Department for the Economy Board minutes 2020 - 29 January 2020

Minutes from departmental board meeting

29 January 2020


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

In attendance:        

  • Sharon Smyth (Secretariat)
  • Michelle Bell, Central Management Branch
  • Louise Warde Hunter, DfC (item 4 only)
  • Nicola Creagh DfC (item 4 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 Executive Away Day held on 22 January 2020 and the Minister’s recent meeting with Michel Barnier.



DB37/1 Action points from 28 November 2019 Departmental Board meeting.


The minutes were agreed without amendment.







DB 37/2 Presentation on Community Planning

Louise Warde Hunter DfC gave a presentation on the purpose of Community Planning and what DfC can do to support other departments








DB 37/3 HR Business Partner update


The Board noted the paper.




Chair to discuss need for financial & accountant expertise at SO/DP with Richard Pengelly in advance of next DfE Board.


Lisa Morgan to update the Board on whether the recent external DP, SO and AO competitions have made a difference in attracting people from a diverse background.


Lisa Morgan to provide update on the possibility of advertising part-time opportunities in future competitions.


Members to provide feedback to Lisa Morgan on Phase 1 of the Management Information Dashboard.


Members to encourage remaining staff to complete in-year reviews.


Members were encouraged to schedule end of year reviews in advance of 31 March 2020.


Members were encouraged to consider exploring other sources of expertise within the Department to deliver priority learning areas, eg through PDPs, Inform You Sessions, Central Engagement Team, etc.





Mike Brennan - Verbal update.


Lisa Morgan - Actioned.



Lisa Morgan



All Board Members


All Board Members


All Board Members


All Board Members







Programme for Government/

Industrial Strategy


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.




DB 37/4 Energy Strategy update

The Board noted the paper.








DB 37/5 RHI update


The Board noted the paper and Richard Rodgers provided an update on next steps.


A discussion took place on offering the Economy Committee the opportunity to attend a future Departmental Board to discuss specific items such as Energy and EU Exit.






Verbal update.

DB 37/6 Monthly Finance update (including Budget 20/21)


The Board noted the paper and Stephen McMurray provided an update to the Board on current budget pressures.


DB 37/7 update on work of the Casework Committee


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


DB 37/8 Update on the work of the Resourcing and People Committee




The Board noted the paper.



DB 37/9 Delivery Committee Report, including Business Plan and Risk Register updates


The Board noted the paper and agreed the minutes of the Delivery Committee meeting.


A discussion took place on the City Deals Project, including the need for clarification of additional funding in advance of establishment of a dedicated PMO and the potential for additional workload for the Casework Committee.



DB 37/10 Draft DfE Board Agenda 27 February 2020

Action: The following be added to the February agenda:


Economic Briefing Paper

Minutes of January ARAC Meeting









Departmental Readiness for EU Exit: Proposal for the Establishment of Departmental Readiness Board


Paul Grocott updated the Board establishment of a Departmental Readiness Board. It was agreed this Board should be a sub-committee of Departmental Board.




Presentation on the establishment/remit of the Readiness Board to be given to a future Departmental Board.







Paul Grocott



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