SCIE minutes of the extraordinary meeting of the Board of Trustees

Held on Monday 4 October 2004, 13.00 - 16.00

1) Attendance

Board: Jane Campbell (Chair), Shokat Babul, Peter Beresford, Janet Lewis, Geraldine Macdonald, Diana McNeish, Paul Martin, Terry Philpot, Roy Taylor and Gail Tucker.

Staff: Lisa Bostock (Staff Representative), Don Brand (Consultant), Amanda Edwards (Head of Knowledge Services), Robert Howells (Staff Representative Elect), Victoria McNeill (Head of Corporate Services & Company Secretary), Emma Brooks (minutes).

Also in attendance: Pearl Sebastian (Agenda item 3: Accounts).

Apologies: Ratna Dutt, Jon Glasby and Bill Kilgallon (Chief Executive).

Welcome and announcements:

The Board and SCIE staff were welcomed and thanked for making time to come to this additional board meeting.

The Chair noted that Bill Kilgallon was recovering well from his operation and that they had discussed the agenda at length.

2) Presentation of audited accounts

The Chair invited Gail Tucker, Chair of the Audit Committee, to present the annual report and accounts.

The SCIE Finance Team were thanked for their systematic management of SCIE's finances and Buzzacotts, the auditors, were thanked for their excellent work on preparing the annual report and accounts.

The Board were asked to refer to Note 18 to the accounts. SCIE did not yet have a current valuation for the pensions fund deficit. The paperwork and computation given in the accounts was the best industry analysis of SCIE's financial position with regard to its pensions' liability.

The new FRS 17 requirements were noted in the accounts.

The annual report and accounts were a statutory requirement but SCIE would also produce an annual review for promotional purposes.

It was suggested that the wording of the following should be amended: "Each trustee has taken responsibility for monitoring the charity's activities in specific operational areas" (page 8, paragraph 6).

Action: Victoria McNeill to ask Buzzacotts if this phrase could be reworded to indicate that the responsibilities of the trustees were corporate and certain trustees took the lead in relation to specific operational areas.

The Board agreed to accept the annual reports and accounts with the above amendment.

3) Care Services Improvement Partnership

The Chair explained that she and the Chief Executive were approached in the summer by the Department of Health (DH) to ask if SCIE would consider absorbing the care services improvement programmes into its work. Amanda Edwards, Victoria McNeill and Don Brand have looked at the pros and cons of this arrangement. Since this proposal was introduced to the trustees at the 9 September 2004 board meeting, extensive discussions had been held with DH and SCIE has sought legal and other independent advice on different aspects of the proposal.

Amanda Edwards was invited to provide the history and context to the Care Services Improvement Partnership proposal.

Stephen Ladyman wished to increase the profile of SCIE and had approached officials at the DH in this regard.

The seven improvement programmes within the Care Services Improvement Partnership were Department of Health programmes with no separate organisational form. The employment circumstances of those in the seven programmes were many and varied. Some were employed by the DH but many were employed by a variety of different organisations and seconded to the DH or to one of the host organisations for NIMHE.

Details of the current and future funding arrangements for the programmes were given in annex 1. Where a recurrent reduction was noted this meant that the reduction would be made once and then the funding would remain at this reduced rate. The funding was included in the DH's base budgets and would be restricted funds for these projects.

The DH discussed SCIE taking on the central management of the CSIP and the responsibility for the overall budget. Under this arrangement SCIE would be responsible for commissioning improvement work from the regional arms. Most of the improvement programme employees would remain in their host organisations, but SCIE had been asked to employ the central employees. It was felt that the funding arrangements as given would not prevent SCIE from bidding for more funds if necessary. Some of the improvement programmes had only been created on a short-term basis. The budgets suggested that the funding for these would continue but the programme staff might change.

The DH hoped that creating an integrated Care Services Improvement Partnership would mean that resources would be better utilised, the work would be more locally effective and would enable the Care Services Directorate to fulfil some of its cost-cutting commitments.

SCIE had identified four key strategic issues for the Board to consider:

The Board were asked to note an amendment to page 1 of annex 1: NIMHE staff totalled circa 250, not 50.

The views of the Board and staff:

All Board members and the staff representatives were asked to give their views. Those Board members not present had sent emails expressing their views and these were read out.

The proposal was seen to offer the following benefits:

The following risks were identified:

SCIE would need to ensure the following operational issues were carefully dealt with:

It was agreed to accept the proposal but with a list of criteria which would need to be met for SCIE to take on the proposal. This would be seen as a positive move by both DH and SCIE's stakeholders.

The following were agreed:

It was agreed to establish a four-person Board sub-committee which would have an integral role in the implementation plans for CSIP. This would consist of the following people: Jane Campbell, Gail Tucker, Shokat Babul and Roy Taylor.

The sub-committee would report back to the Board on a regular basis and would take into account matters relating to all of SCIE's stakeholders.

SCIE would meet with Stephen Ladyman, Minister for Community on 13 October and it was hoped that a joint statement would be made by SCIE and the DH prior to the National Social Services conference.

(Secretary's note: Following the meeting with the Minister for Community it was agreed that Stephen Ladyman would make written statement to Parliament on 21 October. Public announcements would follow this).

4) Next meeting

The next Board meeting would be held on 25 November 2004 at SCIE.