Department for the Economy Board minutes 2022 - 25 August 2022

Minutes from the Departmental Board meeting on 25 August 2022.


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

In Attendance:       

  • (Name Redacted) (Permanent Secretary’s Office)
  • (Name Redacted) (CMB Secretariat)
  • Peter Russell (Board Observer)
  • Giulia Ni Dhulchaointigh (for 10x paper)
  • (Name Redacted) (Boardroom Apprentice)


  • None
Agenda Item Actions arising from discussion Action owner and current position (to be completed prior to the next Board Meeting)
Agenda Item 1:Board Register of Interests/ Conflicts No new interests declared.  
Agenda Item 2:Minutes of meeting 30th June 2022 Agreed without amendment.  
Agenda Item 3: Strategic Issues

A number of areas were discussed:


  • Post 28 October if Assembly does not return

What powers does DfE have?Ministerial approvals leading up to that date.

  • £400 Energy Payment

The position in Northern Ireland.

  • Cost of Living Crisis

Energy price increases leading to fuel poverty, destitution, increase in inflation and interest rates, energy security over winter and impacts on public services.

Contingency planning was discussed.

  • Budget Position  

The mechanism to allow Departments to continue spending.

Position clarified on recent media interest regarding DoF Permanent Secretary’s actions.

Agenda Item 4: Finance Update

Sharon Hetherington presented:

2022/23 DfE Resource Budget

  • Sharon discussed Funding Sources, In-Year Pressures, Allocations Agreed by the Minister, Initiatives and Total Funding Remaining of some £17m.
  • The extent of rising inescapable pressures of the cost of a pay increase and energy costs were not clear but robust allowances have been made.

2022/23 DfE Capital Budget

  • Sharon discussed reduced requirements, funding required from DoF regarding an inescapable bid and a Resource to Capital switch.
Agenda Item 5: New Ways of Working

Michelle Bell presented:


  • Netherleigh closure is scheduled for 30th September.
  • Transport to Adelaide House – Work ongoing regarding parking for disabled staff working at Adelaide House; Car parking options circulated to all staff; Special 3-day tickets available for public transport.
  • Up to 25% of desks have been booked on any given day. This will increase start/mid-September with the requirement to return to the office 40% of the time.
  • Hubs are available to use 
Agenda Item 6: Papers to Note

HR Update

  • Results letters for the SO competition will be issued 26/8/22 resulting in an initial batch of 250 offers with a 2nd batch soon after. AP – A timeline of when the 2nd batch of letters will be issued will be sought. There is sufficient supply to cover all vacancies.
  • There was a concern about the upward trend in mental health absences in DfE. The reasons need analysed if work related and a way forward implemented.

10x Update

  • Need to concentrate on what surrounds the consultation/side consultations. Co-design process is important.

City Deals Update

  • There is no deadline for an outline business case.
  • There are Skills aspects to consider with resourcing issues.

Covid Inquiry Update

  • There are 6 weeks to make a Corporate Statement.
  • There are staffing challenges.
  • There is a max 4-week turnaround for queries.

Update to the Major Projects List

  • 3 projects have moved off the list.

Resourcing & People Committee

No questions.

(Name redacted)
Agenda Item 7: Papers for Brief Discussion

Corporate Risk Register Update

The Board agreed the Corporate Risk Register Q1 updates pending any amendments required in light of Delivery Committee comments.

Agenda Item 8: AOB

Chief Scientific & Technical Officer Competition:

  • Only 1 candidate qualified for a final interview and subsequently withdrew from the competition.

Boardroom Apprentice

This is the final Board meeting of Boardroom Apprentice (Name Redacted) and her contribution over the last year was recognised.


Date of Next Meeting – Thursday 29 September, Intertrade Ireland, Newry

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