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CCRC board minutes

CCRC Board meetings are generally held monthly. In the interests of transparency, we publish the minutes of Board meetings here starting with the meeting held in April 2020.

Board minutes 2020 to 2021

Board Minutes March 2021

Minutes of the Board Meeting
Tuesday 23 March 2021 at 10.30-12.30 
Meeting held remotely by video conference

Present:
Mrs Helen Pitcher (Chairman)
Miss Karen Kneller (Chief Executive)
Ms Amanda Pearce (Interim Director of Casework Operations)
Mr Peter Ryan (Finance & Corporate Services Director)
Mr David Brown (Non-Executive Director)
Mrs Linda Lee (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Rob Ward (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Andre Katz (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Mark Oldham (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Martin Spencer (Independent Non-Executive Director)
                                                                                         
Apologies: None

1.     Welcome

The Chairman welcomed Amanda Pearce to the meeting as Interim Director of Casework Operations.

2.     Declarations of interest

None

3.  Minutes of the previous meeting and matters arising

The minutes of the previous Board meeting held on 26 January 2021 were approved.

4.  Action Matrix

No actions outstanding.

5.  Chairman’s update

The Chairman reported on her meeting with the Secretary of State. She had also held meetings with Redacted and Redacted. The Scottish CCRC was arranging a further meeting of the four CCRCs including Norway and New Zealand, likely to take place in August.

We are still waiting for the outcome of a submission to re-appoint Commissioners.

6.  Chief Executive’s report

The Management Information Pack was noted by the Board.
 
The Chief Executive reported that she had attended a routine Business Assurance Meeting with MoJ and SMT as well as, where possible, joining fortnightly video calls held by the new Permanent Secretary, Antonia Romeo.

The CEO and FCSD had interviewed and now appointed an interim External Affairs Manager to address a period of absence. Recruitment for the DCO role would be handled by Odgers.

7. Casework report to note

The interim DCO updated the Board regarding telephone contact with prisoners. Although it is not possible to dial into a prison, our local rate number has been made available for all prisoners to use with authorised in-cell phones. Where in-cell phones are not available, prisoners will be given access to a phone to contact us. Prison video suites can be accessed by MS Teams calls.

Three new CRMs had been appointed with start dates pending. The interim DCO was looking at a rolling CRM recruitment programme as well as introducing trainee and senior CRM roles. A structured casework staff group would help with development and retention. The FCSD was waiting for budget confirmation. Extra funding would protect and enhance casework and ensure we can enhance engagement and outreach work.

8.  Transformation Programme Report to note

The FCSD reported that the new website would be delivered in early May.

The FCSD had been considering the service model for IT.

The office move is scheduled for 2-16 August and increasingly information will be rolled out to staff including a virtual tour of the new building.

9.  Westminster Commission Report

The Chairman has asked Board members and Commissioners for their observations. A focused sub-group would then be established which would report back to the Board.

10. Stakeholder mapping

The Board discussed the draft stakeholder map; members were asked to contact the CEO outside of the meeting with detailed comments. The CEO would keep the Board updated in respect of this and other stakeholder matters. The interim External Affairs Manager was now in post.

11.  New accommodation

The paper was noted.

12. People

The CEO reported that the sense of covid and lockdown fatigue was lifting across the organisation; a programme of training events, management training, a mentoring scheme and regular updates on the new office had all contributed to this. A summer event was being planned to bring staff and Commissioners together. Following the staff survey a series of focus groups would be taking place, giving staff the opportunity to discuss issues. A member of staff had been appointed as Workforce Champion.

13. Any other business

The Chairman informed the Board that the action to move No Appeal decision making to CRMs would be delayed. This was due to CRM capacity and taking the opportunity to review our policy on exceptional circumstances.

External Assurance proposal

The Data Protection Officer joined the meeting to discuss data protection review proposals. The board agreed with the proposal to undertake a third party, full DPA 18 compliance assessment check.

14.  Date of next meeting

Tuesday 25 May at 10.30 am

Board Minutes January 2021

Minutes of the Board Meeting
Tuesday 26 January 2021 at 10.30-12.30
Meeting held remotely by video conference

Present:
Mrs Helen Pitcher (Chairman)
Miss Karen Kneller (Chief Executive)
Mrs Sally Berlin (Director of Casework Operations)
Mr Peter Ryan (Interim Director of Finance & Corporate Services)
Mr David Brown (Non-Executive Director)
Mrs Linda Lee (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Rob Ward (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Andre Katz (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Mark Oldham (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Martin Spencer (Independent Non-Executive Director)

Apologies: None

1. Welcome

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and informed the Board it was Sally Berlin’s last meeting. On behalf of the Board, the Chairman thanked Sally for her hard work and loyal service to the Commission and congratulated Sally on her new position.

2. Declarations of interest

None

3. Minutes of the previous meeting and matters arising

The minutes of the previous Board meeting held on 24 November 2020 were approved.

4. Action Matrix

Setting up a steering group for the 25th Anniversary conference remained outstanding; the CEO confirmed that it was being attended to.

5. Chief Executive’s report

The Management Information Pack was noted by the Board.
The Chief Executive reported that no members of staff were currently absent due to Covid but there was a sense of lock-down fatigue. A recent training event was well attended by staff and more similar events were planned to boost staff engagement. It was agreed that there would be a People agenda item going forward.

The staff survey outcome was noted showing improvement in six out of nine areas. There continues to be significant concern around pay.

Odgers had been instructed to conduct the campaign in respect of the Director of Casework. The Director of Finance & Corporate Services position would be advertised through a government wide campaign.

The CEO and Chairman wanted an early meeting with Antonia Romeo, the new Permanent Secretary.

CEO updated the Board regarding budget submission which was designed to protect casework and enable enhanced outreach, media and diversity both internally and externally. This is separate to the Transformation Programme budget.

The CEO and RW had attended a productive preliminary meeting with the Law Commission who were deciding the new programme of work. There is likely to be public consultation after Easter when the Commission will have the opportunity to make a formal submission.

A steering group for the 2022 Conference will be set up by end February and will include the Chairman, LL and Ian Comfort, Commissioner.

6. Chairman’s update

The Chairman reported that 18 candidates had been interviewed for the Commissioner role resulting in 4 names being submitted to the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister’s office for approval. The Chairman’s extension was still waiting approval. The Chairman was currently conducting Commissioners’ appraisals and it was clear that they wanted to be more involved with outreach work.

A RemCo meeting had been held in January.

The Chairman was due to meet the Secretary of State in February and asked the Board for any specific topics they wanted raising.

7. Casework report to note

Casework had performed well notwithstanding the CMS roll-out requiring casework staff to familiarise themselves with new ways of working; there was also a high level of annual leave in December. The number of long running cases is reducing and 3 referrals were made in the November/December period.

There was concern about the lower number of new applications received. The DCO was investigating the use of authorised mobile phones for prisoners to use to contact the Commission. This was now being escalated.

The DCO reported that there was the possibility of a large number of additional Post Office cases. The DCO was concerned that current resources were not adequate notwithstanding a current CRM recruitment exercise which is underway. Some “flex” is available through former interns.

8. Transformation Programme Report to note

The DFCS reported that the gsi email was expiring at the end of March and a new format had been put in place. The new website had been delayed but was coming back on track. The core upgrade of the Finance system took place in December. The procurement for a replacement
HR system has begun. Work has begun to set up a project to look at the Finance and BIS teams and the impact of the transformation programme.

The Board discussed the new CMS and time recording. Concern was expressed that it was difficult to record time or locate where it could be recorded and this could result in low take up which would distort the cost (or time taken) per case. The DFCS is keeping this under review; it is anticipated that there needs to be 3 – 6 months’ worth of data to evaluate the process properly. However, the DFCS stressed that evaluation was on-going.

9. 2021-22 Business Plan update to note

The Board agreed that it was important to carry out process review work first which could then support the introduction of AI. This review work included looking at the BIS and Finance Teams first, followed by CAT and ACAT and maybe the Legal department.

The DFCS hoped the finalised Business Plan could go to the March Board but it was dependent on whether the Budget was received.

2020-21 Business Plan progress to note. The Board noted the progress of the current business plan.

10. Stakeholder mapping for discussion

AK offered to help with the mapping and would discuss this further with the CEO.

11. Any other business

McKinsey & Company article – “Overcoming pandemic fatigue” for discussion.

12. Date of next meeting

Tuesday 23 March at 10.30 am
The Chairman thanked the Board for their support and particularly SMT who are working extremely hard

Board Minutes November 2020

Minutes of the Public Board Meeting
Tuesday 24 November 2020 at 10.00-11.30
Meeting held remotely by video conference

Present:
Mrs Helen Pitcher (Chairman)
Miss Karen Kneller (Chief Executive)
Mrs Sally Berlin (Director of Casework Operations)
Mr Peter Ryan (Interim Director of Finance & Corporate Services)
Mr David Brown (Non-Executive Director)
Mrs Linda Lee (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Rob Ward (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Andre Katz (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Mark Oldham (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Martin Spencer (Independent Non-Executive Director)

Apologies: None

1. Welcome

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the Commission’s first public Board meeting. Attendees included stakeholders and interested parties including the Scottish CCRC and CCRC Commissioners and staff.

2. Declarations of interest

None

3. Minutes of the previous meeting and matters arising

The minutes of the previous Board meeting held on 29 September 2020 were approved.

4. Action Matrix

The first meeting of the steering group for the Commission’s 25th Anniversary Conference was expected to take place in the next month. 

The stakeholder events schedule will be circulated to the Board.

5. Chairman’s update

The Chairman is due to meet the Lord Chief Justice and President of the Queen’s Bench Division in December.

The Chairman reported that the Commission had made a submission to the House of Lords Constitution Committee, Inquiry into the Constitutional Implications of Covid-19 on the workings of courts and tribunals.

It was noted that the Westminster Commission had not announced when their report would be published.

The Chairman had been interviewed by Evan Davis for BBC R4’s PM Programme in October.  Discussion points included issues with delayed trials, possible changes to jury trial system and legal aid cuts and implications for miscarriages of justice.  The interview went very well and the Chairman had been invited to return on a future occasion.

The Chairman was delighted to report that the Commission had made its 750th referral.

The Commissioner recruitment campaign was ongoing; interviews were scheduled for the beginning of January.  Andre Katz, Independent non-executive director and Chair of Audit & Risk Assurance Committee, has been renewed for a second term.  The Chairman and CEO had recently met remotely 4 new starters who were enthusiastic about joining the Commission.  The Chairman together with Ian Comfort, Commissioner, and 2 members of staff were planning an online Christmas event for staff which was seen as essential in keeping everyone connected.

6. Chief Executive’s report

The Management Information Pack was noted by the Board.

The Chief Executive reported that the Transformation Programme had delivered the new IT and casework management system ahead of schedule. This was a significant achievement given the challenging circumstances the organisation was working in.

Casework was continuing to perform well with committees taking place remotely. Staff have adapted to working remotely with only a small number attending the office. Managers had been carrying out mid-year reviews and were supporting staff and considering their welfare.

The Director of Casework Operations was sifting the 99 applications received for Case Review Manager positions. For the first time applications are open to individuals who do not need to be office based.

The CEO and Director of Casework Operations had met recently with the Registrar, Court of Appeal Criminal Division.

The Board discussed the impact of Covid-19 on casework. Application numbers had fallen early during lockdown but had fluctuated with one month seeing a higher number than the pre-Covid period. The Customer Service Manager had arranged for the Commission to appear on National Prison Radio and continued to work with the Prison Service to ensure intake is maximised. Additional impacts on casework performance included staff sickness and some national Microsoft outages.

The Board discussed the recent Go Live of Microsoft 365. Daily training surgeries, materials and videos had been made available and members of the Transformation Programme were on hand to help with queries. There had been challenges with some aspects of training given remote working; and specialist and tailored training would be provided to assist. Microsoft Dynamics, the new Casework Management System, launched on 23 November; first impressions were that it was more intuitive than previous systems. The Board noted the huge advances made as a result of the Transformation Programme and thanked everyone involved for their hard work.

The CEO noted that with the possibility of more cuts to legal aid there was likely to be an increase in applications to the Commission. Together with the imminent spending review it was important to continue working efficiently and effectively to continue to provide high quality casework. The DFCS reported that Covid related costs had been incurred and he was looking to MoJ to reimburse.

7. Casework performance during and since Covid-19

The Director of Casework Operations reported that casework had responded well to Covid-19 challenges and performance was high. 60 referrals had been made in the current business year.  This included Post Office Horizon Computer cases, each one of which had to be examined separately. These referrals were significant; the applicants affected had been greatly impacted by their experience of Post Office prosecutions.  

The DCO noted that the Commission’s 750th referral turned on a potential alternative suspect as a result of DNA findings.

8. Transformation Programme update

The DFCS reported that the Transformation Programme had successfully rolled out the new systems considerably ahead of schedule. The Board noted that this achievement was set against the backdrop of the pandemic which necessitated diverting some Transformation Programme resource to remote working over the Spring putting pressure on the Programme team.

The new Finance and HR systems would be rolled out in December.

The new website work provided by MoJ was slightly behind schedule; it was now likely to be complete in January.

The Board congratulated the DFCS and the Programme and IT teams and noted their considerable hard work and commitment in delivering the new systems for the Commission.

9. Any other business

None

The Chairman thanked everybody for giving their time to join the Commission’s first public board meeting.

10. Date of next meeting

Tuesday 26 January at 10.30 am

Board Minutes September 2020

Minutes of the Board Meeting
Tuesday 29 September 2020 at 10.30-12.30
Meeting held remotely by video conference

Present:
Mrs Helen Pitcher (Chairman)
Miss Karen Kneller (Chief Executive)
Mrs Sally Berlin (Director of Casework Operations)
Mr Peter Ryan (Interim Director of Finance & Corporate Services)
Mr David Brown (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Rob Ward (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Andre Katz (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Mark Oldham (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Martin Spencer (Independent Non-Executive Director)

Apologies: 
Mrs Linda Lee (Non-Executive Director)

1. Declarations of interest

None

2. Minutes of the previous meeting and matters arising

The minutes of the previous Board meeting held on 21 July 2020 were approved

3. Action Matrix

All previous actions completed.

4. Chairman’s update

The Chairman welcomed Mark Oldham to the meeting and advised the Board that his appointment as a new Independent Non-Executive Director would be confirmed imminently.

The Chairman had a meeting arranged with the Secretary of State on 5 October and would update the Board subsequently.

It was noted that the letter of commitment between the Ministry of Justice and Government Property Agency to secure the new office space was still awaited.

The Chairman reported that the Ministry of Justice had agreed to reimburse the Commission £28.8k as a repayment for legal costs incurred.

5. Chief Executive’s report including MIP and Covid-19 update

The CEO updated the Board on Commissioner recruitment. The DCO and CEO were running the casework exercise for 57 candidates using a live case. Interviews will follow in December.
The CEO reported that the Business Plan was finalised.

Covid-19 update – following the recent government advice that staff should now work from home wherever possible, the CEO confirmed this message had been reinforced to staff. Everyone now had remote access and should have the necessary equipment to work from home successfully. Only a very small number attended the office as agreed in advance to ensure business continuity. The DFCS reported on two IT issues during the last month; it was considered that once the new system goes live at the beginning of November both the email and document management system will be in the cloud and there will be greater resilience going forward. Consideration was also being given to scanning arrangements to enhance current postal arrangements; this would place the Commission in a strong position should there be a national lockdown.

6. Casework performance in the context of Covid-19 restrictions

The DCO reported that casework was now progressing well. During May and June a large number of Post Office cases completed the review process enabling 57 referrals since the beginning of the business year. An initial drop in new application numbers at the start of the pandemic had enabled an increase of work on longer running cases which had reduced the long running cases list.

The DCO was working closely with the Customer Services Manager and external stakeholders to make sure new applications are forthcoming from the prison estate.

Recruitment of casework staff and induction has continued throughout the last few months. A recruitment campaign was due to be launched for Case Review Managers. This will be flexible to open up a larger pool of applicants, enabling home-based options.

The Board was concerned that staff were receiving sufficient support to deal with the challenges of working from home. It was noted that staff had received additional IT equipment and different initiatives had been introduced. These included regular casework group meetings, a weekly newsletter and information on a government confidential helpline and counselling sessions.

7. Transformation Programme update

The DFCS reported that the Programme had made a great deal of progress and was ahead of plan. The new Windows 10 laptops had been issued to all staff and Commissioners and the Case Management System was due to go live by the end of November. Contracts had been signed for new HR and Finance systems.

It was noted that the budget for the Transformation Programme remained as submitted.

8. Information Governance Framework for approval

The Framework document was noted and approved by the Board.

9. Let’s Talk About Race – discussion

The CEO reported that the Diversity and Inclusion Group was to be relaunched and she would be asking for expressions of interest from staff members to chair the group. A Commissioner would be included in the group and some Knowledge Cafes arranged to generate input more widely from staff. It was noted that the Research Committee was about to issue a call for research proposals which included issues of race and ethnicity in the Criminal Justice System.

10. CCRC 25th Anniversary 

The Head of Communication joined the meeting; the Board was in complete agreement that this was a very special event and work needed to commence shortly. A steering group would be appointed to begin planning.

11. Public Board meeting

The Head of Communication reported that a virtual public board meeting would take place in November by Zoom. It will be publicised.

The Chairman stressed the importance of the media strategy and requested that the HoC circulate the stakeholder map and linked documents to the Board this week.

12. Any other business

The DCO reported that the Board’s decision to move no appeal cases decision making to some casework staff had been postponed because of the Transformation Programme, Covid and new Case Review Managers joining the Commission. The Board agreed that implementation could be delayed for around six months.

13. Date of next meeting

Tuesday 24 November at 10.30

Board Minutes June 2020

Minutes of the Board Meeting
Monday 23 June 2020 at 16.00-17.00
Meeting held remotely by video conference

Present:
Mrs Helen Pitcher (Chairman)
Miss Karen Kneller (Chief Executive)
Mrs Sally Berlin (Director of Casework Operations)
Mr Peter Ryan (Interim Director of Finance & Corporate Services)
Mr David Brown (Non-Executive Director)
Mrs Linda Lee (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Rob Ward (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Andre Katz (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Martin Spencer (Independent Non-Executive Director)

In attendance:
Head of Communication

Apologies: None

1. Declarations of interest

None

2. Annual Report & Accounts 2019-20 for approval

Andre Katz, Chair of the Audit & Risk Assurance Committee confirmed the report and accounts had been reviewed by ARAC the previous day and any amendments had been input.

The Board was very complimentary of the structure and new presentation of the report.

In discussion, the Board asked the Head of Communication to consider the arrangement of the Chairman’s and Chief Executive’s forewords. These would be circulated the following day for final Board approval. It was planned to submit the report on 1 July with the laying date of 15 July.

The Chairman thanked the Head of Communication for his hard work in compiling the report. She also gave special credit to the interim Director of Finance & Corporate Services for his work and stepping in at short notice.

3. Any other business

None

4. Date of next meeting

Tuesday 21 July at 10.30

Board Minutes May 2020

Minutes of the Board Meeting
Monday 19 May 2020 at 10:30-12.30
Meeting held remotely by video conference

Present:
Mrs Helen Pitcher (Chairman)
Miss Karen Kneller (Chief Executive)
Mrs Sally Berlin (Director of Casework Operations)
Ms Heather Lees (Director of Finance & Corporate Services)
Mr Peter Ryan (Interim Director of Finance & Corporate Services)
Mr David Brown (Non-Executive Director)
Mrs Linda Lee (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Rob Ward (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Andre Katz (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Martin Spencer (Independent Non-Executive Director)

Apologies: None

1. Declarations of interest

None

2. Minutes of the previous meeting and matters arising

The minutes of previous Board meetings held on 30 March and 27 April 2020 were approved.

3. Action Matrix

The CEO would follow up on Artificial Intelligence with MoJ to consider AI; AI would be captured within the Transformation Programme.

4. Chairman’s update

The Secretary of State had written to the Chairman commending the Commission’s innovative approach to working in response to the challenges the Coronavirus.

The Chairman had spoken to Colin Carruthers QC, Chairman of the New Zealand CCRC. Discussions included holding a virtual meeting with CCRC, the Scottish CCRC and the Norwegian CCRC.

Following recent appraisals, a number of Commissioners had offered to help with broader duties which supported the external communications strategy.

5. Chief Executive’s report

The report including management information and a covid- 19 update was noted.

The CEO confirmed that approximately 10% of the workforce was affected by Covid-19 which included those shielding or self-isolating.  Managers were regularly in touch with staff and group meetings were being held via Microsoft Teams but other platforms with additional facilities would also be considered.

The interim DFCS was focussing on getting the office and facilities ready by 1st June for a very limited return to the office. Our approach continues to be if staff can work from home, they should.

6. Casework Report

The DCO report was noted. The number of new applications was low because of the situation in prisons with covid-19. The Customer Service Manager was in regular contact with prisons regarding this. In the meantime the focus was on progressing longer running cases. Business and operational plans would be kept under review in light of changes in application rates.

7. Transformation Project update

The report was noted.

The unconfirmed moving date to new offices would be delayed by 8-10 weeks because of building delays during covid-19.

The CEO stressed the urgency of having all staff networked by the end of July; the Interim DFCS would provide her a progress report.

The Board requested that the Programme Board specifically reports on the timetable, budget and business benefit in future updates.

8. External Communications Strategy

The Board approved the strategy. The new strategy aimed at being more transparent within the statutory framework and guidance on this would be provided to help those engaging with stakeholders.

A stakeholder mapping exercise would also be carried out as part of the operational plans supporting the strategy.

All Commissioners had expressed an interest in being involved with stakeholder events provided this did not impact on their casework role. It was agreed that the CEO would take part in a special purpose stakeholder forum to talk about issues arising from covid-19.

A rolling events programme would be produced with flexibility to add in ad hoc events.

9. Approach to implementing quality

The DCO reported that the new formal Quality Management System would be introduced in a phased approach beginning with casework including enhancing training and development. Formal certification would not be sought at this stage.

10. The New normal

The Board discussed how the organisation was adapting to the new ways of working.

The CEO reported that phase one of the work was underway to facilitate the return to the office of a very small number of staff. However, given current government advice and the need for social distancing, there would be no return of scale to the office. The Board noted that homeworking provided opportunities as well as challenges for some all of which needed to be considered. It was agreed that keeping connected with staff as the organisation become decentralised was vital.

The second phase of work was centred on the office move and new accommodation. The Commission’s lease expires Christmas 2020 so decisions will need to be taken regarding office space, layout and function without having the luxury of waiting to see how covid-19 would impact on working life going forward in 2021 and later. Those decisions would be based on the need to prioritise staff safety and to ensure casework continues to flow. Decisions would need be taken in the context of there being very little hard information about covid-19, the expectation that social distancing would continue for some time, and the continued risk of a second surge. The Board agreed that those who could should work from home as it provided the safest environment. To facilitate this it was important to get all staff on the remote network as quickly as possible.

The Smarter Ways of Working Group (a work stream of the Transformation Programme) would revise its Terms of Reference to factor in covid-19. The Chairman was encouraged that all the Commissioners had said they were keen to talk to staff and attend group meetings.

11. Any other business

There had been a very positive response to the Commissioner recruitment campaign.

12. Date of next meeting

Tuesday 16 June at 12.30 a single purpose meeting to approve Annual Report & Accounts only.

Board Minutes April 2020

Minutes of the Board Meeting
Monday 27 April at 14:00-16.00
Meeting held remotely by video conference

Present:
Mrs Helen Pitcher (Chairman)
Miss Karen Kneller (Chief Executive)
Mrs Sally Berlin (Director of Casework Operations)
Ms Heather Lees (Director of Finance & Corporate Services)
Mr Peter Ryan (Interim Director of Finance & Corporate Services)
Mr David Brown (Non-Executive Director)
Mrs Linda Lee (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Rob Ward (Non-Executive Director)
Mr Andre Katz (Independent Non-Executive Director)
Mr Martin Spencer (Independent Non-Executive Director)

Apologies: None

1. Declarations of interest

None

2. Chairman’s update

The Chairman reported that she was receiving weekly updates from the CEO on managing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on business continuity. It is intended to take advantage of some elements of the new ways of working going forward. The Chairman thanked the team for doing an exceptional job.

3. Chief Executive’s report (including MIP and oral Covid-19 update)

The report was noted.

Covid-19 update – The majority of staff now had access to the network or to the CJSM system and were working well and keeping in regular contact with their teams. The emphasis now was to look at how the organisation would manage once the lockdown was lifted or relaxed, as well as addressing the challenge of social distancing in the workplace.

MIP – The DOC reported that new applications had begun to arrive since the incoming post was unblocked. Working under the Covid-19 restrictions together with some staff unable to work because of illness or lack of IT equipment had inevitably impacted on casework. However, this was constantly under review to ensure the best possible service to applicants.

4. Transformation Project update

The report was noted.

The interim DFCS said he anticipated work on the Discovery Phase to be completed in April. The Proof of Concept for the data migration was crucial and he was working with the teams to facilitate its development in May 2020.

The Board requested that the July 2019 paper launching the IT Digital Transformation Programme was re-circulated for information. Similarly, the business case would be circulated and it would be helpful if a concise document was produced to supplement the business case which would help inform the Commission’s Board of key milestones as well as the CMS requirements process.

The current Covid-19 situation had introduced new working practices which gave an opportunity to test optimum ways of working going forward.

5. Corporate strategy including HR Strategy for approval

The Corporate Plan was due to run until 2023 although the Board noted that it was likely to be revisited before that time due to the fast changing working environment bought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Board approved the draft Corporate Plan and HR strategy subject to some minor changes.

6. Annual Report & Accounts

The Head of Communications joined the meeting and asked the Board to comment on the new design of the Annual Report before a full draft was completed. The new style was approved with some minor changes to the layout.

7. Approach to implementing quality

The Head of Quality joined the meeting to discuss the introducing of a formalised Quality Management System to enhance quality culture and practices. The Board agreed that a phased approach starting in casework was appropriate and that there should be a focus on training and development. A paper would come back to the Board.

8. Any other business

It was possible that a large number of junior lawyers would be made redundant after furlough and useful to have this in mind when recruiting new CRMs.

9. Date of next meeting

Tuesday 19 May 10.00 am