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Boardroom, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.
Present: Kenneth Calman (Chair — KC), Helen Durndell (Vice Chair — HD), Simon Learoyd (Vice Chair — SL), Elizabeth Carmichael (EC), Ruth Crawford QC (RC), Dianne Haley (DH), Alan Horn (AH), Lesley McPherson (LMcP), Adrienne Scullion (AS), Amina Shah (ASh), Melissa Terras (MT), Robert Wallen (RW).
In attendance: Matt Jackson QC, Faculty of Advocates (MJ), John Scally (National Librarian — JS), Anthony Gillespie (Director of Business Support — AG), Jackie Cromarty (Associate Director of External Relations — JCr), Susanne Munro (TUS Representative — SM) and Kathy Hutton (Board Support and Compliance Officer — KH — minutes).
Minutes of meeting
The meeting opened with a presentation by Rachel Dishington and Chris Fleet on 'Creating the Stevenson map web resource', a collaborative project with The University of Edinburgh. The project's aim is to develop an online zoomable map-based finding aid that will enable readers to research Stevenson materials more easily. This also furthers the Library's aims of improving access to and promoting engagement with collections while extending the Library's online resources.
The Board agreed this was a good example of a collaborative project. The Chair thanked Rachel Dishington and Chris Fleet for the informative presentation and both left the meeting.
1. Chair's welcome:
The Chair welcomed all to the meeting.
2. Apologies for absence:
Apologies were received from Noreen Adams and Iain Marley.
3. Declaration of interests:
The Chair requested any declarations be made at the appropriate time in the agenda.
4. Minutes of the meeting of 26 June 2019
The Board approved the minutes (BM/19/33).
The Chair encouraged Board members to input any suggestions for an alternative phrase to 'reaching people' included in the draft 2020-2025 strategy.
5. Actions outstanding and matters arising from previous meetings
The Board noted actions were complete or ongoing (BM/19/35).
The Chair requested an action be noted for the Chairs of the three sub-committees to meet once or twice a year.
6. Draft minutes, Governance Committee, 29 August 2019
The Board noted the minutes (BM/19/36).
7. Draft minutes, S&R Committee, 21 June 2019
The Board noted the minutes (BM/19/37).
8. Draft minutes, Audit Committee, 12 August 2019
The Board noted the minutes (BM/19/38).
RW queried the position on the 'Title' over the George IV Bridge and Sighthill buildings. (RC and MJ declared an interest as members of the Faculty of Advocates in relation to George IV Bridge.) AG advised this is under review with the Audit Committee (AC) as a result of the external auditors raising this during the recent external audit.
9. National Librarian's Report
JS introduced paper BM/19/39 highlighting that the report is intended to demonstrate the impact of the Library, complementing the empirical data provided to the Board.
- Recent items uncovered and digitised as part of the 'Gaelic An Comunn' imaging programme demonstrates effective synchronisation between the Hidden Collections and One Third Digital programmes.
- Recent installation of the Book2Net 'Dragon' digitisation system at George IV Bridge will allow imagery for fragile and rare materials to be captured safely and quickly.
- Launch of the Data Foundry website through which the Library publishes its collections as data is the start of opening up the collections to a new and emerging form of research.
- Acquisition of vintage home shopping catalogues from the 1980s such as Kays provide insight into what people wore and owned during that time period.
- Three very successful public events to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Don Juan by Lord Byron.
- Two new Library internships — Google Arts and Culture and Usability. These are the first of their kind for the Library and the output from both interns is eagerly awaited.
- In relation to Collection Protection, JS advised the Audit Committee receive regular updates. The Library's SG sponsor group are aware a business case will be presented to them and of the timeline for this.
LMcP queried if there was opportunity to share the Librarian's report much more widely as it provides an extensive amount of information on the Library's work. JS advised it is shared wider than the Board papers, for example on the website and for presentations by staff. JCr undertook to look at further opportunities to use the content, particularly more extensively online.
ASh suggested it may be useful to articulate more externally why items such as Kays catalogues are acquired including how they are used, made available and their historical value.
The Chair thanked JS for an interesting and varied report. The Board noted the report.
10. Library Plan Update 2019/20 — Q1
JS introduced paper BM/19/40 highlighting that 49 of the 52 targets (94 per cent) are on schedule to be met. Two targets have been assessed as 'Amber' but should still be achieved during the planning year.
- JS advised the digitisation target of 200 thousand items is unlikely to be met during 2019/20 as the commercial map digitisation contract has ended. The Board noted this is a 10-year programme and plans are in place to increase the digitisation rate.
- AG advised one target at amber (retro-converting the manual music catalogues) is anticipated to revert to green once the current tender process for this work is complete.
- AG reported that two Key Performance Indicators are assessed as Amber. For one, a recalculation of the percentage reduction in hidden collections has resulted in the overall percentage being reduced however, plans are in place to get this target back on track later in the year.
The Chair thanked JS and AG for their input and the Board noted the report.
11. Annual Report and Financial Statements 2018/2019
AG summarised paper BM/19/41 and advised the Board that Audit Scotland plan to issue an unqualified audit opinion.
- SL reported that the Audit Committee had discussed the question of 'going concern' at its recent meeting. Having reviewed the plans and resources available to the Library, the Audit Committee believe they are sufficient to enable the Library to deliver its plans and meet is liabilities as they fall due over the next 18 months and, as such, it could confirm that it is a 'going concern'.
In response to questions from Board members, AG confirmed:
- George IV Bridge and Sighthill are included in the land and buildings valuation under tangible assets — this is an acceptable accounting approach
- The recommendation by Audit Scotland brought forward from last year to set a clear target date for achievement of Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation is part of the Library Plan. Completion is forecast for March 2020 and progress on this is monitored by the Audit Committee.
Following discussion, the Board noted the Annual Audit Report from Audit Scotland and approved signing of the Letter of Representation and Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2018/19.
12. Scottish Government Framework Document
JCr provided an overview of paper BM/19/42 and confirmed the Framework document had been reviewed by the Governance Committee who recommended approval to the Board.
- KC requested the Board consider how to increase Board diversity, especially around involving young people. It was agreed to add this as a future agenda item.
The Board noted it was very positive to see gender neutral language now being routinely employed by the Library. The Board approved signing of the Framework document.
13. Quarter 1 Finance Report 2019/2020
AG summarised paper BM/19/43.
- AG advised notwithstanding the issues with increased employer pension contribution costs, the Library has made a solid start to the 2019/20 financial year.
- AG reported the SG has confirmed the Library will receive 92 per cent of the additional pension contribution costs.
The Chair thanked AG for the update. The Board noted the report.
14. Proposed collaboration with University of Aberdeen and Aberdeen City Libraries
JS provided a verbal update reporting that the Library has been advised the Aberdeen partnership opportunity had now been split into two phases. The Library will continue discussions around involvement in phase two which is intended to extend the project to the local community.
The Board agreed establishing a presence outwith the central belt was important and noted that JS would provide updates as the Library worked through the process.
The Chair thanked JS for the update.
Janet Stewart (Head of HR — JSt) joined the meeting.
15. Engagement through Work — Volunteering
JSt provided a summary of paper BM/19/44 and answered questions from the Board:
- There are projects where the criteria for receipt of funding requires the involvement of volunteers, for example Scotland's Sounds project.
- The new policy has undergone extensive consultation and review. JSt would check that the 'Investors in Volunteers' accreditation framework had been considered as part of this review.
The Board agreed it would be beneficial to see more articles on volunteer engagement in the National Librarian's report, recognising their impact on the organisation. It was also agreed it would be useful to see a specific section on this within the next Annual Report. The Board noted the report.
Janet Stewart left the meeting.
16. Governance documents and Code of Conduct
JCr provided an overview of the governance documents for review within paper BM/19/45.
- Scheme of Administration: The Board agreed the addition of 'appraisals' to Associate Directors' responsibilities would make this responsibility more explicit, albeit they are carried out as part of the overall 'Forward Job Plan' process.
- The Chair thanked JCr and the Board noted the revised Standing Orders, Scheme of Delegation and Scheme of Administration. The Board noted the Code of Conduct would be retained as there had been no change to the SG's Model Code of Conduct which the Library's Code followed.
17. Board self-appraisal
JCr summarised paper BM/19/46 and advised the next Board self-appraisal survey would be carried out during November/December 2019.
- JCr confirmed that before issuing, the survey method used would be checked to ensure it was GDPR compliant.
- It was agreed to expand abbreviations to the full title, such as LLT to read Library Leadership Team.
The Board noted the report.
18. Health & Safety report
JCr provide an overview of paper BM/19/47. One minor accident and two incidents had been reported in the year to date and mitigating actions were being put in place as appropriate.
- JCr advised the Library had recently undergone an independent review of health and safety by the British Safety Council. A report is expected shortly however, the verbal indication given was that life safety risks are all at a satisfactory level.
- JCr undertook to confirm the health and safety reporting arrangements at Kelvin Hall which is managed by Glasgow Life.
The Board noted the report.
19. Date of next meeting
Wednesday 27 November 2019.