Department for the Economy Board minutes 2022 - 18 May 2022

Minutes from the Departmental Board meeting on 18 May 2022.


  • Mike Brennan (Chair)
  • Heather Cousins
  • David Malcolm
  • Shane Murphy
  • Richard Rodgers
  • Michael McKavanagh (Non-Executive Board Member)
  • Colm McKenna (Non-Executive Board Member)
  • Michelle Bell
  • Sharon Hetherington
  • Alan Russell

In Attendance:        

  • Nigel Robbins (Observer and for Project Stratum / Gigabit update)
  • (name redacted) (Boardroom Apprentice)
  • (name redacted) (Permanent Secretary’s Office)


  • Paul Grocott 
  • Fiona Keenan (Non-Executive Board Member)
  • (name redacted)



Agenda Item

Actions Arising From Discussion

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

Agenda Item 1:Declaration of Interests

No new interests declared.


Agenda Item 2:Minutes of 28 April 22 Board Meeting

Agreed without amendment.


Agenda Item 3:Strategic Issues

A number of areas were discussed:

  • Board Members were welcomed to the first face to face meeting since February 2020
  • Party Leaders had received a presentation from HOCS setting out the budget, circumstantial pressures and proposals for a Programme for Government
  • Review of InvestNI and the Board Effectiveness Review


Agenda Item 4: Discussion of priorities for the year ahead

Discussion was mainly around progressing 10X:

  • Separation of 10X delivery from ODT- the point had been reached when that would now take place.
  • Work to ensure 10X is real for everyone across the Department and its ALBs


Agenda Item 5: Discussion of 2022-23 Business plan and strategic priorities

Alan Russell presented:

  • Nine strategic priorities to be carried forward into the new business plan
  • 10X to be woven into the fabric of actions as an umbrella vision
  • Further work was required to consolidate actions and engagement with the Leadership Team and Non-Executive Board Members would follow.


Agenda Item 6: Finance and Monitoring Round Update

Sharon Hetherington presented:

  • A three year exercise was expected to capture pressures
  • A plan was in place to make best use of the available budget
  • Final accounts for 2021-22 had been provided to the Audit Office


Agenda Item 7: Commercial Capability Plan Update

Alan Russell presented:

  • Board Members noted the contents of the paper
  • Mandatory training had not been completed and it was essential that this was now addressed


Agenda Item 8: Project Stratum / Gigabit update

Nigel Robbins presented:

  • transformational project, successfully future proofing Northern Ireland’s broadband provision for the next ten years. 
  • Board Members thanked Nigel for his excellent work on the project


Agenda Item 9: Papers for brief discussion

Quality Improvement Team Annual Report

  • Board Members noted the content of the annual report

Risk Register Q4 Update

  • Board Members considered and agreed the Corporate Risk Register quarter four updates

DfE Business Plan Q4 Update

  • The Board considered and agreed the quarter four progress updates for the Business Plan and noted that these would be published on the Department’s website


Agenda Item 10: Questions on Papers to Note

HR Update

  • Board Members noted the information provided.

Invest NI Review

  • Board Members noted the paper setting out progress in respect of the Independent Review of InvestNI.

10X Economy Research Programme

  • Board Members noted the proposals.


Agenda Item 11: AOB

No further business raised.


Date of Next Meeting: Thursday 30 June at 10.30am in Armagh Campus, Southern Regional College.

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