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ILF Scotland - Minute of Board Meeting - 25 June 2019

Type of document: Board Reporting
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Published: June 25, 2019

APPROVED

Independent Living Fund Scotland: Board Meeting

Denholm House, Almondvale Business Park, Livingston, EH54 6GA

Tuesday 25th June 2019 11:00am – 2:30pm

Present

Susan Douglas-Scott CBE                     Chair, Board Director

Liz Humphreys                                      Vice Chair, Board Director

Alan Dickson                                         Board Director (by telephone) (Items 3 & 6)

Mark Adderley                                       Board Director (by telephone) (All except Item 5)

Betty McAtear                                       Board Director

Fiona O’Donnell                                    Board Director

In Attendance

Peter Scott                                           Chief Executive Officer

Harvey Tilley                                           Chief Operating Officer

Jim Maguire                                          Finance Director

Steve Cartwright                                   External Auditor, Henderson Loggie

Robert White                                         Head of Social Work

Kim Dams                                             Inclusion Scotland

Aileen McNiven                                        Executive Business Manager (Secretariat)

Welcome, declarations of interest and apologies

Susan Douglas-Scott (Susan) warmly welcomed all. Susan introduced Kim Dams from Inclusion Scotland. Kim will shadow the Board and Audit & Risk Committee meetings for the next year as part of Inclusion Scotland’s ‘Access to Public Appointments’ programme and Liz Humphreys (Liz) will mentor Kim over the year.

Susan also welcomed Steve Cartwright (Steve) from ILF Scotland External Auditors, Henderson Loggie and also Robert White (Robert), Head of Social Work representing the Senior Team from ILF Scotland.

Apologies

None

Declaration of Interest (DoI)

Fiona O’Donnell (Fiona) declared her voluntary role of Secretary to the Edzell Patient Participation Group which has now been added to the DoI Register 2019.

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

Chairs Introductory Remarks

Susan opened the meeting by providing an up to date summary of recent work completed, stating it has continued to be a busy year for ILF Scotland with the following noted:

  • ILF Scotland have welcomed additional staff to the team, primarily in response to the additional demands of the Transition Fund.  Pressure arising from the increasing operational demands of the Transition Fund, coupled with increased 2015 Fund complexity, continue to mount.
  • A response has now been received from the Minister following the letter written as agreed at the last board meeting. This proposed meeting will take place towards the end of July.
  • ILF Scotland are experiencing increased pressure in relation to Available Income (AI) charges: - 

-The Operations Team have taken calls over the last week or two from fund recipients/award managers querying why they have to make contributions now that we have Frank’s Law.

- A financial management company have been in touch to say that a few of their ILF customers have contacted them refusing to pay their contributions due to Frank’s Law.

- ILF Scotland has been invited to attend the next meeting of the Scotland Against the Care Tax group to answer questions on ILF charging.

- A fund recipient has met with a prominent MSP and discussed dissatisfaction with ILF Scotland charging.

- An Award Manager has written to another prominent MSP about ILF Scotland charging against Severe Disability Premium.

The Reform of Adult Social Care programme has been formally launched by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jean Freeman.  Any potential workstreams will flow from this work.  Peter Scott (Peter) is on the Leadership Alliance, and Jim Elder-Woodward (Scotland – Stakeholder Group Chair) is now on the People Led Policy Panel. 

Susan informed the meeting that the above opening remarks would be discussed in fuller detail throughout the meeting.

1.   Minutes of Previous Meeting

The ILF Scotland Board approved the Board Minute of 30th April 2019 as an accurate account of the meeting.

2.   Matters Arising

 (BD 30 April 2019 – Action 3): Letter from Minister for Public Health , Sport and Wellbeing

Letter dated: 20th June 2019 - received from the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing in response to Action 5 was tabled.

Susan apprised the Board that a new Director, Health & Social Care has been appointed and will be in post in July 2019. Susan informed the Board she would contact the Director’s office to try to arrange a meeting in due course.

ACTION 1: Susan to contact the office of the Director, Health & Social care to request a meeting to discuss ILF Scotland business.

The Board discussed the letter in full also acknowledging and noting the positive remarks within the letter.

The key discussions focused on the remarks regarding the Transition Fund, the Available Income (Charging) Policy and Grant in Aid agreement.

Transition Fund: Lengthy consideration and discussion was given as to how ILF Scotland could widen the current fund. Suggestions included exploring the previous co-production recommendations or expanding the current age range to include a wider demographic of applicants. Raising the maximum age from 21 to 25 was considered a desirable yet easily implemented change.

Available Income (AI) (Charging) Policy: Peter informed the Board of recent communications (noted in the Chairs opening remarks) of many concerning comments recently received. The comments have been received through different channels regarding the above inherited policy and how it affects the poorest disabled people in Scotland.

The Board were also reminded that a current amendment to the AI Policy is with Joe Fitzpatrick, Minster for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing. This is awaiting approval to reduce the AI Charge to £0 or ½ DLA rate, with the latter being the preference.   An amendment to this submission with a AI cap at £50 has also been submitted in line with the affordability condition.  The Board noted this could help alleviate some financial pressures on some of the most economically disadvantaged disabled people across Scotland.

Grant in Aid (GiA): Concerns were raised regarding the lack of a GiA letter and the comments within the letter. It was noted that Health Finance recognises that ILF Scotland is still in a growth phase with more recipients /applicants being supported than in 2015.

Harvey Tilley (Harvey) explained that there are several workstreams looking at work impact across the organisation. This is to ensure the structure continues to be fit for purpose for the future and supports the increased complex workload experienced in all areas of the business.

The Work Impact Assessment Report is expected to support a proposed business case and evidence the impact of increased workload and include appropriate and affordable recommendations.

Susan and Peter will meet with Mr FitzPatrick on 25th July 2019.

The Board agreed a letter should be written to Mr FitzPatrick ahead of the meeting noting the concerns of the Board and will help form the agenda for the meeting in July.

ACTION 2: Susan to write a letter to Joe FitzPatrick noting the concerns of the Board ahead of the meeting in July.

(BD 30 April 2019 – Action 8): Cyber Security Resilience

Liz Humphreys (Liz) congratulated Paul Hayllor and the IT team on a great job and for being recognised as an exemplar in the Cyber Security resilience space.

Liz confirmed a Business Resilience paper will be submitted to the Board towards the end of 2019 early 2020. This paper will be for scrutiny and approval and will include a strategy/ tool kit for Business Continuity Plan testing, process and responsibilities.

ACTION 3: Harvey to submit and present a Business Continuity and Resilience plan to the Board for approval 2019/2020.

3.   Statutory Accounts & Annual Report 2018/19
(refer to paper)

Jim Maguire (Jim) introduced the Statutory Accounts and Annual Report stating the Audit & Risk Committee (ARC) had been through the report in fine detail during their June 2019 meeting.

Jim led the Board through each section providing a brief overview of the key matters and related financial disclosures.

These matters were further discussed, noting that they had been reviewed in detail by the ARC and Auditors.

The Board approved and signed off the Statutory Accounts and Annual Report 2018/19 thanking the Finance team for again producing a robust set of accounts.

Grant in Aid Letter 2019-20
(verbal update by Jim Maguire)

Jim apprised the Board that the Grant in Aid Letter has not yet been agreed with the Scottish Government (SG). It was however acknowledged that a ‘letter of comfort’ has been received, giving some reassurance to the Board.

Jim further reassured the Board that ILF Scotland is now 2 months into 2019/20 Financial year and all finances are on track to meet budget and forecast expectations.

The Board again noted the lack of a Grant in Aid Letter 2019/20.

Audit Report Findings
(refer to paper)

Steve Cartwright (Steve) spoke to the paper, outlining the content and key findings throughout the report.

Steve said he was assured by the ‘Letter of Comfort’ from SG however, noted the lack of a Grant in Aid Letter.

The Board were advised that there were no qualifications to the accounts. Further adding Henderson Loggie had again received full support and co-operation throughout the audit process.

Alan Dickson (Alan) – Chair of ARC, confirmed he was happy with the controls in place.

Detailed discussion and consideration of the audit findings report developed with the Board concluding and noting there is a clear understanding of the audit findings to year end 31 March 2019.

Letter of Representation 2019
(refer to paper)

The Board approved and signed off the Letter of Representation.

It was acknowledged Henderson Loggie were concluding their tenure as External Auditors at ILF Scotland. The Board and Executive team thanked Steve, his team and Henderson Loggie for their positive, supportive and constructive relationship over the last 4 years. The Board wished Steve and his team well for the future.

4.   Directors Resolution to Appoint – External Auditors
Verbal – Susan Douglas-Scott

As an NDPB (Non-Departmental Public Body) the Chair proposed to appoint Audit Scotland or their nominee as the External Auditor for ILF Scotland.

The Board Directors unanimously approved to appoint Audit Scotland or their nominee as the External Auditor for ILF Scotland.

The Board noted ILF Scotland await initial contact from Audit Scotland, however will inform the Board of the tenure of appointment in due course.

5.   Quarterly Corporate Report
(refer to paper)

Peter introduced the paper focussing briefly on a few key areas before inviting Robert White to speak to the Social Work area of the Corporate Report.

Work Impact Assessment: Peter again advised the Board of the increasing work load and complex pressures being experienced across the organisation. Peter updated the Board of the plan to address the areas of concern.

The Board noted the additional regular annual amendments/ uplifts to awards and the complexities in implementing those to recipients. The Board also acknowledged the impact of the unforeseen complexities and administration to deliver the Transition Fund (TF).

A report is due to be distributed with the findings of an Operational Team Work Impact Assessment in the next few weeks. Early indications are that they may be working at between 120-130% over capacity. The Board noted this with concern.

Discussion developed regarding the strategies in place to support staff with Harvey reassuring the Board that work is ongoing to mitigate any risk.

Sickness absence levels were noted to have increased, Harvey explained that several longer term absences in a small workforce have led to increased sickness absence statistics. Short term sickness remains at very low levels. The Board requested that future sickness level statistics should be reported separately for both short and long term sickness.

ACTION 4: Harvey to report short and long term sickness separately in future corporate reports.

Strategy: Peter advised that the Board will be invited to attend a Board Strategy Day to begin the development work of the next Strategic Plan.

ACTION 5: Peter to invite the Board Directors to attend a Board Strategy Development Day within the next 6 months.

Awards: The Board congratulated the staff team on winning the Community Engagement Project of the Year at the UK Public Finance Awards in May.

Pensions: Peter apprised the Board of the forthcoming move to join the Civil Service Defined Benefits pension scheme. Staff will move to the CSPS (Civil Service Pension Scheme) on 1st September 2019. Implementation work is currently ongoing by the Finance and HR teams.

Peter invited Robert White to address the Board Directors.

Robert spoke to the Corporate report updating the Board of the team structure, current workload performance i.e. 1500 review visits per annum (2015 and TF Funds). He also recorded the challenges of delivering a quality service.

Lengthy discussion ensued regarding the Health & Social Care space across Scotland with a focus on the recently set up Health & Social Care reform group.

Robert reiterated the requirement to build sound and positive relationships with Social Work Scotland and how those have developed positively over the last 4 years. However, he did acknowledge there is still much work to be done.

Robert also spoke passionately regarding his concerns of Social Isolation and Loneliness and how this affects disabled people across Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Board participated in the discussions with all agreeing that a key element of ILF Scotland’s impact should be to seek to address loneliness i.e. recipients can and do use ILF to engage in civil society.  However, the board recognise the inherent challenges and asked that assessors consider loneliness as part of their ongoing discussions with disabled people.

Menopause: The Board noted with interest the recent market leading work by the HR team introducing Menopause Support and Guidance across the organisation and speaking at recent conferences. It was noted that this policy has received considerable external attention from sector colleagues.  Susan commended Aileen McNiven (Aileen) on her work in this area and offered to support this and increase visibility through her role as Chair.  

Following discussion the Board requested the Menopause Support and Managers Guidance documents be shared with Board Directors.

ACTION 6: Aileen to share Menopause Support and Managers Guidance with Board Directors and engage with Susan regarding promoting this more widely.

6.   Audit & Risk Committee (ARC) Report
      (Verbal update by Alan Dickson)

Alan informed the Board the ARC had been through the Management Accounts to April 2019 in detail and were satisfied with the forecast being on target.

The Internal Auditor’s (TIAA) contract has ended and ILF Scotland are retendering for this work through the Procurement Contracts Scotland process, using the SG Framework.

The Internal Audit procurement process is ongoing with bids invited to tender from today. The Board noted no bids had been received in the first round. ILF Scotland has now amended the criteria to positively attract bids during this 2nd tender process and ensure ILF Scotland receives appropriate and regular reporting.

Management Accounts
(refer to papers)

Jim introduced a brief snapshot of the Management Accounts to May 2019 stating that figures were close to budget.

It was brought to the Boards attention that to date the Transition Fund growth is slower than expected. Harvey clarified this was being addressed through further sustained engagement across Scotland and explained in detail the planned engagement strategy. The Board discussed this in detail and felt reassured by this presentation of the facts.

Risk Register
(refer to papers) Peter summarised the key points of this paper.

Risk 3PW (inherited policies – not fit for purpose) was again briefly discussed and noted all proposed amendments need to have SG Ministerial approval prior to implementation which is a lengthy process.

The Board noted the ARC Action to the Risk Register to review and update the dates applied on the register.

The Board noted the Audit & Risk Committee report.

7.   MACC & PQQ

The Board noted that no MACC & PQQ’s had been received since the last Board meeting in January 2019.      

8.   Health & Safety Report –
      (refer to paper)

The Board discussed the lone working protection devices which the Assessor team use when on review visits. The Board noted their importance in supporting the Assessor team and ensuring safety measures are in place.

The Board noted with reassurance the Health & Safety Report.

9. Draft Committee Schedule – 2020
    (refer to paper)

The Board requested an alternative date to the current June 2020 to meet in Denholm House as few staff members are in the office due to holiday season.

Susan suggested diary invites be circulated to all Board Directors to aid organisation of diaries.

ACTION 7: Aileen to redistribute updated Board Schedule via Huddle and also Microsoft Outlook.

10. AOB

Cyrenians – Dundee University

Fiona offered ILF Scotland the opportunity of up to 3 x free transition session places for young people and their families attending a 3 day training event hosted by Dundee University. The course will focus on mental health and disability with practitioners working directly with families, parents and young people.

ACTION 8: Fiona will circulate information to the executive team to distribute this opportunity to appropriate young people associated with ILF Scotland. 

10.     Close. 

Important Board Dates:

Next Audit & Risk Meeting: 9:30 am, Monday, 14th October 2019, Atlantic Quay

Next Board Meeting Date:  11:00 am, Tuesday, 29th October 2019, Atlantic Quay

Next Remuneration Committee Meeting: 11:00 am, Monday, September 23rd 2019, Radisson Blu, Glasgow

Next Board Development: 1:00 pm, Monday, September 23rd 2019, Radisson Blu, Glasgow

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