Department for the Economy Board minutes 2022 - 28 April 2022

Minutes from the Departmental Board meeting on 31 March 2022.


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

In attendance:

  • (name redacted) (Permanent Secretary’s Office)
  • (name redacted) (Secretariat)
  • (name redacted) (Boardroom Apprentice)
  • Lisa Morgan (For ODT only)
  • (name redacted) (For ODT only)
  • (name redacted) (For ODT only)
  • (name redacted) (For ODT only)
  • (name redacted) (For ODT only
  • (name redacted) (Observer)

Apologies: Alan Russell



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 31 March 22 Board Meeting

Agreed without amendment.


Agenda Item 3:Strategic Issues

There was discussion on a number of areas.


  • Invest NI Review - This is progressing well. A number of issues need progressed outside of the formal review process including a formal Board effectiveness review which will be carried out by Business Consultancy Service.
  • Budget - NICS Board continue to discuss how DoF might find a way to release the £300m held but can’t be spent in the absence of an Executive.
  • Investment Strategy - HOCS has commissioned work regarding delivery of this. 5 key strategic areas were identified by the Executive. There are 3 mission areas
Agenda Item 4: Budget Update

Sharon Hetherington presented.

  • A contingency planning envelope has been received from DoF which is more or less as expected. We have been told not to halt spending. We will plan to revert to 100% of 21/22 funding for ALBs that we had limited to 97%.
  • We will set this out for Minister and Board.
  • We have been successful with NI Protocol funding which has increased by £1m from 21/22.
  • Capital funding is slightly less than anticipated. This does not allow us to take forward the energy invest to save and the green growth and challenge funds but we are looking at carrying an overcommitment. DoF has not allocated all routine capital at this time
  • We have prioritised ODT. There was no funding for 10x within this budget. We need an action plan for 10x with a financial profile against it.
Agenda Item 5: Questions on Papers to Note

HR Update

  • Updated DfE key workforce stats have been provided to members. Vacancies reduced to 150 at end of March. DfE performance management compliance is lower than the NICS average.
  • AP: Financial cost of staff absences will be explored

City Deals Update

  • The 5 projects that are approved have been flagged up and where we are with ones that are about to be approved.
  • An Internal Audit report was completed in February with a satisfactory opinion.
  • Board recorded thanks to Ciaran McGarrity and team for significant progress made on business cases.

Update to Major Projects List

  • Project Assurance & Support Branch are ramping up work after being stood down because of covid pressures. 41 major projects are underway with 4 deemed to be high risk, though these are being moved forward.

June Board Agenda

  • This will include a strategic planning session.
  • Topics will include Strategic Direction, Risk, Stakeholder Engagement and ‘Housekeeping’.
  • Any thoughts or comments may be submitted prior to the event.
(name redacted)
Agenda Item 6:
Organisational Delivery and 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 - Wednesday 18 May at 6.00 pm

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