Summary of DE Board Meeting - 23 May 2019


Thursday 23 May 2019

Waterside House


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

In attendance:

  • Bryan Laverty (Board Secretary)
  • Ricky Irwin
  • Alison Chambers – Items 8, 9
  • Mark McGrath – Observer
  • Emmett Wray - Observer


Health and Safety Annual Report

Ricky Irwin spoke to his paper and provided members with an update on the Health and Safety Annual Report for 2018/29.

The Board noted the paper.

Action Points:

All staff are reminded regarding the necessity to complete all on-line mandatory training courses.

Governance Statement

Ricky Irwin spoke to his paper and provided members with an update on the preparation of a near final draft of the DE Governance Statement for 2018/19 and advised that final draft Statements have been received from all NDPBs with the exception of the EA.

The Board noted the paper and that a final version, incorporating ARAC and DE Board feedback will be submitted to the Permanent Secretary on 30 May, for issue with draft Accounts for 2018/19 to the NIAO on 31 May.

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.

The Board noted the contents of the paper.

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

Lianne Patterson presented her paper which provided a draft 2019/20 DE Corporate Risk Register for the Board’s consideration.

The Board noted the paper.

Action Points:

  • Risk 2 should include reference to capacity issues in EA impacting the efficient use of the capital budget;
  • Risk 10 – As the risk has essentially materialised, a meeting of SMT to be convened to consider the current actions and mitigations in place or required;
  • While some mitigations are underway within IID, consider a potential risk regarding ongoing maintenance of schools involved in the Strule project as a result of delays in the delivery of the project.

2019/20 DE Business Plan

Lianne Patterson presented her paper on the revised draft 2019/20 DE Business Plan.

The Board:

  • Agreed the current draft with the aim to make the Plan more outcomes based and more concise for 2020/21;
  • Agreed that the current draft Business Plan can be published on the DE website with a caveat stating that it has been prepared for consideration and approval by an incoming Minister and will remain a draft until then.

Mainstreaming Shared Education

Alison Chambers spoke to her paper and explained that following evaluation of the 2018/19 pilot funding model Policy TMG considered a paper on options for the future and agreed to the extension of the pilot funding mechanism to all Shared Education Signature project partnerships in 2019/20.

Funding of £3.5m for Shared Education in the 2019/20 financial year has been secured and a business case is under development. The EA will be responsible for the operational delivery of the extended pilot and for monitoring its impact on Shared Education delivery in SESP partnerships. The aim is to have an evaluation of the extended pilot completed to inform plans for Shared Education delivery in schools in the 2020/21 academic year.

The Board noted the contents of the paper and thanked Alison for the significant work which has led to the current position.

Educational Disadvantage

Alison Chambers spoke to her paper and explained that addressing educational disadvantage is a key feature of DE’s Corporate Goals, draft PfG and the NICS Outcomes Delivery Plan 2018/19 “Improving wellbeing for all – by tackling disadvantage and driving economic growth”.

Officials brought forward a draft paper to TMG in November 2018 proposing to take forward a strategy setting-out how educational disadvantage could be reduced.

TMG agreed that work should continue on the development of a more detailed strategy including more research on effective interventions and planning for public consultation.

Three key themes for a draft strategy have been identified:

  1. Continuous improvement in teaching and learning;
  2. Better joined-up thinking, partnership working and use of budgets;
  3. Meeting the needs of all children.

Next steps will include:

  • Undertaking further research;
  • The establishment of a Working Group of relevant policy areas within DE;
  • Collaboration with other departments and stakeholders;
  • Mapping how existing funding could be used differently;
  • Briefing of political representatives on developments.

The Board noted the paper and thanked Alison for her presentation.

Update on the Education Transformation Programme

Fiona Hepper spoke to her paper which provided an overview of the work carried out in the first year of the Transformation Programme and outlined priorities for 2019/20 and beyond.

Fiona advised that much of the work over the past 12 months has focussed on building the case for transformation, ensuring DE has the capacity and capability to deliver, developing appropriate structures and engaging with stakeholders. The next 12 months will focus on Project delivery and the development of a series of products which could be considered by a future Minister of Education.

Key priorities for 2019/20 will be:

  • Securing adequate funding for the continuation of the Programme and its Projects as well as mapping out budgetary requirements over the next number of years;
  • The identification of clear Programme / Project level benefits and agreement on how these benefits will be measured.

The Board noted the paper and requested that an outline of progress for each project is prepared and added to the agenda for a future meeting of the DE Board.

HR Report

Sarah Wilson presented the HR Report covering:

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

Director of Finance Report

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

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