Department for the Economy Board minutes 2020 - 30 April 2020

Minutes from departmental board meeting 30 April 2020



  • Mike Brennan, Chair
  • Colin Lewis
  • Richard Rodgers
  • Heather Cousins
  • Diarmuid McLean (joined the meeting at 12.10)
  • Paul Grocott
  • Wendy Johnston
  • Stephen McMurray
  • Colin Woods
  • Lisa Morgan (NICSHR)
  • Colm McKenna (Independent Board Member)
  • Fiona Keenan (Independent Board Member)

In attendance:

  • Shane Murphy (Item 4 only)
  • Alan Russell (Item 6 only)
  • Sharon Smyth (Secretariat)


Agenda Item

Actions Arising From Discussion

Action Owner and Current Position (to be completed prior to the next Board Meeting)

Declaration of Interests

F Keenan raised a potential conflict of interest, advising the company her husband works for has applied for a business grant under the £25k scheme.



Chairman’s Remarks


The Chair updated the Board on the various issues ongoing in response to Covid-19.



DB 40/1 Action Points from 26 March 2020 Departmental Board meeting


The minutes were agreed without amendment.


Departmental update re COVID-19




DB 40/2 Monthly Finance Update (including Budget 20/21)


Stephen McMurray provided the Board with an update on the work currently being undertaken by Finance Division, including the latest position with regard to the Provisional Outturn exercise; the 2020/21 Budget exercise and the current financial position in relation to the Covid-19 response.


Stephen confirmed that timetables have not been amended to reflect current circumstances, and, therefore, ALBs will be required to complete in line with previous years’ timetables.



DB 40/3 Revised 2020/21 Departmental Business Plan - Update


Alan Russell updated the Board on:


(i) a Business Impact Analysis, which has been conducted to capture how Covid-19 has impacted on the work of the Department; and


(ii) a Covid-19 Response Business Plan for 2020/21, which includes new work which has emerged in response to Covid-19.


The Board agreed it would be important to advise Trade Unions of the Plan.




Consideration to be given to refining Strategic Objectives 1 & 2.


Consideration to be given to rewording of Strategic Objective 2.1.


Page 9 under ‘Strategic Objectives’, 3rd objective should read, “Maintain and deliver our essential public facing services to the best of our ability in compliance with public health advice,”


Draft plan, to include narrative, to be circulated to business areas to update narrative/key actions/ outcomes as appropriate.


Covering email from Permanent Secretary to accompany draft plan to ensure prioritisation by business areas.


Second draft to be circulated to Board members and Zoom session to be arranged in 2 weeks to discuss.





















Alan Russell



Paul Grocott/

Alan Russell


Alan Russell







Alan Russell





Permanent Secretary Support




Alan Russell/ Secretariat

DB 40/4 Corporate Risk Register

Colin Lewis advised the Board that the Risk Register, including a risk appetite, is being reviewed to take account of both the current circumstances and the revised Business Plan.



DB 40/5 RHI

Richard Rodgers updated the Board on recent developments and progress made on RHI including, the launch of the Tariff Review consultation, the Judicial Review of the 2019 tariff, the Voluntary Buy-Out Scheme, and the latest position with regard to inspections and investigations/compliance.




DB 40/6 Report on End Year 2019/20 People Plan position

Wendy Johnston updated the Board on the People Plan position and the Board agreed to publish the Plan on the Intranet.




Fiona Keenan keen to discuss background work on this.









Wendy Johnston



Wendy encouraged all line managers to ensure EYRs and PPA/PDPs completed as soon as possible.


A discussion also took place on current handling of staff redeployment across NICS Departments and the wider public sector as a whole.




End of Year Reviews and PPA/PDPs to be completed as soon as possible.















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