SCIE minutes of the meeting of the Board of Trustees

Held on Thursday 15 January 2004, 13.45 - 16.30

In Jane Campbell's absence Diana McNeish was appointed to chair the board meeting, with the unanimous consent of the board.

1) Attendance

Board: Diana McNeish (chair), Shokat Babul, Peter Beresford, Ratna Dutt, Jon Glasby, Janet Lewis, Geraldine Macdonald, Paul Martin, Terry Philpot, Roy Taylor.

Staff: Bill Kilgallon (Chief Executive), Lisa Bostock (Staff Representative elect), Amanda Edwards (Head of Knowledge Services), Enid Levin (Staff Representative), Victoria McNeill (Head of Corporate Services & Company Secretary), Emma Brooks (minutes).

Also in attendance: Don Brand, Pearl Sebastian (Financial Report), Nasa Begum (Establishment of Partners' Council).

Apologies: Jane Campbell, Gail Tucker.

Welcome and announcements

Peter Beresford, Jon Glasby and Janet Lewis, were welcomed to the meeting. Peter Beresford had attended SCIE's previous board meeting in Cardiff but for Jon Glasby and Janet Lewis this was their first board meeting.

Enid Levin and Lisa Bostock were welcomed to the meeting as staff representatives.

Geraldine Macdonald was congratulated on her appointment as Business Director of Information and Knowledge Management at the Commission for Social Care Inspection.

Bill Kilgallon and Amanda Edwards would be leaving the meeting early to attend two separate meetings at the Department of Health, both meetings to discuss how the Department of Health relates to local authorities and social care and to discuss their link with social care in performance management.

Roy Taylor would also be leaving the meeting early.

2) Declaration of any other business

There were no items of other business.

3) Minutes and matters arising:

Minutes of the board meeting held on 23 October 2003 were approved by the trustees and signed by Diana McNeish.

Minute 2 - Extraordinary General Meeting: Victoria McNeill confirmed that it was sufficient, for legal purposes, to notify the Charity Commission and Companies House with regard to the changes to the articles 18 and 26 (6) of the Articles of Association.

Minute 8 - SCIE's response to the Green Paper - "Every Child Matters": SCIE's comments on the Green Paper would be placed on the SCIE website and would be sent to the Interagency Group Chair, Andrew Cozens. It would be considered whether the comments should be made available in a press release.

Minute 9 - Organisational Development: The human resources framework had been agreed with the staff trade union, Amicus, the pay system had been implemented and the appraisal system had been introduced. The changes had been introduced fairly smoothly but had not been universally welcomed. Appraisal training would now be implemented. Enid Levin noted that some staff had had concerns about the handling and transparency of the process.

Janet Lewis asked if SCIE had implemented any mechanisms to learn from the process of introducing the framework and Enid noted that some changes had already occurred, for example the staff meeting's format had changed to become more interactive.

The Board supported the idea of SCIE as a learning organisation and would welcome feedback on SCIE's developments in this area.

4) SCIE's work plan 2004/5

Diana McNeish invited Amanda Edwards to introduce the paper on SCIE's work plan. The paper outlined the framework for discussions and included current suggestions for the work plan. These included an expansion in the area of older people and work on children related to the Green Paper. SCIE would also aim to increase its collaborative work with other organisations and to carry out work that the government would find difficult to undertake itself.

It was explained to the board that only limited expansion of the work programme was possible, as many projects would carry forward to next year. Areas for expansion included work on older people and children. The board welcomed these suggestions and asked for the following to be taken into consideration:

The Board were asked to send further comments by email. The proposed 2004/5 work plan would be presented as a full draft at the next board meeting.

5) Reports of Chief Executive and Chair

Chief Executive's Report

Bill Kilgallon highlighted the following from his report:

Chair's Report

Victoria McNeill highlighted the following from the Chair's report:

6) Financial Report

Diana McNeish welcomed Pearl Sebastian to the meeting and invited her to present the report.

The Audit Committee had approved the SCIE finance manual. Geraldine Macdonald and Shokat Babul noted that it was the best example of such a manual they had seen.

A detailed risk assessment would be presented at the next Audit Committee on 10 February. Regular reports on SCIE commissions would be presented to the Committee in future. Pensions costs would be reviewed on a triannual basis to monitor possible increases in costs to SCIE.

At the end of December 2003 SCIE had a surplus of £1,200,000 of which £400,000 was a reserve. This money was allocated to projects that had fallen behind their proposed timetables. Knowledge Services had now been asked to do a realistic assessment of the timing of their projects. Future budgets would include an increase in spending on communications, including publications.

Roy Taylor noted that there was no human resources information within the budgets and asked how the board would know if there was any problem with recruitment and retention at SCIE. Victoria McNeill confirmed that although SCIE had no current problem in this area, as part of SCIE's risk assessment with Buzzacotts it had been agreed that the Board should receive reports on HR on an annual basis.

7) Establishment of Partners' Council

On behalf of Jane Campbell, Victoria McNeill confirmed that Diana McNeish has agreed to be co-chair of the Partners' Council.

Nasa Begum and Don Brand were welcomed to the meeting and invited to present the paper. The Partners' Council would be UK wide and have 45 members, a third of whom would be users and carers. Nomination requests had been sent out at the end of 2003 and had highlighted SCIE's desire to be a diverse organisation. The first meeting of the Council would be on 10 March, preceded by a briefing session for users and carers on 20 January, which would be part of the selection process.

Whilst it was suggested that Board members should not attend the first meeting, as the Council was already very large, it was highlighted that aspects of the Council's business would need facilitating and enabling and it was hoped that Board members and staff might be involved in this.

Nominations had been requested from the following groups: stakeholders, private and voluntary organisations, and user and carer organisations. A good response had been received from stakeholders although a few nominations were still expected. The response from the private and voluntary sector had not been as good. There had been quite a good response rate from user and carer organisations although there were, as yet, no nominations from Northern Ireland and Wales.

It was important that Council addressed issues of quality and diversity. At present there was a good representation from disabled people and an even gender balance but there were very few nominations from black and ethnic minority organisations and none from LGBT organisations.

The Board were asked whether they had any recommendations for improving the diversity of nominations. It was agreed that at this stage individuals should not be approached, particularly as it would be more difficult to support them, but that smaller organisations should be invited to nominate, particularly as they were more likely to represent the minority groups who SCIE had so far found it difficult to attract to the Council. Concern was expressed that there had not been an explicit attempt to get nominations from practitioners.

It was agreed that a list of those who had been invited to nominate (and whether they had responded or not) should be circulated to Board members so that they could recommend other organisations and prompt those who had not yet responded.

It was important that the Council grew and evolved over time.

Nasa Begum and Don Brand were thanked for all the work they had done on the Council.

8) Proposed Projects for the 'Rapid Response Fund'

Victoria McNeill explained that £200,000 had been dedicated as a 'rapid response fund' to enable SCIE to respond to urgent matters when they arose. A number of uses for this fund had already been identified and agreed at an earlier board meeting. Jane Campbell had called for expressions of interest in using the remainder of this fund. Three suggestions had been made by trustees. These were: identifying what some of the key problems were in ensuring that knowledge produced by service users was available to those in mainstream social care; creating a promotional film about SCIE; and rebranding eLSC.

In relation to getting service user knowledge into the mainstream it was suggested that the focus of the proposal should not be on identifying barriers which were already known as a lot of work had already been done on this, but could consider how SCIE makes use of the service user knowledge. It was suggested that Peter Beresford talk to Amanda Edwards and Mike Fisher about this matter.

There seemed to be concern amongst the trustees that the film would not be the most appropriate way to promote SCIE. There were worries that the film might date and that it would be difficult to ensure it was seen by those SCIE was wishing to target unless it was part of a training programme. Victoria McNeill explained that it would only be part of a wider promotional strategy for SCIE and would be very targeted. It was suggested that this idea be written up in more details and presented to the board.

Rebranding of eLSC received a mixed response. Some cynicism was expressed about branding but it was agreed that it was fundamental that SCIE improved its communication. A greater connection between eLSC and SCIE might help this.

Board members were asked to submit any other suggestions they had for the rapid response fund. These ideas would be part of the work plan discussions at the March meeting.

9) Message from the Board

The Board expressed its best wishes for Jane Campbell's speedy recovery and this would be conveyed to her.

10) Next Board meeting

The next Board meeting would be held on 4 March 2004 at SCIE.