Department for the Economy Board minutes 2022 - 29 September 2022

Minutes from the Departmental Board meeting on 29 September 2022.


  • Mike Brennan (Chair)
  • Heather Cousins
  • David Malcolm
  • Shane Murphy
  • Paul Grocott
  • Sharon Hetherington
  • Marlene McIntyre
  • Alan Russell
  • Sharon Hetherington
  • Richard Rodgers
  • Fiona Keenan (Non-Executive Board Member)
  • Michael McKavanagh (Non-Executive Board Member)

In attendance:       

  • Lisa Morgan (for ODT)
  • (Name Redacted) (ODT Secretariat)
  • (Name Redacted) (CMB Secretariat)
  • (Name Redacted) (Permanent Secretary’s Office)
  • Kerry Curran (Board Observer)
  • Margaret Hearty (Chief Executive InterTradeIreland)
  • Richard Kennedy (Chair InterTradeIreland)
  • Martin Robinson (Director of Strategy InterTradeIreland)


  • Michelle Bell
  • Colm McKenna (Non-Executive Board Member)

Agenda Item

Actions Arising From Discussion

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

Agenda Item 1:Presentation from InterTrade Ireland

The Board meeting was held at InterTradeIreland, Newry. Chief Executive Margaret Hearty, Chair Richard Kennedy and Director of Strategy Martin Robinson presented.


A number of areas were discussed:

  • Introduction to InterTradeIreland.
  • 20+ years supporting cross-border trade and business development.
  • Regional & sectoral spread 2021.
  • An agile & responsive organisation.
  • Role & focus.
  • Growing exports.
  • Case studies.
  • Innovation & entrepreneurship development.
  • Business to business cross-border collaborative innovation.
  • Co-innovate collaborative innovation.
  • Future Direction.
  • Contributing to the 10x economy.
  • Role in delivering a 10x economy.
  • Barriers.


Agenda Item 2:Board Register of Interests/ Conflicts

No new interests declared.


Agenda Item 3:Minutes of meeting 25th August 2022

Agreed without amendment.


Agenda Item 4: Strategic Issues

A number of areas were discussed:


  • Energy Schemes

Current position with the £400 payment, heating oil, energy price guarantee and non-domestic business.

  • Legislative requirements. Administrative resource implications
  • DfE have observer status.


  • NICS/ Public Sector Position Post 28/10/22

Possible scenarios were discussed.


  • NICS Budget Position

DoF Permanent Secretary has written to HOCS advising of current budget position including a large NICS overspend.

  • DfE is in the best position of all Departments.


Agenda Item 5: Finance Update

Sharon Hetherington presented:


  • Internal DfE budget exercise has been launched.
  • Minister has been advised of £17m unallocated funding. Current energy forecast needs reflected on which may increase this.
  • Capital overcommitment of £5m.
  • City Deals forecast reduced to £3m.
  • Preparations are being made for next year’s budget.


Agenda Item 6: Energy Strategy & Action Plan

Richard Rodgers presented:


  • There is now a greater context for the need to accelerate delivery of energy decarbonisation.
  • Delivery of self-sufficiency and affordable renewable energy.
  • Fair prices.
  • Regulated energy sector for all energy.
  • Storage in batteries and gas caverns.
  • Long-term storage through green hydrogen.
  • Security of supply.


Agenda Item 7: Paper for Brief Discussion

10x Update

  • The Board agreed the draft objectives outlined for inclusion, innovation and net zero.
  • The Department will need to focus existing resources in 2023/24 on initiatives that meet these objectives.






Agenda Item 8: Papers to Note

HR Update

  • The merit list for the DP competition is now expected mid-Nov.
  • 20 SO vacancies to be filled from general list, 12 NICS or agency workers already working in DfE.
  • Succession planning – age profile for DfE is high, particularly at senior level.
  • The graduate fast stream programme is up and running.


Post Project Evaluation Update

  • A total of 5 PPEs remain overdue.
  • There has been a 50% increase in compliance with PPEs completed on time.
  • It was felt it is no longer necessary for PPEs to be a Board agenda item. AP: A formal request to be made to remove from Board agenda going forward.


Audit & Risk Committee Minutes 26/8/22

  • No questions.


Taking Forward Emerging EU Legislation

  • The Board registered concern about this for Departmental business going forward.



















Alan Russell








Agenda Item 9: Organisational Delivery & Transformation Programme

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


Agenda Item 10: AOB

There was no AOB.



Date of next meeting – Thursday 27 October, Adelaide House.

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