Department for the Economy Board minutes 2020 - 27 February 2020

Minutes from departmental board meeting

27 February 2020


  • Mike Brennan, Chair
  • Colin Lewis
  • Richard Rodgers
  • Heather Cousins
  • Diarmuid McLean
  • Paul Grocott
  • Wendy Johnston
  • Stephen McMurray                     
  • Colin Woods
  • Lisa Morgan (NICSHR)
  • Colm McKenna (Independent Board Member)

In attendance: 

  • Sharon Smyth (Secretariat)
  • Graeme Wilkinson - item 4 only
  • William Dickson - item 9 only
  • Alan Russell and Mary Lavery - item 10 only
  • Jacqueline McLaughlin - item 15 only


Agenda item

Actions arising from discussion

Action owner and current position (to be completed prior to the next board meeting

Declaration of interests

No new interests declared.


Chairman’s remarks

The Chair updated the Board on the appointment of a second NEBM. Fiona Keenan is due to take up appointment on 16 March and will attend the March Board meeting.



DB38/1 Action points from 30 January 2020 Departmental Board meeting.


The minutes were agreed without amendment.







DB 38/2 Presentation on Skills Strategy 2030

Graeme Wilkinson gave a presentation on the work being done on the Skills Strategy 2030. The Board was content with the general direction, however, suggested further work to be done in a number of areas.







DB 38/3 HR Business Partner Update


The Board noted the information/ analysis provided in the paper.






DB 38/4 NICS People Survey 2019 Results

Wendy Johnston updated the Board on the results of the survey and advised Divisional reports will issue to G3s to share with G5s to be used as a management tool.


It was agreed that further work needs to be done to develop G7 leadership role.


Wendy Johnston



All Board Members

Programme for Government/ Industrial Strategy update

Diarmuid McLean updated the Board on the PfG and Industrial Strategy.



Preparations for EU Exit update

Paul Grocott provided an update on current preparations for EU Exit. The Departmental Readiness Board to meet w/c 2 March and Paul will report back at the next Departmental Board.


A policy steer will also be sought from DoF in light of comments from Minister Murphy on the policy implications of loss of EU funding.

Paul Grocott



DB 38/5 Economic Brief (including Skills Cohort and Labour Market Statistics)


The Board noted the paper presented by William Dickson.


DB 38/6 Draft Business Plan 2020/21

Alan Russell updated the Board on the draft plan. The Board agreed a number of minor amendments to the draft, including Divisions to give consideration to including additional work being done. The Board does not need to see the plan again, subject to these amendments being made.

Alan Russell


DB 38/7 Energy Strategy update

The Board noted the paper.




DB 38/8 RHI update

The Board noted the paper


DB 38/9 Monthly Finance update (including Budget 20/21)

The Board noted the paper and recognised the challenges which lie ahead in respect to possibly self managing inescapable pressures in 2020/21.


DB 38/10 update on work of the Casework Committee

The Board noted the paper and Colin Lewis provided an update on current position.


DB 38/11 Revision of Departmental fraud and raising concerns (whistleblowing) policies and procedures


The Board considered the paper and approved the revised policies, subject to inclusion in the next draft of process for whistleblowing of SMT.

Colin Woods

DB 38/12 ARAC meeting minutes of 5 February 2020

The Board noted the paper presented by Colm McKenna.


The Chair agreed to speak to Stuart Stevenson (DoF) on giving a presentation on Governance and Accountability (revised guidelines issued to AOs) at a future Board meeting.



Mike Brennan

DB 38/13 Draft DfE Board Agenda 26 March 2020

The following to be added to the March agenda:


Paper on PfG priorities for DfE

Update on Resourcing and People Committee

Review of Internal Delegations






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