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Published: June 30, 2020
Independent Living Fund Scotland: Board Meeting
Video-Conference (COVID 19)
Tuesday 30 June 2020 11:00am – 1:10pm
Susan Douglas-Scott CBE Chair, Board Director
Liz Humphreys Vice Chair, Board Director
Alan Dickson Board Director
Betty McAtear Board Director
Étienne d’Aboville Board Director
Anne-Marie Monaghan Board Director
Mark Adderley Board Director
Peter Scott Chief Executive Officer
Harvey Tilley Chief Operating Officer
Jim Maguire Finance Director
Kim Dams Inclusion Scotland
Paul Hayllor Director of Digital and Information Services
Robert White Director of Self Directed Support
Linda Scott Director of Policy, Improvement and Engagement
Pat Kenny Deloitte, External Auditor
Aileen McNiven Head of Business Services (Secretariat)
Welcome, declarations of interest and apologies
Susan Douglas-Scott (Susan) warmly welcomed everyone to the second video-conference ILF Scotland Board Meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Susan was especially pleased to welcome Peter Scott (Peter) following his final chemotherapy treatment last week and Pat Kenny, External Auditor from Deloitte.
Declaration of Interest (DoI)
No additional Declarations of Interest were received out with DoI Register.
Chairs Introductory Remarks
Susan opened the meeting recognising that today’s Board meeting concluded Kim Dam’s (Kim) time with the ILF Scotland Board. Kim has attended all governance and subcommittee meetings over the past 12 months as part of Inclusion Scotland’s ‘Access to Public Appointments’ programme. Susan thanked Liz Humphreys (Liz) who has mentored Kim over the last year. On behalf of the Board, Susan thanked Kim and wished her well in her future career.
Acknowledgement and appreciation was made of the Executive Team’s excellent leadership during COVID 19, which has been led by Harvey Tilley (Harvey), whilst Peter has been receiving cancer treatment.
Congratulations were proffered to the team in acknowledgment of the SME Best Employer Award (Working Families) received in May 2020.
Susan congratulated ILF Scotland on its 5 th Birthday Celebrations. 1 st July 2020 kicks off a week long ‘virtual’ celebration with a great programme of ‘virtual’ events planned.
The Board were apprised of the newly appointed staff within the Sponsor Team, with Carla Plasberg-Hill (Adult Social Care Delivery Manager) and Fiona Lowry (Formal Agreements Co-ordinator) joining the team. Susan thanked Paul Ingram (Sponsor Team Manager) and Caroline Martin (Policy Officer) for their hard work over the last years and wished them well in their new posts.
Due to the video-conferencing Susan had requested comments and questions be submitted and collated in advance of the meeting. The Chair noted they had been answered almost in entirety in advance of the meeting. (refer to paper: ILF Scotland – BD 30 June 2020 - Comments and Questions)
1.Minutes of Previous Meeting
The ILF Scotland Board approved the Board Minute of 28 April 2020 as an accurate record of the meeting.
2. Matters Arising
All matters arising included within the agenda.
3. COVID 19 – Recovery Action Plan (refer to paper)
Susan invited Paul Hayllor (Paul) to speak to the Recovery Model and Team Feedback.
Paul explained the COVID 19 Action plan intends to set out a roadmap to how ILF Scotland will remodel ‘business as usual’ as we emerge from the COVID 19 pandemic lockdown. The process is to create a risk based priority action plan. Key to gathering the feedback will be:
a) Team Based Staff Survey
b) Individual Staff Survey
c) Stakeholder Survey
The expected time frame to gather and analyse data and share the action plan with the Board is end of July 2020. Board Directors will be then asked to feedback comments and recommendations to support the implementation.
Harvey acknowledged the emerging COVID 19 fatigue among staff, reassuring the Board that strategies and training mechanisms are in place to support the workforce now and in the future. The Board discussed at length the recovery project and noted the recovery journey may take two years or more due to the unintended consequences of policy decisions.
ACTION 1: Circulate draft action plan by end July 2020 to Board Directors for comment prior to implementation. (Paul)
ACTION 2: Pg. 1 – Principle 1: Change to ‘Must act to prevent loss of life and minimise transmission of COVID 19’. (Paul)
The Board noted the COVID 19 Recovery Action Plan.
4. Quarter 1- Corporate Report (refer to paper)
Harvey Tilley (Harvey) briefly summarised some key points detailed in the Corporate Report.
- ILF Scotland 5 th Birthday Celebrations: Harvey briefly summarised the 5 year journey from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2020. Harvey thanked the Board and staff for their hard work, support and advice.
- Acknowledgment was made of the flexible working culture which has supported the COVID 19 transition to working from home across the workforce.
- 1800/2600 Welfare Checks have now completed, however, the Board again noted that the SDS/COSLA guidance which outlines that ‘no support packages should be reduced through COVID 19’ is presenting challenges in reality for LA’s.
- Despite COVID 19, ILF Scotland has had the busiest operational period in its history due to the change in operational delivery, welfare checks, normal 2015 fund business, the ever increasing number of Transition Fund applications and corresponding workload.
- Staff Survey – closed on 23rd June with the full report currently being prepared. The full report will be presented to the Remuneration Committee in September.
- During COVID 19 it has become further apparent of the need to modernise the outdated IT systems which are struggling to cope with current and growing demand. The Board noted the urgent and ongoing requirement for capital funding to support an upgrade to deliver the Digital Transformation plan. Jim Maguire (Jim) explained that conversations have been ongoing over the last 3 years with the Sponsor Team. Paul Hayllor (Paul) is working on the plan which will be submitted for a Capital Fund request to be drawn down in 2021-22. The Board also noted the contingency plans in place to support the ageing IT systems.
- Harvey updated that the Flexible Funding Policy has been extended to the end of September to support 2015 Fund recipients. The Board noted and welcomed the update.
The Board were directed to the report and questions were welcomed.
The Board recognised the flexibility ILF Scotland has applied to Policy to support disabled people during COVID 19, noting that this has not gone unnoticed across the sector. Anne-Marie Monaghan (Anne-Marie) and Etienne d’Aboville (Etienne) passed on thanks to the organisation and the team from those who have welcomed the flexibility and support. The Board commended ILF Scotland on its supportive and flexible approach to recipients and applicants during COVID 19.
The Board noted the Q1 Corporate Report.
4a. 5 th Birthday Celebrations (refer to paper)
Harvey spoke to the paper outlining the ‘virtual’ 5th Birthday Celebrations briefing which begin 1st July 2020.
The week long celebrations starts on 1st July 2020 with a ‘virtual’ All Staff Meeting when the Chair will address the staff to start the celebrations. All Board Directors were invited to attend the celebrations.
The Board stated they are looking forward to the publication of the NI research during the week, which includes the remarkable Social Return in Investment (SROI) previously discussed.
Also noted with anticipation is the ‘world premiere’ video which includes clips from Robin Swann, Northern Ireland Health Minister, Jeane Freeman, Cabinet Secretary for Health, recipients, applicants, staff and many other supporters of ILF Scotland. Those videos will be presented at the All Staff meeting and on social media from the 1st July 2020.
The Board noted with enthusiasm the 5th Birthday Celebrations.
5. 2020-2023 Strategic Plan (draft) (refer to paper)
Susan introduced the agenda item, outlining the Sponsor Team’s recent comments regarding the 2020/23 Strategic Plan which was approved by the Board in April 2020.
Harvey reported that the Sponsor Team have advised that they have been unable to focus on the content of the Strategic Plan in recent months due to pressures associated with COVID 19. However they have now informed us, at a very late stage, of certain amendments they would like to incorporate into the strategy before formal Scottish Government approval.
The Board expressed disappointment with the Sponsor Team’s late engagement and subsequent directive, particularly given Susan’s clear brief from the Minister for Public Health, Joe FitzPatrick, that ILF Scotland should be bold and ambitious.
The board expressed its preference to reach a quick agreement with the Sponsor Team, however was clear that the essence of the co-produced strategy should not change. The Board determined that any variation to the plan should be re-presented for Board approval.
ACTION 3: Explore the Sponsor Teams expectations of the 2020-23 Strategic Plan during the planned meeting on 2nd July 2020. Thereafter further consultation with the Board to provide a collective decision. (Harvey)
6. Statutory Accounts and Annual Report 2019-20 (refer to paper)
Jim introduced the Statutory Accounts and Annual Report. He confirmed that, after some delay, we have now received an Accounts Directive from Scottish Government stating that our Accounts are to be produced in line with FReM (Government financial reporting manual). This change has added complication to this years accounts process.
Alan Dickson (Alan), Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee, advised the board of their rigorous inspection of the Annual Report and Accounts during the Committee’s June 2020 meeting.
Following brief discussion the Board approved and signed off the Statutory Accounts and Annual Report 2019/20 with Susan thanking the Finance team for again producing a robust set of accounts.
6a. Audit Report Findings (refer to paper)
Pat Kenny (Pat) spoke to the paper.
The Board were advised that there were no qualifications to the accounts. Further adding Deloitte had received full support and co-operation throughout the audit process. The Board congratulated the Finance Team, as this was the 5th year in a row that the Finance Team have had a clear set of accounts with no qualification and no proposed changes to numbers.
Alan Dickson (Alan) – Chair of ARC, confirmed he was happy with the controls in place. Brief 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 2020.
The Board noted the Audit Findings Report.
6b. Letter of Representation (refer to paper)
Pat confirmed the Annual Report and Accounts 2019-20 had been completed during COVID 19 lockdown and had been carried out entirely remotely. Pat offered the Board assurance that the full process had produced a ‘clean’ audit with no changes to the numbers.
During discussions Mark Adderley (Mark) spoke of the recently received Letter of Comfort from the Scottish Government supporting ILF Scotland through COVID 19. The Board agreed to consider the requirement of a Reserves Policy to provide the Board with reassurance for the future.
ACTION 4: Board Meeting – October 2020 – Include presentation of a Reserves Policy as an Agenda item (Jim)
The Board approved and signed off the Letter of Representation.
7. Audit Committee Report (refer to paper)
Verbal Update – Audit & Risk Committee (ARC) – 15 June 2020
Alan briefly apprised the Board of the recent ARC meeting, confirming the focus had been to examine the Statutory Accounts in detail ahead of presenting for approval to the full Board.
Internal Audit processes and reporting have improved with a more robust reporting model from Henderson Loggie. Alan confirmed the ARC are comfortable with Internal Audit findings with a clearer reporting of outstanding summaries.
The Board noted the Audit & Risk Committee verbal report.
7a. Management Accounts (May 2020)
Jim introduced the Management accounts to May 2020.
Jim advised the Management Accounts had been scrutinised during the recent Audit & Risk Committee (ARC) on 15th June 2020.
Jim highlighted that due to COVID 19, face to face reviews continue to be suspended. The unintended consequence of this is that unspent monies returns are significantly reduced during April and May. Should this trend continue there would be a significant shortfall in the budget. The Board noted the availability to cover this from a £1.68m COVID 19 support from Scottish Government.
The Administration budget is notably underspent at present, mainly due to reduced travel across the organisation.
The Transition Fund (TF) applications continue to be received at a similar volume to preCOVID 19 levels. Jim and Linda Scott (Linda) will complete an evaluation for Q1 to examine the trend and re-evaluate the budget requirements for 2020-21 which have already been flagged to the Sponsor Team. On the current trend, a shortfall of between £0.5 – 1m is expected on the £2.2m TF budget already agreed. If this trend continues the Executive Team will request further funds from SG.
The Board noted the Management Accounts to May 2020.
7b. Risk Register Summary (refer to paper)
Harvey introduced the Risk Register Summary to note.
Risk 3PW was briefly discussed with the Board agreeing to review it following implementation of the 2020-23 Strategic Plan.
Susan confirmed as part of the Internal Audit recommendations the Board will hold an Annual Risk Workshop in February 2021 as part of the Board Development programme.
The Board noted the Risk Register Summary.
ACTION 5: Organise Annual Risk Workshop in line with Internal Audit recommendation. (Aileen)
8. Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking Statement 2020 (refer to paper)
Harvey and Aileen McNiven (Aileen) introduced the paper summarising the 2020 statement and updating the key actions over the last 12 months:
- ‘Your Responsibilities’ guidance for recipients has been updated to include a paragraph raising awareness of their own responsibilities with regard to the modern Slavery Act 2015.
- eLearning implemented across the organisation and now forms part of the induction process.
- Signed 2019 Modern Slavery and Human trafficking statement uploaded to the website.
- Over the next 6-9 months SMT will complete a self-assessment which is provided by UK Government.
ACTION 6: The Board requested the completed self-assessment results to be reported to the Board to note. (Executive Team)
The Board were assured that staff remain vigilant to mitigate against bad practice and also SG procurement practice requests suppliers to confirm they adhere to the Modern Slavery & Trafficking guidance provided by the Scottish Government.
The Board approved the Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking Statement 2020.
9. MiCase & PQ’s (refer to paper)
Linda spoke to the paper updating the Board that no further contact regarding the Micase has been received following the Sponsor Teams response.
The Board noted the Micase & PQ’s.
10. Health & Safety Report (refer to paper)
Aileen spoke to the paper fully updating the list of completed work over the last quarter which included COVID 19 staff wellbeing and Display Screen Equipment assessment during the period. Key actions to support the wellbeing and mental health of the workforce have included:
- Appointment of a Staff Wellbeing Ambassador
- Mental Health First Aid Support Pack – nearing completion
- Display Screen Equipment Home Working Self-assessments and virtual-assessments completed across the workforce
- Bi-weekly communication to support staff
- Supporting Each Other in a Crisis - webinar for all staff
- Group Support Sessions – Staff Wellbeing
- Employee Assist Programme promotion
- Risk Assessment & Denholm House guidance during COVID 19
- Health & Safety documents reviewed and updated by Navigator Law
The Board requested a more detailed Health & Safety Report in future. The Board noted the Health & Safety Report and were assured by the verbal update.
Susan thanked the HR and H&S team for all their hard work in supporting staff wellbeing during COVID 19.
11. Draft Committee Meeting Schedule 2021
Susan introduced the paper noting that amendments to several dates will be circulated in due course.
ACTION 7: Susan and Aileen to identify Board and Sub-Committee dates which are suitable. (Aileen)
Close of Meeting
Important Board Dates:
Next: Remuneration Committee: ZOOM: 11:00am-12:30pm, Monday 14th September.
Next: Board Development Day: ZOOM: 1:00pm- 4:00pm, Monday 14th September.
Next: Audit & Risk Committee: ZOOM: 10:30am, Monday 12th October 2020.
Next: Board Meeting: ZOOM: 11:00am, Tuesday 20 October 2020.