fund. The Chair emphasised the importance of re-opening both funds to support disabled people across Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Susan reminded the Board Directors of the forthcoming meetings in 2022. The Chair noted that she would hope to meet ‘face to face’ at the Development Day, March 2022 with the caveat it would be subject to COVID-19 restrictions and transmission rates following the winter months.

1.   Minutes of Previous Meeting (refer to paper)

The Board approved the Board Minute of 29 June 2021.

The Board approved the PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL £500 PA ‘Thank you’ Minute of 29 June 2021 subject to removal of the following words:

Page 3: Declaration of Interest: Remove: ‘and as employer of PA’s who may apply for the £500 ‘thank you’ payment.’

2.  Matters Arising

All matters arising included within the agenda.

3.   Remuneration Committee Report (verbal)  

Mark Adderley (Mark) gave a verbal update of the recent Remuneration Committee of 20th September 2021.

Mark highlighted the following:

  • Employee Engagement Survey: The Employee Engagement Survey took place during May 2021. Following a comprehensive and positive report a short life working group has started to meet to discuss the survey and any recommendations to improve the workforce offering.
  • Remuneration Committee Self-assessment: Following good governance principles the Remuneration Committee completed a self-assessment prior to the meeting on 20th September 2021. The overall outcome of the assessment reported that Board Directors were content and supportive of the governance, business decisions and the management of the Remuneration Committee meetings.
  • Working Families Flexible Working Benchmarking 2021: ILF Scotland have for the 3rd year been recognised as Top 10 Employer in the UK.
  • Shortened Hours Working Week : Mark confirmed the Remuneration Committee supports the Scottish Governments Finance Pay Policy 2021-21 recommendation for NDPB’s to consider, when appropriate to do so, the reduction in working hours from 37 to 35 hours. A paper for approval will be submitted in due course.
  • Terms of Reference: Mark apprised the Board of the forthcoming Remuneration Committee Terms of Reference review which will be included on the next agenda in March 2022.

The Board noted the verbal Remuneration Committee report.

4. Audit Committee Report (refer to papers 3a-3d)

Verbal Report

Following a successful meeting on 18th October 2021 Alan Dickson (Alan) highlighted the following areas discussed during the Audit & Risk Committee meeting:

  • Internal Audit: Alan confirmed the Audit Plan is following the schedule with actions being closed out as appropriate.

Alan apprised the meeting of the forthcoming tendering process to procure Internal Auditor’s. The current Internal Auditors will complete their contract in spring 2022. The executive management recommendation to appoint the next Internal Auditors would be presented at the next Audit & Risk meeting, following the tender process.

  • Management Accounts: Following scrutiny during the meeting on 18th October assurance was given that there were no major concerns for the year to date 2021-22.
  • Risk Workshop: Alan thanked the team for a positive Risk Workshop (20th September 2021) which will result in an updated reporting structure being introduced on the agenda of January 2022.
  • Terms of Reference: Alan and Peter will review and re-submit the Audit & Risk Committee Terms of Reference ahead of the next meeting in February 2022.

The Board noted the verbal Audit & Risk Committee Report.

Paper 3a.

Risk Register Summary (refer to paper)

Paul Hayllor (Paul) spoke to the paper highlighting the 2 risk scores which had increased.

  • Risk 1S: ILF Scotland operates in a difficult strategic environment
  • Risk 9S: LA provision changes during COVID-19

The Board discussed both risks at length, considering the implications of the National Care Service Consultation and LA rebalancing/threshold sums recognising the rationale for the increased risk.

ACTION 2: The Chair invited the Executive Team to join her to discuss the proposed ILF Scotland consultation response.

ACTION 3: All risk changes/rationale to be highlighted and clarified concisely in the new Risk Register format. 

The Board noted the Risk Register Summary.

Paper 3b

Finance Commentary to Aug 2021

Jim Maguire (Jim) spoke to the paper apprising the Board of the Management Accounts of August and September 2021.

The Board again discussed the lack of capital funding in relation to the digital transformation project. The Board noted with concern this funding has been requested repeatedly over the last 4 years.

Jim updated the Board of the previously reported £150k of ILF Scotland reserves which will support the digital infrastructure during 2021-22 (agreed by Health Finance that ILF Scotland would absorb the costs). The Board is cognisant that the £150k is insufficient to update and modernise the digital infrastructure within ILF Scotland.

The Executive team assured the Board of the short term contingency plans which are in place with a longer term strategy being a major component of the re-opening plans of both Scotland and Northern Ireland Funds.

The Board noted the Management Accounts and Finance Commentary of August 2021/ September 2021.

Paper 3c.

Modern Slavery Statement 2021-21

Following scrutiny during the Audit & Risk Committee of 18th October the Audit & Risk Committee recommend the Board approve the Modern Slavery Statement 2020-21.

The Board briefly discussed the requirement to ensure Northern Ireland Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking requirements were sufficiently covered in the statement.

ACTION 4: Peter to review the statement to ensure Northern Ireland governance requirements are covered in the statement and will seek the view of our Northern Ireland Sponsor Team. 

The Board approved the Modern Slavery Statement 2020-21 subject to Northern Ireland governance confirmation. 

Paper 3d.

£500 PA Payment Update

Peter Scott (Peter) spoke to the £500 PA Payment Update which is now in its final stage and highlighted the successful implementation of the payments for PA’s across Scotland.

Harvey apprised the meeting that Northern Ireland Sponsor Team have contacted ILF Scotland regarding the possibility of supporting the implementation of the Northern Ireland PA ‘thank-you’ payment.

Betty McAtear (Betty) stated that it was worthy of noting that this work has been carried out successfully with outdated IT systems.

The Board thanked the team for taking on the Scotland £500 PA ‘thank you’ payment project and recognising the successful delivery.

The Board noted the £500 PA Payment Update.

5.  Quarterly Corporate Reporting (refer to papers 4-4d)

Paper 4

Quarterly Corporate Report

Harvey Tilley (Harvey) spoke to the Q2 Report and Business Plan stating the quarter has been exceptionally busy with staff across all directorates stretched. Current health & wellbeing initiatives alongside the organisational culture are believed to have supported staff throughout this challenging period.

Harvey highlighted the following areas to note:

  • Sickness & Absence: Several staff are currently absent due to long term sickness which is adding significant workload across the Operations and Assessor teams. Contingency plans are being implemented to support the teams over the next 6 months. 
  • Transition Fund (TF) has received significantly increased calls and applications which will be discussed further at paper 4b.
  • Face to face reviews have re-commenced with a significant backlog to clear over the next 2 years. Concerns were raised at the slow re-emergence of LA support which is adding to the challenge.
  • Feeley Report: Harvey apprised the Board of the many papers submitted, discussions and meetings which have taken place with the Sponsor Team on the re-opening of the Scotland Fund. Ministerial feedback remains positive, however no final commitment to re-opening has been received.
  • Northern Ireland: The final submission of the proposal to re-open the Northern Ireland Fund is expected to be with the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health, Richard Pengelly by the end of this week. Thereafter submission is expected to the Minister for decision.
  • Risk & Resilience: Thanks were offered to Paul Hayllor and Jo Leitch following the positive and constructive piece of work on Risk & Resilience which is nearing completion.
  • Scottish Advisory Group: Peter reported Kevin Stewart, the Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care met with the Scottish Advisory Group on Monday 18th October. The group members shared their own poignant personal situations and concerns regarding ILF funding, both current and for the future. The Minister confirmed it is his ambition to re-open the 2015 Fund and further reform Available Income charges subject to funding sustainability.
  • LA Packages/ILF Scotland thresholds: Concerns were raised regarding the lack of some critical LA services and support for disabled people. Through COVID-19 many packages from LA’s have fallen below the ILF Scotland threshold sums, which threatens the viability of some recipient awards. The Board discussed this at length noting the potential seriousness of the issue and unintended consequences for recipients.

ACTION 5: The Chair invited Anne-Marie Monaghan (Anne-Marie) to convene a separate meeting with interested Directors to allow further discussion on our approach to rebalance packages and awards for recipients as COVID flexibilities come to an end.

Paper 4a.

Quarterly Business Plan Update

The Board noted the Q2 Business Plan Update.

Paper 4b.

Transition Fund (TF) Paper

Harvey introduced the paper highlighting the success of the TF following its launch in December 2017.

Increased applications and incomplete applications have led to extra workload for the Operations team, increasing the process time to 10 weeks. The KPI is 12 weeks (from receipt of completed application to grant awarded).

The paper outlines the issues and the recommended options to find a solution before the current KPI of 12 weeks is breached.

In recent weeks an Assessor has been appointed to the team to support assessments. Overtime has been a regular feature over the last few months to help clear the backlog, however this isn’t sustainable. A temporary Finance Administrator (TF) post will also be filled to support the ‘end of grant’ process.

Harvey confirmed he will meet with Jim and Peter to discuss recruitment of Specialist Caseworkers (TF) prior to submitting a business case requesting approval to use reserves to the Sponsor Team.  

The Board discussed at length the concerning increase in TF applications from young people with mental health issues as a consequence of reduced local provision during COVID-19 and the wider impact of the pandemic, and how ILF Scotland can offer support for the future.

Consideration was given to look at this as part of the National Care Service Consultation process and also how to develop and expand the TF as the TF reaches its 5 year anniversary in December 2022.

Paper 4c.

Q1 and Q2 Efficiencies

Paul explained the context of the paper highlighting the efficiencies currently in place and those under review. The IT modifications implemented have resulted in notable operational efficiencies in practice.

Paul was cognisant of the efficiencies supporting and enabling our front line staff to deliver a quality service to both recipients of the 2015 Fund and applicants of the TF.

The Board noted the Q1 and Q2 Efficiencies.

Paper 4d.

Information Governance Dashboard

Paul spoke briefly to paper 4d: Information Governance Dashboard highlighting the staff education training programme was reaping benefits with staff recognising and reporting timeously cyber security issues and phishing attempts.

The Board noted the Information Governance Dashboard.

6. Scottish Government Framework (refer to paper 5)

Peter spoke to the paper advising of the minor update to the standard new Scottish Government Framework Agreement.

Following discussion regarding a previously submitted question on Para 15:  Programme and Project Management (PPM) Principles, Peter confirmed he will be discussing any implications with the Sponsor Team.

The Board noted the Framework Agreement.

7. MiCase & PQ’s (refer to paper 6)

The Board noted the MiCase & PQ paper.

8. Health & Safety Report (refer to papers 7 & 7a)

Paper 7.

The Boardwere assured by the Health & Safety Report (01 July 2021 - 30 September 2021.)

The Board noted the Health & Safety Report.

Paper 7a.

Annual Health & Safety Audit Findings Report

The Board congratulated the Health & Safety team for the reassuring Health & Safety Audit Findings Report 2020-21.

The Board noted the Health & Safety Audit Findings Report 2021-21.

AOB

None

12. Close of Meeting

Important Board Dates:

Next: Development Day & Risk Workshop: Venue tbc: 1:00pm, Monday 28th March 2022

Next: Audit & Risk Committee: ZOOM, 10:30am, Monday 24th January 2022

Next: Board Meeting: ZOOM: 11:00am, Tuesday 01st February 2022

Next: Remuneration Committee: Venue tbc: 11:00am, Monday 28th March 2022

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