Board meeting, 23 September 2013

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

Present: James Boyle (Chair); Professor Graham Caie; Lorraine Fannin; Jonathan Lake QC; Charles Lovatt; Moira Methven; 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); Jan Usher (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 and in particular Aileen McKechnie from Scottish Government. Apologies were noted from Andrea Batchelor and from 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 28 March 2013:
The minutes were approved as a correct record with one amendment on page 5 received by email from David Seers, Scottish Government. Paragraph to read: 'DS confirmed that following on from the Carnegie Report's call for a strategy, SG started discussions. DS had informal discussions with Martyn Wade and SLIC and the third dimension to this is that the new joint working group on culture and heritage between COSLA and the Scottish Government has, in its early meetings, taken a close interest in public libraries.'


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

Lorraine Fannin (LF) asked for clarity on the detail coming from the six month summary on Shared Services to be supplied to the November Board. DC confirmed that only progress in HR was under way at present.


5. Minutes of the meeting of 24 June 2013 (confidential minute):
Minutes were approved.

MB asked for clarity on the background to Item 3. DC confirmed the minute was an update for Board members. NLS now have a Decree granted by the Court. Awaiting payment of £259,000 out of remaining £360,000.


6. Actions and matters arising from those minutes (confidential minute):
No matters raised.

Koen Van der Straeten joined the meeting for item 7.


7. Draft Strategy:
Before the discussion, JB reminded the Board that the Strategy had to include planning for the outcome of the Referendum in 2014.

KVdS gave his presentation — the Strategy Project started in spring 2013, with the aim of getting a first draft strategy to the Board in September.

Lessons learned from the exercise:

  • More time for consultations would have been very useful
  • There should be a focus on younger people
  • There is a perceived need for a national library network in Scotland
  • NLS is a nationally significant collection
  • Staff want to see leadership and vision from senior management
  • Staff need to be re-engaged in the strategy development process.

KVdS informed the Board that the Strategy had been presented to CLT and ELT twice.

KVdS posed the following questions to the Board:

  • What is our Vision? (i.e. what does NLS want to be)
  • What is our Mission? (i.e. what NLS actually does).

KVdS also outlined some thoughts on strategic aims for NLS:

  • Developing and preserving the collection
  • Improving accessibility of the collection — moving from a mainly print to a mainly digital library
  • Improving the awareness and impact of NLS on Scotland and Scottish culture
  • Understanding the total value of NLS
  • Re-engaging the Scottish population.

JB thanked KVdS and asked the Board for comments and questions.

WP and LF both said the Strategy was missing ambition, inspiration, momentum and an international dimension.

GC said he had been inspired at the Board 'Away Day' 2013, and wants the strategy to capture some of the inspiration from that day. He asked how views were captured? GC also said that in his view, NLS does not use social media properly to communicate, and that the international dimension was key for the future of NLS.

DM responded that the consultations had not been enough to allow senior managers to set the vision for NLS. He said the Board had a role to play in setting long term strategic vision.

MB (Mungo Bovey) suggested changes to the layout of the bullet points and said in his view safeguarding the collection was the paramount aim of NLS. He went on to say he felt the language of 'shifting the balance' from print to digital was not appropriate.

DM responded that the issue was that in a Strategy, language is used to build consensus. This means the Strategy as written does not always come across clearly — what was meant by shifting the balance was recognising that NLS needed to expand both its physical and digital presence.

LF commented that she was unclear which areas of the draft Strategy expressed the need for NLS to expand knowledge of and about Scotland.

AMcK said that regardless of the outcome of September 2014, change was coming to Scotland and NLS had to respond in the Strategy. She also recommended KVdS consider the Public Sector Reform Agenda.

In summary, JB said that the Board's view was that the Strategy lacked vision, ambition and the 'wow' factor. The Board wanted to see a further round of staff consultations, with the senior management team giving a greater lead in setting out a long term ambition for the NLS.

Koen Van der Straeten left the meeting.


8. Annual Report and Accounts:|
CL recommended that the completed Annual Report and Accounts go to Audit Committee on 21 October for scrutiny then back to the Board on 4 November for approval. Reasons were outlined and it was confirmed that the statutory date for submission would still be achieved. Board agreed to the Annual Report and Accounts being sent to the Audit Committee prior to being re-submitted to the Board meeting in November.


9. Loans to exhibitions:
The Board approved the requests in Paper BT/13/31.


10. Draft Strategic Risk Register (confidential):
The Board approved the draft Strategic Risk Register and it was agreed that this should be tabled at every Board meeting.


11. Updated Terms of Reference (TOR) — Governance Committee:
GC introduced Paper BT/13/32, highlighting the following areas:

  • The quorum will be two Board members plus one co-opted member.
  • AMcK advised on a Letter of Strategic Guidance and suggested that the Cabinet Secretary should attend Governance Committee once a year to discuss matters of interest. RP also suggested allowing Board members to alternate attendance to form part of the quorum as happens in Audit Committee.

The paper was approved by the Board.

Robin Smith joined the meeting for item 12.


12. Major acquisition (confidential):
Paper BT/13/14C was approved by the Board.

Robin Smith left the meeting.


13. Draft minutes of Audit Committee of 12 August 2013:
CL introduced the minutes of Audit Committee and ran through various issues. The concern at a lack of a permanent full-time Head of Finance was highlighted, with a minimum qualification of Chartered Accountant required. DC agreed Head of Finance should be suitably qualified and the post will be advertised in next couple of weeks.


14. Draft Minutes of Staffing and Remuneration Committee of 6 August 2013:
MM introduced the minutes of a special Staffing and Remuneration meeting which was held to discuss progress with the new Pay and Grading process.

JU explained that the annual Trade Unions Side (TUS) meeting has taken place and TUS are unhappy with the length of time the Pay and Grading process has taken and that the appeal procedure is not clear and agreed.

DC explained that the working group now have a working model with 12 pay points and confirmed the TUS have been included in discussions on this. DC will send the market data to TUS. The date given to S and R of having the model agreed and proposal ready to go to staff is still 15 October 2013.

DC asked for confirmation that the S and R Committee continue to speak on behalf of the Board on Pay and Grading issues and JB confirmed this to be the case.


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

  • Discussions are at an advanced stage of internal room data agreement and NLS are awaiting Glasgow Life to sign.
  • Computer rendered interiors and interactive items from the Screen Archive Collection. Joint logos will be displayed in the main reception.
  • Roof lights have been capped. These will be re-opened to allow much more light in.
  • The Project Planning process was discussed and DM showed the Board where NLS staff are involved.
  • The current NLS situation is that Scottish Government have allocated £1.75m against a £3m budget. The HLF bid response is due on 24 September 2013.
  • Contracts are ready to be signed. Contracts will say NLS has no liabilities until we move in.
  • DM advised that approval would be sought by the Board at the November meeting to take the project further.
  • MB wanted further clarification on the finance commitment with DM explaining that some funding would come from the Capex budget. AMcK explained that Kelvinhall was a priority to the Scottish Government and therefore the Government will do more to provide additional funding if required.
  • JB asked that Lois Wolffe be invited to the November Board meeting.

Lorraine Fanning asked about Capex flexibility and would like this to go to Audit Committee. DC confirmed that this would be done via the Corporate Plan and RJ confirmed that procurement compliance is being handled through the compliance system and will be reported to Audit Committee.


16. Any other business:
There was no other business.


Date of next meeting:
16 December 2013.


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