Summary of DE Board Meeting - 21 November 2019

Minutes of Department of Education Departmental Board

Thursday 21 November 2019

New Building Conference Room, Rathgael House


  • Derek Baker (Chair)
  • Fiona Hepper
  • Lianne Patterson
  • Noelle Buick
  • John Smith
  • Susan Anderson
  • Ann Moore (NICS HR)

In attendance

  • Bryan Laverty (Board Secretary)
  • Jennifer Morgan - Item 3
  • Michael Cooke, Annette Hutton, Geraldine McGlinchey (NICSHR) – Item 4
  • Janis Scallon – Item 5
  • Ricky Irwin – Items 6&7
  • John Mills (DAERA) – Item 11
  • Pauline Donnan – Observer
  • Sarah Wilson - Observer


  • Gary Fair
  • Sarah Wilson (NICS HR)
  • Joan McEwan

Strule Shared Education Campus – proposed Main Works Contract Recommencement Programme

John Smith and Jennifer Morgan provided an update on the Strule Shared Education Campus.

The Board noted the updated position on the Main Works Contract.

Update on Stage 1 of the Employee Relations Programme

Michael Cooke, Annette Hutton and Geraldine McGlinchey (NICSHR) provided a verbal update for the Board regarding the current position of the implementation of the Employee Relations Programme within DE.

Further information sessions on the next stages of the programme will be provided to staff.

Fiona Hepper requested that NICS HR staff attend in addition to the CAL training staff delivering the sessions, in order to field any specific questions.

HR Report

Ann Moore presented the HR Report covering:

  • Management Information Transformation Project update;
  • Resourcing - promotion and recruitment;
  • Employee Relations activity;
  • Pay and Reward;
  • Learning and Development;
  • Industrial Action; and
  • Implementation of the People Strategy.

The Board noted the paper.

Action Points:

  • The Board agreed to invite the NICS HR Management Information Team to a future DE Board meeting to offer a demonstration of the system.
  • NICSHR to consider legacy issues in reporting performance review statistics in the current MI report model.

Area Planning Update

Janis Scallon spoke to her paper and provided an update on:

  • Planning for Transfer 2020;
  • Modelling sustainability of schools;
  • Departmental decisions 1 April 2019 to 6 November 2019;
  • Area Planning structures;
  • Transformation Programme – Delivering Schools for the Future strands;
  • Shared Education Campuses Programme (SECP);
  • The Gaelscoil na mBeann Judicial Review.

The Board noted the paper and thanked Janis for the comprehensive update.

Impact of the UK Leaving the EU on Education in NI

Ricky Irwin introduced the paper and updated the Board on preparations for EU Exit.

The Board noted the contents of the paper.

Business Planning in 2020/21

Ricky Irwin spoke to his paper and provided the Board with an update on the process to develop Business Plans for 2020/21 for both the Department and its NDPBs.

The Board noted the proposed process and outline timetable for developing 2020/21 Business Plans

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

Lianne Patterson introduced her paper updating the Board on the Corporate Rick register.

The Board:  

  • approved the amendments to Risks 3, 5, 12 and 16 in the CRR;
  • noted the Department’s current risk profile.

DE Board Effectiveness Review – Follow-up

Lianne spoke to her paper.

The Board noted the initial consideration of the recommendations contained in, and the proposed approach to implementing the recommendations of the Board Effectiveness Review 2018/19.

Action Points:

The Board agreed that dates should be added for the achievement of actions contained in the implementation plan.

Director of Finance Report

Susan Anderson spoke to the Finance Director’s 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;
  • 2020/21 Budget process;
  • 2019-20 Capital Budget;
  • Teaching + non-teaching Pay 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.

Action Points:

The Board agreed that it will be important to flag up the following issues to DoF in the context of the 2020/21 budget process:

  • The impact on the educational experience of children of the non-payment of the teachers’ pay award; 
  • That the funding provided by the Confidence and Supply arrangement between the UK Government and the DUP is supporting a number of programmes and should this end there could be a significant impact.

Update from Top Management Group

Fiona Hepper provided an update on the last and next meetings of TMG. 

At its last meeting TMG considered the following areas:

  • Priorities for Youth: Proposed new EA funding scheme;
  • Review of Sustainable Schools;
  • Resetting Schools Admissions;
  • Attendance – Proposal for legislation;
  • Update on proposal for whole school Nurture;
  • Policy Evaluation guidance.

The next meeting will consider:

  • SEN implementation;
  • Suspension and Expulsion – scoping for review;
  • The Pathway Fund
  • Evaluation of International Studies (PISA, TIMMS, PIRLS);
  • PISA results 2018: key findings;
  • Statutory Assessment review;
  • CFS review.

Future Generations Group on Climate Change – Presentation

John Mills, DAERA, provided a presentation on the current research on climate change, the impact of a warming climate, the current position locally, nationally and internationally of greenhouse gas emissions, the UK response and the current Northern Ireland Climate Change structures.

Non departmental public bodies – verbal update

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


Lianne Patterson advised that there had been a positive meeting of the Staff Engagement Forum on 13 November. A particular issue of note was the Forum’s consideration that Temporary Promotion processes are not applied consistently across Directorates.

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