Board meeting, 13 November 2013

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Board Room, National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge Building

Present: James Boyle (Chair); Andrea Batchelor;  Professor Graham Caie; Lorraine Fannin; Jonathan Lake QC; Charles Lovatt; Dr Richard Parsons; Dr Willis Pickard.

In attendance: Dr Darryl Mead (Deputy National Librarian); Duncan Campbell (Deputy Chief Executive); Richard Jones (Secretary to the Library); Aileen McKechnie (Scottish Government representative); Jane Rose (Trade Unions Side Representative); Mungo Bovey QC (Observer from Faculty of Advocates).


Minutes of meeting

1. Apologies and welcome:
The Chair (JB) welcomed all attendees to the meeting. Apologies were noted from Jan Usher, Moira Methven and Martyn Wade (National Librarian and Chief Executive). DM was in attendance in his role as Accountable Officer.


2. Declaration of Interests:
There were no new declarations of interest.

3. Minutes of meeting of 23 September 2013:
The minutes were approved as a correct record with a couple of minor amendments.


4. Actions outstanding and matters arising from previous meeting:
The actions and matters arising were updated as appropriate with the following comments made:

The Treasury Management Policy was approved by the Board in February 2013 and is due for review in February 2015. The Ethical Investment Policy will be prepared when a permanent Head of Finance is appointed.


5. Annual Report and financial statements:
JB progressed through Paper BT/13/38 Annual Report and financial statements section by section with the following observations being made:

  • Terminology should be changed from Trustees to Board Members.
  • DC explained NLS under-performance in relation to supplier payments and in particular the unique feature with the significant number of small purchases of additions to the collection and the impacting invoice issues. DM explained that the E-request system was being upgraded to include these purchases and will greatly improve the performance.
  • Trust funds are not part of the assets of the Library and therefore do not have to be shown on the accounts, although it was accepted that the Board would like to see recognition of the donors to the Library. It was agreed that these should be available somewhere and a clear distinction should be made between Trust funds and donations.
  • P.39: AD will be asked to rephrase the paragraph under Capital Asset Funds.
  • P.40: Reference note in Item l. should be (Note 23).
  • P.45: Another word other than 'Director' should be used ('… highest paid director') to indicate a senior manager.
  • The table showing declared interests on P56 will be removed. This information cannot be included this year because of timing issues. It was agreed that this information will be included for next year's report.
  • P.50: About 'treasures', the Board would be interested to know more. DM will prepare a paper for a future Board meeting.
  • AB asked for an update on the ALDL. DM responded that the other members were reluctant to move forward. This will be put back to the Legal Deposit Librarians Committee next year.
  • P.63: CL has sent an email to PwC suggesting that there may be a factual inaccuracy in the ISA 260 report from PwC. CL is following up his email.

With the points made above, it was agreed that JB could close and sign the accounts and associated reports and representations on the Board's behalf.


6. Strategic Risk Register (confidential).

7. Draft Strategy 2014-2020:
DM introduced Paper BT/13/39 and explained that since the drafting of the paper, a workshop had been held with the Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) to have further discussions on the Strategy. CLT were split into three groups, each looking at the objectives and how they could be realised in the organisation. DM was now keen to hear some feedback from the Board. He explained that the Strategy was written to capture the ability of NLS to deliver aspirational change; for the Library and its users but also for Scotland. For example, if NLS developed stronger links to universities, more funding may be available from research grants, etc.

He also explained that managers were aware that it was very unlikely that additional Scottish Government funding would be available, and that this means that the developments in the strategy would need to be funded through a more innovative approach to fundraising.

AM asked about the lack of reference to the referendum. DM explained that the Strategy was designed to deliver irrespective of the outcome of the referendum.

JB expressed his view that this was a very significant event in British constitutional history and reference should be made it. AM said that many companies and other Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) were scenario planning for both outcomes and it would be prudent for NLS to do the same. DM agreed to consider these comments during the production of the next iteration of the Strategy.

The Board looked at the strategy with comments as follows:

  • P.77: The centenary idea was good but MB urged not to use the expression '100 years young'
  • Large parts of the collection are not accessible
  • To reconsider the terms 'customers' and 'audience' and look at 'users' as a possibility
  • There is an opportunity in the events programme from April 2014 for NLS to act as a forum for debate on the referendum and this was something that the Board were keen to progress. DM will take this forward.

Overall the Board Members were content with progress being made on the Strategy.


8. Draft Minutes of Audit Committee of 2 October 2013:
CL explained that the meeting on 21 October was a one-off meeting to look at the annual report and financial statements and emphasised the need to have the accounts ready for submission to the August Board meeting for sign off.


9. Update of Staffing and Remuneration Committee of 15 October 2013:
DC explained the purpose of the S and R meeting on 15 October was to discuss the Pay and Grading update. An agreed model, based on 12 pay points, has been agreed and has been sent to Scottish Government for approval. On approval from Scottish Government, the model will be issued to Trade Unions Side (TUS) for communicating to staff. Communications will be issued to staff giving individual circumstances. If there is no collective agreement reached, there will be a further report to the Board. JR gave an update from a TUS perspective and negotiations will continue with management.


10. Kelvinhall Project update:
DM gave a verbal update, highlighting the following:

  • A formal paper will be submitted, seeking approval for the process for Kelvinhall.
  • Overall, the project is going well.
  • The Project Board are meeting every 2-3 weeks, with three more Boards scheduled for this year.

The Executive Leadership Team (ELT) have agreed to create eight temporary posts to deliver the specific contract. From this, four technicians will be employed to deal with the backlog of film.


11. Shared Services update:
DC introduced Paper BT/13/41, giving an update on the Shared Services Operating Plan. Meetings are held regularly and the project is moving well.

IT: Firewalls have now been joined which means a shared link to the JANET network.

Finance: Work has been delayed until a Head of Finance has been recruited.

HR: The process is taking longer than expected due to resource implications. Additional resources are being brought in, initially for an 18 month period to allow progress at a strategic level. AM highlighted concerns from NGS Board and will discuss further with DC.

CL advised that Audit Committee had raised concern over the real organisational benefit to Shared Services and would like a clearer statement with regard value for money and overall savings. DC advised that there would be no major cost savings from the exercise. A progress report will be supplied at the next Board meeting on 16 December 2013.


12. Major acquisition update:
DM gave an update to members on the current situation with regard the major acquisition. At the request of the vendors, this remains confidential. Board will be kept updated on progress.

Lois Wolffe joined the meeting.

13. Development update:
Lois Wolffe gave an overview of the Development Team and highlighted the points below:

  • Honorary Patrons:
    As part of the fundraising membership scheme, each individual patron pays between £200-£1000 a year. There are currently 72 Patrons. The team work to develop close relationships with high profile individuals and would like to invite a few to become Honorary Patrons. There is currently one Honorary Patron and LW would like to nominate three additional Honorary Patrons, time limited to one year. There was considerable concern from Board members that this would undermine the role of Patrons. LW explained that the three nominations were tactical appointments and that celebrities would bring in people rather than money. The Board agreed to the three Honorary Patrons already identified but confirmed that any further proposals will require a new paper to the Board.
  • Donald Dewar Memorial:
    The last event was held in August 2012 and is an opportunity to thank existing stakeholders. LW explained that the event is very expensive to run and suggests dropping this as an annual event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. It was agreed that the name should remain and take place possibly as an in-house lecture.

LW agreed to investigate this further.

Lois was thanked for her update and JB thanked her further for the success of the Patrons night.


14. Any other business:
14.1 Non-print deposits:
MB advised that the Advocates await the arrival of non-print deposits which should arrive mid-November.


Date of next meeting:
16 December 2013.


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