Summary of DE Board Meeting - 10 October 2019


Thursday 10 October 2019

New Building Conference Room, Rathgael House


  • Derek Baker (Chair)
  • Fiona Hepper
  • Lianne Patterson
  • Noelle Buick
  • John Smith
  • Gary Fair
  • Sarah Wilson (NICS HR)
  • Joan McEwan
  • Fiona Keenan

In attendance:

  • Bryan Laverty (Board Secretary)
  • James Hutchinson – Items 3&4
  • Claire McKee – Item 4
  • Ricky Irwin – Item 5
  • Tricia Lavery– Observer

Transition of Young People into Careers (14-19) Project

James Hutchinson and Claire McKee:

  • outlined the background of the project;
  • provided an update on developments to date;
  • explained the agreed work streams/areas of focus for the Project;
  • explained the management structure for the project and recruitment of additional expertise;
  • outlined the outcomes to be delivered and timescale;
  • advised that steps beyond this would be subject to Ministerial agreement and public consultation.

The Board noted the contents of the paper and thanked the Project Team for the considerable work undertaken to date in what is a very complex area.

Transformation Programme – ARAC Gateway Review and Update Position

Fiona Hepper spoke to her paper and advised that:

  • The Programme underwent a Gateway 0 Review in December 2018 and an action plan has been prepared on foot of that Review;
  • The Programme recently updated the ARAC on the Programme Position and the Gateway Action Plan;
  • A further Gateway 0 Review will take place in December/January focusing on the Review of Home to School Transport and the Transition of Young People into Careers projects.

The paper included further information on the strategic role of projects with regard to:

  • The PfG’s outcomes and indicators;
  • Various other strategies or statutes;
  • Cross-departmental working.

The Board noted the contents of the paper.

Impact of the UK Leaving the EU on Education in NI

Ricky Irwin introduced the paper and updated the Board on preparations for a possible “no deal” EU Exit.

The Board noted the contents of the paper.

Director of Finance Report

Gary Fair spoke to his paper and provided members with an update on key financial issues covering:

  • 2019/20 Resource Budget;
  • 2019/20 In-Year Monitoring;
  • EA Position;
  • 2019-20 School Financial Plans;
  • Earmarked Allocations;
  • Transformation and the Review of the Common Funding Scheme Project;
  • 2020/23 Budget Information Gathering Exercise;
  • 2019-20 Capital Budget;
  • Teaching + non-teaching Pay & Pension pressures;
  • Classification status of voluntary grammar and grant maintained integrated schools;
  • DE Contracts;
  • Annual Accounts;
  • Prompt Payments Performance;
  • The high risk EA IT Projects. 

The Board noted the contents of the paper.

The impact of the teaching unions’ action short of strike was highlighted.

HR Report

Sarah Wilson presented the HR Report covering:

  • Management Information Transformation Project update;
  • Resourcing - promotion and recruitment;
  • Employee Relations;
  • Pay and reward and Industrial action;
  • Learning and Development;
  • The NICS People Strategy.

The Board noted the paper.

Mid-Year Report on 2019/20 DE Business Plan

Lianne Patterson spoke to her paper on the mid-year position of the DE Business Plan.

The Board:

  • noted the 2019/20 Business Plan mid-year report and the summary position of commitments/actions up to 30 September;
  • accepted the position of those actions with a ‘amber’ and ‘amber/green’ status;
  • noted the Director sign-off table;
  • noted the current position regarding NDPB Business Plans.

Action Points:

Lianne will consider how the mid-year position is communicated to staff.

DE 2019/20 Corporate Risk Register (CRR) and Risk Management

Lianne Patterson presented her paper which provided the Board with an update on risk management within the Department.

The Board:  

  • approved the amendments to the CRR;
  • noted the Department’s current risk profile;
  • noted the findings of the annual ALB CRR alignment and quality assurance exercise;
  • noted that a post-implementation evaluation of the DE Risk Management Application is underway.

Report from the ARAC Meeting on 2 October 2019

Joan McEwan presented her report on the key areas discussed at the meeting of the ARAC on 2 October as follows:

  • DE Transformation
  • Special Educational Needs – EA Whistleblower
  • Internal Audit Progress Report
  • Update on Whistleblowing and Fraud Cases
  • Final reports to those charged with Governance
  • NIAO Reports
  • NDPB Partnership Agreement
  • Key issues arising from the last round of GAR meeting
  • Risk Management
  • Accounts 2018/19.

The Board noted the contents of the paper.

DE Board Effectiveness Review

The Board noted the final report of the DE Board Effectiveness Review 2018/19 prepared by Internal Audit.  

Action Points:

A paper will be prepared on taking forward the recommendations for the next meeting of the Board.

Non departmental public bodies – verbal update

Derek Baker advised that the process to appoint a new CEO of Comhairle na Gaeolscolaíochta is underway.

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