Department for the Economy Board minutes 2022 - 27 October 2022

Minutes from the Departmental Board meeting on 27 October 2022.


  • David Malcolm (Chair)
  • Heather Cousins
  • Shane Murphy
  • Paul Grocott
  • Sharon Hetherington
  • (Name redacted)
  • Alan Russell
  • Michelle Bell
  • Fiona Keenan (Non-executive Board member)
  • Michael McKavanagh (Non-executive Board member)
  • Colm McKenna (Non-executive Board member)

In attendance:       

  • (Name redacted) (CMB Secretariat)
  • (Name redacted) (Permanent Secretary’s Office)
  • Colin Jack (Board observer)
  • Lisa Morgan (for ODT)
  • (Name redacted) (for ODT)
  • (Name redacted) (for ODT)
  • (Name redacted) (from EY for ODT)
  • (Name redacted) (student observer)


  • Mike Brennan
  • Richard Rodgers

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 29th September

Agreed without amendment.


Agenda Item 3: Strategic Issues

A number of areas were discussed:


Invest NI Review

  • Nearing end of process.
  • Minister will not be able to see final report but has had sight of likely recommendations.
  • Will Invest NI be able to deliver on 10x?

Energy Costs

  • Value for money & potential for fraud is a UK wide consideration.
  • Delivery of £400 payment to NI domestic consumers still being worked out.
  • Delivery Agent for non-domestic NI customers not connected to energy grid still being worked out.

Position post 28/10/22

  • Legal advice has been received re NICS position in the absence of Ministers.
  • Depts may be able to exercise more authority than envisaged. Not confirmed.
  • A budget bill is necessary.

Agenda Item 4: Finance Update

Sharon Hetherington presented:


  • An overspend of £660m is projected at an NI Block level.
  • DoF are monitoring cash on a month-by-month basis. DfE were given a cash limit to work within until end November which is not expected to cause any issues.
  • There have been no monitoring rounds without an Executive. DfE have had internal ones.
  • DfE unallocated funding has increased from £17m to £21m: representing £9m of easement, £5m of pressures and £5m of pressures.
  • DfE salary overcommitments have been eradicated, taking account of forecast vacancies.
  • Capital overcommitments have reduced to between £3m with a further easement expected following the judgment in the Craigavon FE College new build case.

Agenda Item 5: Papers to Note

HR Update

  • Progress is being made on bringing vacancies down. AP – a paper on vacancy rates at G3 level to be provided for November Board.
  • A drafting & submissions webinar has been developed.
  • AP – an updated timetable to be provided for the G6/G7 recruitment competition.
  • AP – a paper showing absence trends pre covid, post covid and now for DfE compared to other Departments to be provided for November Board

10x Update

  • We need to be more strategic as an organisation – ROI have worked on this.
  • Recognition of the importance of expertise.
  • Consultation on the Performance Management Framework closed last night. 48 responses have been received. The conversation will continue.
  • Preparations will be needed for a returning Executive.
  • Resources should be prioritised to priority areas of 10x.


Department’s People Plan with midyear update

  • No questions.

Update to Major Projects List

  • A number of projects will need scoped again to deliver more realistic outcomes.

ARAC Minutes 22/9/22

  • No questions.

(Name Redacted)



(Name Redacted)

(Name Redacted)



















Agenda Item 6: Organisational Delivery & Transformation Programme

Board members convened a Programme Board meeting for the rest of the available time.


Agenda Item 7: AOB

There was no AOB.



Date of next meeting - Thursday 24 October 2022, Adelaide House. 

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