Summary of DE Board Meeting - 11 April 2019


Thursday 11 April 2019

New Building Conference Room, Rathgael House


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

In attendance:

  • Bryan Laverty (Board Secretary)
  • Philip Irwin – Item 2
  • Bobby Clulow – Item 3
  • Ricky Irwin – Items 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Victoria Crooks – Observer
  • Trevor Rea - Observer


  • Fiona Hepper
  • Gary Fair

DE Asset management Plan

Philip Irwin spoke to his paper and provided members with an update on the DE Asset Management Plan. He outlined:

  • Savings and efficiencies achieved with the introduction of photovoltaic panels and automatic meter reading systems in a number of schools;
  • Capital receipts from the disposal of surplus EA assets and clawback from voluntary schools;
  • Rationalisation of the office estate;
  • Current position on CCEA accommodation;
  • The current position on Community Asset Transfer;
  • The focus for 2019/20.

The Board:

  • Noted the achievements and challenges relating to asset management activities;
  • Agreed the key asset management actions for 2019/20;
  • Noted that the 2018/19 Asset Management Plan is currently being finalised and will be shared with the DE Board when complete.

DE Analytical Work Programme 2019-20

Bobby Clulow spoke to his paper and provided members with an update on the Analytical Work Programme for 2019-20.

He reported that the ETI has indicated that it has capacity to take forward 14 projects in 2019-20, while ASU will take forward 9 projects and a further project will be taken forward by the Statistician working in the DE Transformation team.

The position of those projects for which there was insufficient capacity, will be kept under review should additional resources become available.

Impact of the UK leaving the EU on Education in NI

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

Ricky advised that the Departmental Operations Centre (DOC) has been stood down following an extension of Article 50 until 31 October 2019. However, DE still has an interest in wider discussions and preparations for EU Exit. Ricky advised that:

With the approval of TEO the Department published a set of FAQs on the DE website and contacted all schools and pre-schools drawing attention to this publication.

The UK and Irish Governments have restated their commitment to a Common Travel Area, and the terms of an MOU have been agreed, which includes reference to cross-border travel for educational purposes.

Andrew Webb has taken up post as G7 with responsibility for EU Exit Policy.

The Board noted the contents of the paper.

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

Ricky Irwin presented his paper which provided a draft 2019/20 DE Corporate Risk Register for the Board’s consideration.

Ricky advised that there are no new risks; that there are 4 red risks; and that when finalised, the CRR will be shared with ALB’s.

The Board indicated that subject to the changes requested it is content that the actions contained in the CRR are appropriate for the Department to manage risk to an acceptable level throughout the year.

2018/19 DE Business Plan

Ricky Irwin presented his paper on the end-year position against commitments/actions contained within the 2018/19 DE Business Plan.

The Board noted the end-year report and summary position, and advised that it is content with the outcome.

Final Draft 2019/20 DE Business Plan

Ricky Irwin presented his paper on the revised draft 2019/20 DE Business Plan.

Action Points:

The Board requested that further consideration of the outcomes is undertaken to measure impact, including the identification of baseline data.

Ricky updated the Board on the current position on progress of the development and approval of business plans for DE’s ALB’s for 2019/20.

HR Report

Sarah Wilson presented the HR Report covering:

  • promotion and recruitment;
  • employee relations;
  • learning and development;
  • the NICS People Strategy.

Members noted that the projected number of days lost through sickness for the Department in 2018/19 is 9.1 compared to 9.7 for 2017/18.

Director of Finance Report

Susan Anderson spoke to the Finance paper and provided members with an update on all key financial issues, covering:

  • 2018-19 Resource Budget;
  • 2019-21 Budget position;
  • The high risk EA IT Projects.

Report from the ARAC Meeting 20 March 2019

Joan McEwan spoke to her paper and provided the Board with an update from the recent meeting of the ARAC.

She advised that Gavin Patrick, senior civil servant in DfC, has joined the Committee as an independent member, replacing Deborah Brown.

Non Departmental Public Bodies – Verbal Update

Sara Long has taken up her post as CEO of EA from 29 March.

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