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Boardroom, George IV Bridge, National Library of Scotland.
Present: James Boyle (Chair) (JB), Neil McIntosh (NMc), Noreen Adams (NA), Helen Durndell (HD), Simon Learoyd (SL), Iain Marley (IM), Carmel Teusner (CT) and Amina Shah (ASh).
In attendance: John Scally (National Librarian) (JS), Anthony Gillespie (Head of Finance and Planning) (AG), Alex Miller (Head of External Relations and Governance) (AM), Robin Smith (Head of Collections and Research) (RS), Mike Galloway (Health and Safety Manager — item 12) (MG), Linda MacMillan (Capital Projects Programme Manager — item 15) (LMac), Jan Usher (TUS Representative) (JU), Helen Jackson (Board Support and Compliance Officer – minutes) (HJ) and Mungo Bovey QC (Faculty of Advocates) (MB).
Minutes of meeting
The meeting opened with a Digital Map Service presentation by Chris Fleet, Map Curator.
1. Chair's welcome:
The Chair welcomed members to the meeting, and Helen Jackson (HJ) to her first Board meeting, and expressed thanks for Chris Fleet's presentation.
The Chair noted past Board member Moira Methven had been awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours. He would write, on behalf of the Board, to congratulate Moira. JS would also send congratulations.
2. Apologies for absence:
Apologies were received and noted from Fiona Robertson, Dianne Haley, W Shields Henderson, Adrienne Scullion and Melissa Terras.
3. Declaration of interests:
The Chair requested any declarations be made at the appropriate point in the agenda.
4. Minutes of meeting of 21 March 2016:
The minutes were approved as an accurate record.
5. Actions outstanding and matters arising from previous
It was noted that the actions had all been completed, with the following comment:
- 04.11.15 Item 5: Ownership of the Agency for Legal Deposit Libraries (ALDL). This was completed on 22 March 2016, not delayed to June as noted.
6. National Librarian and Chief Executive's
JS spoke to his report, paper BM/16/22 and invited discussion:
- The issue of IT Shared Services was discussed. IM asked whether a service level agreement for back-ups included penalties. AG confirmed there were no penalties under the current arrangements
- AM noted the Photographic Conservation Internship attracted 50 applications. Five candidates had been shortlisted and would be interviewed on 30 June
- SL and CT offered to provide advice on the Library Business Service. HJ to refer SL and CT to John Coll, Library Head of Access
- NA congratulated Alexandra De Pretto on her XML qualification and commended the Library for training staff in these valuable skills. JB would write, on behalf of the Board, to Alexandra
- ASh commented that of the five female Scottish writers whose work had been selected for digitisation, three appeared to have been qualified by praise from or links to men. The Library noted this point for external communications about the project
- JB praised the Plague! exhibition as an outstanding piece of work. He would write, on behalf of the Board, to the staff responsible
- NMc commended the Librarian's Report, to general agreement. He suggested it should go to the Minister. JS would raise this at his meeting with the Scottish Government on 21 June 2016
- MB raised a current issue with online backup for the Advocates' Library, related to problems with e-legal deposit. JS noted the point and said the Library was working to resolve it.
Post-meeting note: Access to the majority of non-print legal deposit was restored on 20 June 2016 by 16.30.
Anthony Gillespie (AG), Alex Miller (AM), and Robin Smith (RS) withdrew from the meeting for Item 7.
7. Organisational Review Phase II:
JS presented paper BM/16/23 and invited feedback.
- The Board Staffing and Remuneration (S and R) Committee had
considered the paper in detail. It was noted that:
- LLT and the Review Steering Group had been consulted and had approved the paper's proposals
- Closing the Organisational Review in advance of the Voluntary Early Exit (VEE) scheme was important
- S and R Committee supported the proposed organisational structure
- S and R Committee supported early conclusion of the formal Organisation Review
- S and R Committee supported creation of the post of Associate Director of Business Support.
- SL asked about the Library's confidence in the Heads of Departments, especially AG who had a broad remit. JS confirmed his total confidence
- SL questioned whether roles lost through the VEE could be replaced. JS stated they could not as direct replacements
- NA observed librarianship was a female-dominated profession. The top levels of the new structure did not fully reflect this. JS confirmed this was considered during the Organisational Review. He noted the recently appointed HR Manager was female, as was the interim Head of Digital
- MB queried who would stand in for the National Librarian when absent, whether short- or long-term. JS outlined the current procedure: AG would act up, working with the senior management team. This procedure would be reviewed over the next 12 months and brought back to the Board if it needed amending
- Succession planning was discussed. The positive benefits of developing staff skills were noted: both equipping the team to be able to respond to future demands, and building individual staff members' confidence so they could move on as well as up or indeed excel in their existing roles.
The Board agreed the recommended organisational structure and approved concluding the formal Organisational Review at the end of June, two months earlier than planned.
Anthony Gillespie (AG), Alex Miller (AM), and Robin Smith (RS) re-joined the meeting.
8. Loan agreement:
Both loans were approved.
9. Corporate Plan 2015/16 progress:
JB introduced the paper, BM/16/25, noting that 85% of Corporate Plan targets were met, with the other 15% being rescheduled, mostly due to external factors.
- ASh asked about areas for improvement identified in the People Survey. AG confirmed an action plan including training across the Library was being introduced. JS noted this had been discussed in detail by the S and R Committee. It was agreed there would be no requirement to bring the action plan to the Board
- It was confirmed that the lack of owners for Objective 11 in Appendix A was a typo: the responsible person was Robin Smith
- JB asked if the Research Working Group could convene virtually. RS confirmed it had been doing so
- IM queried the lack of targets for Indicators 1.1, 2.2 and 6.2
in Appendix C
- 1.1 was supply driven: it was dependent on the volume of works published. A target was not appropriate. LLT would consider expressing this indicator differently and explore whether a significant measure could be found
- There was a 2016/17 target for both 2.2 and 6.2.
- IM asked if Indicator 7.3 had been re-baselined. AG confirmed it had for 2016/17
- CT noted it would have been interesting to see 2016/17 targets on the dashboard. AG to include 2017/18 targets in the 2016/17 final report
- NA requested briefing papers on Sound Scotland for the September Board meeting. RS to provide. HJ to add to agenda
- CT observed the events target (Indicator 5.2) focused on the number of events, not the number of attendees or cost per attendee. This could be considered for the 2017/18 target
- CT asked if a breakdown of the fundraising monies could be provided. AG confirmed it was available and typically went to the Board Audit Committee. He would make 2015/16 information available on Huddle for all Board members
- ASh asked if there should be a target related to outcomes and impact, relating e.g. reading room visits to the Library Strategy and the Scottish Government's strategic objectives. AG noted this data tended to be qualitative rather than quantitative, and would be included in the Library's Annual Report.
10. Kelvin Hall transition:
RS spoke to paper BM/16/26. The opening hours were discussed in detail. RS confirmed:
- The proposed pattern had been developed after consultation with three focus groups: students, the public, and academic users
- The usage patterns would be considered after the building opened. The agreed partner survey at 12 months would provide further detail
- Flexibility had been built in to both the partner agreement and staff contracts
- The other heritage facilities in the building had no public offer in Phase I
- Users would still be visiting outside the public opening hours e.g. schools and community groups.
It was agreed the opening hours provided a reasonable starting point and would be evaluated after opening. JB concluded by noting all activities for a successful transition were on track.
11. Update on Staffing and Remuneration Committee
meeting of 8 June 2016:
NMc provided a verbal update, noting in particular:
- The action following the People Survey had been very positive, especially in relation to bullying and harassment. 93% of the staff had attended workshops
- Malcolm Pendreigh, Head of Agency for Legal Deposit Libraries (ALDL), spoke about his recent work on internal communications in the Library
- The Annual Staff Report included strong results in areas such as absence, cost of agency staff and staff turnover. HJ to post the Report to Huddle for Board members
- No TUS meeting had been held before S and R Committee because of illness.
Mike Galloway (MG) joined the meeting.
12. Health and Safety Report/Business
MG spoke to paper BM/16/27 and responded to questions:
- There had been a decrease in accidents, with no reason to believe there was under-reporting
- The new policy covering Wellbeing in addition to Health and Safety had been signed off by the National Librarian
- The two teams with Estates salvage plans would work together
- MG had no concerns about under-resourcing, training or senior management in relation to Health and Safety
- There were two separate plans for Kelvinhall and Kirkintilloch
- The take-up for medical/fitness assessments was 30-40 staff members. As expected, this was lower than the first phase of the programme, which included free gym membership and was taken up by approx. 150 staff members
- When the Library had been involved with the Healthy Working Lives initiative, it had achieved the Silver Award
- The proposed defibrillator to be sited in George IV Bridge building would provide verbal instruction and could be used without training. Staff would be trained in CPR.
Mike Galloway (MG) left the meeting.
13. Draft minutes from the Audit Committee of 16 May
SL spoke to paper BM/16/28 and highlighted:
- The Internal Audit Report was discussed in detail by the Audit Committee. It concluded that the framework was appropriate and operated as it should
- Internal Audit had been carried out by an external contractor, on a 12 month trial basis. Audit Committee agreed this was an improvement on carrying out this work internally. The contractor had been reappointed, after a full procurement and tender process, for three years.
In response to questions SL noted:
- Paul Dollman, a co-opted member of the Audit Committee, provided good input and experience and should be retained. JB would write, on behalf of the Board, to thank Paul. HJ would ensure Paul was included in events invitations.
14. Annual Treasury Management Report:
AG spoke to paper BM/16/29. The subsequent discussion noted:
- It was agreed this report would be taken to Audit Committee for discussion in future years before it was brought to the Board. HJ would amend the Scheme of Delegation and add to the Audit Committee agenda planner
- AG confirmed the portion of the Endowments retained by the Library was invested and had achieved a return of 0.5%
- AG confirmed there was often limited activity on some of the smaller endowments. Any unused income from an endowment was reinvested back into that endowment.
Linda MacMillan (LMac) joined the meeting.
15. Capital Projects Dashboard Report:
JB thanked LMac for paper BM/16/30 and invited questions.
- LMac confirmed the Library planned to occupy the building on 29 July 2016. The move would be in three phases. If any delays occurred the staff move could be held back to the third phase
- IM asked whether delays in the building contract would affect quality. LMac confirmed they would not. The Library's area was at the back of the building and had been complete for some time
- IM questioned whether the delays were affecting the fit-out. LMac confirmed they were not
- IM asked if LMac had any concerns about site security. She confirmed she did not
- AG noted Glasgow City Council had now firmed up some of the unknown costs and the project was still looking to come in under budget. LMac confirmed only one unknown cost remained.
- JB asked if the sub-roof was waterproof. LMac confirmed it was, with the exception of a few points of ingress at junctions. This was not affecting anything significant. The Contractor would make good any damage to internal finishes
- LMac confirmed the main Contractor had put the roofing sub-contract out to tender. Further information was expected mid-July
- LMac confirmed all cost risk relating to the roofing sub-contract was held by the Contractor. The work was not currently on the critical path.
Linda MacMillan (LMac) left the meeting.
16. Quarterly Finance reports Q4/Finance
AG spoke to paper BM/16/31, outlined the contents of the report, and responded to questions:
- JS confirmed the under-spend on corporate subscriptions followed an internal discussion and agreement to delete some subscriptions. Curatorial subscriptions were not affected
- AG confirmed the Annual Accounts would come to the Board in September, following discussion at Audit Committee in August
- SL commended the Library management team for managing the finances successfully this year, especially given the reduced budget
- CT asked if there was a guideline percentage for NDPB reserves. AG confirmed the Scottish Government expected zero/low reserves.
17. NLS Foundation update:
HD spoke to paper BM/16/32 and noted:
- The Foundation's February 2016 meeting was postponed to April 2016
- The Foundation would welcome interesting applications from Library staff relating to e.g. Kelvin Hall
- Michael Anderson planned to step down as Foundation Chair.
Post-meeting note: the procedure for appointing a new Chair, as set out in the NLS Foundation's Memorandum and Articles of Association, is that the Trustees elect a Chair. The Chair is required to be a Trustee.
18. Date of next meeting:
26 September 2016.