SCIE minutes of the meeting of the Board of Trustees
Held on Thursday 21 November 2002, 13.30 - 16.30 Goldings House, 2 Hay's Lane, London, SE1
(Board): Jane Campbell (Chair), Gilbert Smith, Susannah Walker, Shokat Babul, Michael Oliver, Terry Philpot, Ratna Dutt, Gail Tucker, Roy Taylor, Geraldine Macdonald.
Staff: David Gilroy (Acting Chief Executive), Victoria McNeill (Head of Corporate Services & Company Secretary), Amanda Edwards (Head of Knowledge Services), Enid Levin (Staff Representative), Maria Doyle (Minutes).
Guest: Paul Martin (Chief Inspector, Social Services Inspectorate of Northern Ireland).
Apologies: Diana McNeish.
2) Identification of any other business:
- Policy Forums.
- SCIE Awayday.
- Research Governance Framework (Mike Oliver).
3) Minutes of the Board Meeting held on 12 September were approved by the Board with one amendment noted:
Point 14 does not record that Geraldine Macdonald volunteered to be a member of the Audit Committee (along with Shokat Babul and Gail Tucker).
Maria Doyle to amend minutes.
Minutes of the PRIVATE Board Meeting held on 12 September were approved by Gail Tucker with one amendment to point 2 as follows (the underscored sentence to be taken out):
In the Board discussion, it was acknowledged that the decision to apply for charitable status, taken by the initial trustees last autumn, may not have been in the best interests of SCIE.
Maria Doyle to amend minutes.
Matters arising (paper):
- Drafts of the Partners' Council Consultation Document and Listening Exercise report were tabled (final printed versions due towards the end of the month) along with the e-Learning and Best Practice guide.
- Amanda Edwards reported that the first 'Business Planning Steering Group' meeting held on 19 November was very successful. Minutes will be circulated to the Board.
- Shokat Babul requested clarification on the issue of a SCIE 'treasurer'. Victoria McNeill replied that she had checked SCIE's memorandum and articles and the relevant law and there is no requirement for SCIE to have an honorary treasurer and secretary. SCIE has a finance manager and audit committee to perform the functions of treasurer Victoria McNeill has been appointed as company secretary and secretary to Board members. Shokat Babul was satisfied that SCIE, therefore, was not creating any unnecessary functions.
(Please see agenda item 3 for further details of all other matters arising.)
4) Reports from the Chair and Chief Executive (paper):
Management and staffing issues:
- Staff Representative, Enid Levin, commented that it feels very good in SCIE now that the organisation is nearing a full complement of staff. She further commented that SCIE is making really good links with a wide range of national leaders and stakeholders now, and staff are very pleased to see this.
- Gail Tucker requested a list of SCIE staff and their positions and telephone extensions.
- Ratna Dutt expressed concern that SCIE's staff is still not diverse in terms of ethnicity and that all recent appointees have been white. She stressed the need to keep this issue live on the agenda. The Board agreed that SCIE needed to do a thorough audit of appointments and the appointments process. It was also noted that SCIE's new Access Officer would be looking at this issue.
- Maria Doyle to circulate SCIE organogram and telephone list to all Board members.
- Victoria McNeill and David Gilroy to work on an audit of staff appointments and the appointment process.
Paul Martin left the meeting while the Chair discussed with the Board whether Paul's nomination as SCIE's acting Northern Ireland representative was in the interests of SCIE.
The Board agreed that Paul Martin's nomination should be accepted until such time as an independent nominee is put forward. In any event, it should be reviewed in one year.
Paul to take the endorsement to the Minister in Northern Ireland and contact Jane Campbell with the outcome.
Please see agenda item 4 for all other matters in the Reports from the Chair & Chief Executive.
5) Annual Social Services Conference:
Jane Campbell congratulated staff and Board members for making the conference a success for SCIE but pointed out that, for her, the conference was less successful in terms of access and diversity.
The Board members who attended (Gail Tucker, Shokat Babul, Roy Taylor) variously reported that there was great enthusiasm for and awareness of SCIE but that there is still some confusion as to what exactly it is SCIE has been created to achieve.
David Gilroy advised Board members that David Behan, the new Director of the Association of Directors of Social Services, is meeting with him and Jane Campbell to discuss issues such as diversity at future conferences and leadership initiatives (i.e. bringing together leaders in social care to work with SCIE). Jane Campbell will be discussing the diversity issue with David Behan at their forthcoming meeting.
6) Progress report on the 2002/2003 work programme (paper):
The Board was asked to accept the report which informs on progress on the work programme.
Amanda Edwards answered questions from Board members on the report and the Board accepted the report with the proviso below.
Amanda Edwards, David Gilroy and the new Access Officer would look at ways to assert SCIE's principles of inclusiveness in the work programme.
7) Building a vision for SCIE (paper):
The paper was a report on work underway to define and describe a vision for SCIE.
This item is closely related to item 6 above, item 8 below and the SCIE Awayday (about which a paper was tabled). The Board found the 'Knowledge into Practice' leaflet well drafted, reflecting SCIE's aims.
It was noted that the Outline Corporate Plan had a slot for 'values'. The Board discussed the merits of stating 'values' in its published communications and concluded that SCIE should let stakeholders and others know the principles according to which it operated.
After much discussion and debate on SCIE's values, it was decided that the discussion on SCIE's principles needs to be taken further (beyond the confines of the Board). It will therefore be picked up again at a further Awayday (date to be confirmed) and brought back to the March Board meeting.
8) Corporate planning 2003-6 and business planning for 2003-4 (paper):
The report presented an outline of SCIE's first three-year Corporate Plan for the period 2003-6 and SCIE's Business Plan for the coming financial year 2003-4.
It was previously agreed that SCIE should provide a 'framework' for the business planning process. The setting up of the 'Business Planning Steering Group', the SCIE Awayday and publishing for SCIE staff and Board the Outline Corporate Plan and Business Plan provide (and will continue to provide) an opportunity for staff and board members to contribute to this framework.
Comments/issues raised by the Board in relation to this paper included;
- SCIE needs to be more proactive in terms of government initiatives.
- SCIE needs to develop a 'fast track' method for issues requiring a quick response from SCIE.
- SCIE needs to respond more immediately to the social policy agenda in order to have input on that agenda.
- SCIE needs to say what it is not going to do so the Board know how to respond to various issues when asked/challenged.
Amanda Edwards and Victoria McNeill to formulate some draft objectives to take to the Business Planning Steering Group and include them in the next, more comprehensive, draft of the Corporate Plan and Business Plan to be presented to the January Board meeting.
The Corporate Plan should include something about SCIE's involvement in developing the social care policy agenda.
Amanda Edwards to distribute notes from the first meeting of the Business Planning Steering Group.
9) Communications strategy (paper):
The paper set out SCIE's initial strategy for ensuring effective internal and external communications. The Board was asked to consider the paper and advise on other ways in which SCIE might improve its profile and/or more effectively disseminate its work over the next 6 to 12 months.
A number of suggestions were made by Board members as to how SCIE might widen its communications network and Victoria McNeill agreed to do some further work on this.
The Board gave its full backing for the recruitment of additional resources to support SCIE's communications strategy.
10) Holding Board meetings outside London (paper):
The Board was invited to decide if, in the light of costs v benefits, it would like to arrange some of its Board meetings outside London.
The Board agreed this was a good thing provided they were planned well in advance to ensure that good use is made of contacts/professionals in whichever city/county/country the meeting was held.
Victoria McNeill to draw up a proposal recommending where and when the first of such board meetings might be held. The Board noted Paul Martin's enthusiasm to have one such meeting in Northern Ireland.
11) Payment to Trustees (paper):
The paper set out the circumstances in which the Trustees of SCIE can be paid.
The Board agreed to go with the recommendations in the paper that the Chief Executive work up some criteria in relation to applications for payments.
12) Membership of Audit Committee:
The Board unanimously endorsed the membership, role and remit of the new SCIE audit committee whose members are Geraldine Macdonald, Shokat Babul and Gail Tucker.
Victoria McNeill to draft some guidelines for the Audit Committee for the January Board meeting.
13) Approval of authorised signatories:
The Board unanimously resolved to appoint Bill Kilgallon, Victoria McNeill, Amanda Edwards and Pearl Sebastian as authorised signatories for banking purposes. It was noted that Jane Campbell is already a signatory.
14) Financial report (paper):
The report was presented and explained by Pearl Sebastian (Finance Manager) with information about the budget for the financial year ending 31 March 2003.
The Board was asked to note the report.
15) Any other business:
The Board members attended the three 'Policy Forums', held immediately prior to the Board meeting, to receive an update and to engage in further discussion about one of the major themes within the current work programme.
Notes from these meetings are attached, next policy forums to be held 8 May at 12.00 (followed by lunch).
It was pointed out to the Board by Mike Oliver, and acknowledged by Board members, that SCIE needs to find a way to better encourage a closer working relationship between SCIE staff and its Board members. This was endorsed by the Board. The date of the next Awayday is to be confirmed.
Research Governance Framework:
Amanda Edwards to circulate to the Board the relevant government paper (when and if it becomes available) with an accompanying paper from herself outlining SCIE's take on the issues raised.
Jane Campbell announced Gilbert Smith would be resigning from the Board on 10 December 2002 and this was his last Board meeting. She thanked Gilbert Smith for his significant contribution to SCIE as a foundation Board member, and his support through SCIE's early days. Gilbert Smith thanked the Chair and wished the Board and SCIE well.
It was also noted that it was David Gilroy's last Board meeting. David has been Acting Chief Executive since August and steps down at the end of December. The Chair thanked him for his support and contribution during the transitional period. The new Chief Executive, Bill Kilgallon, starts on 2 January.