PDF version (1.2MB; 6 pages)
Boardroom, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.
Present: Kenneth Calman (Chair — KC), Helen Durndell (Vice Chair — HD), Noreen Adams (NA), Elizabeth Carmichael (EC), Ruth Crawford QC (RC), Dianne Haley (DM), Alan Horn (AH), Lesley McPherson (LMcP), Iain Marley (IM), Adrienne Scullion (AS), Melissa Terras (MT), and Robert Wallen (RW).
In attendance: John Scally (National Librarian — JS), Anthony Gillespie (Associate Director of Business Support — AG), Jackie Cromarty (Interim Associate Director of External Relations and Governance — 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 Graeme Hawley (GH), Head of General Collections, entitled 'Revealing the 1980s: how to present 2.9 million publications'. GH advised this looks at the 1980s time period in its entirety using this extraordinarily diverse dataset of items. It is intended to encourage people to think about our collections in a different way.
The Back to the Future (1979-1989) website includes essays written about key events of the decade as well as a 'Watch and Listen' section with vintage 1980s videos selected from the Moving Image Archive. The purpose built website is an innovative approach which moves the Library into commentary as well as being versatile in content and lifespan. It will feature around 18 guest contributors, with Kate Adie having already written a piece.
NA commented, with the moving image content included, it was a positive move forward and felt like the first collection providing 360 degree representation of the different type of Library collections. IM queried if those accessing the new website were then moving to access other Library content. GH undertook to investigate this.
The Chair thanked Graeme Hawley for the informative presentation. Graeme Hawley left the meeting.
1. Chair's welcome:
The Chair welcomed all to the meeting.
2. Apologies for absence:
Apologies for absence were received and noted from Simon Learoyd, Amina Shah and Melissa Terras.
3. Declaration of interests:
The Chair requested any declarations be made at the appropriate time in the agenda.
4. Minutes of the meeting of 27 March 2019
The Board approved the minutes (BM/19/17).
5. Actions outstanding and matters arising from previous meetings
The Board noted actions were complete or ongoing (BM/19/18).
The Chair advised Alan Horn has now joined the S&R Committee and that there are also places available on the Governance and Audit Committees for other new Board members to consider.
The Chair advised he planned to meet the recently appointed Board members and asked KH to organise.
6. Draft minutes, S&R Committee, 1 April 2019
The Board noted the minutes (BM/19/19).
7. Approved minutes, Audit Committee, 11 and 18 February 2019, 25 March 2019 and draft minutes 13 May 2019
The Board noted the minutes (BM/19/20, BM/19/21, BM/19/22 and BM/19/23).
DH provided a brief update on behalf of Simon Learoyd, Audit Committee Chair. BDO LLP have been appointed as the Library's new internal auditors on an initial three year term. The August Audit Committee meeting will receive a fire protection update and will also be scrutinising the Annual Accounts and Report before they are presented to the September Board meeting for approval.
8. NLS Foundation — Approved minutes from 12 February 2019 and draft minutes from 15 May 2019
The Board noted the minutes (BM/19/24).
9. National Librarian and Chief Executive's Report
JS introduced paper BM/19/25. The report is intended as a 'window' into the Library highlighting the impact of the organisation whilst complementing the empirical data provided to the Board.
- JS reported that the Library continues to make good progress in digitisation and has exceeded the 2018/19 target of 200,000 items. 78 per cent of single-sheet maps of Scotland held by the Library have now been digitised.
- JS advised new initiatives are continuing to be introduced to establish the Library's social media presence as a place to have a conversation with a wider audience. As an example, the recent '#noncreepypeepy' thread recorded our highest ever figure for Instagram. Google Arts and Culture is also an example of using other social media channels to showcase the Library's digital resources to a wider audience.
- Fiona Laing, Curator of Official Publications, recently won the CILIPS Library and Information Professional of the Year Award. On behalf of the Board, the Chair asked for congratulations to be extended to Fiona Laing.
- DH queried how the Library recorded volunteers' input. JS advised volunteer numbers are regularly reported to the S&R Committee and undertook to also provide this information at the next Board meeting.
The Chair thanked JS for an interesting and varied report. The Board noted the report is published on the Library's website and this provides greater visibility of the Library's work.
10. Library Plan Update — Q4/Year-End
JS introduced paper BM/19/26.
- JS reported that, since the current system of reporting was established, all key indicators have been met in the period. 82 per cent of objectives have also been met by year-end with good progress made on a further 10 per cent of the targets.
- JS advised there was an upswing in fundraising income with the total for the year amounting to £405k.
- JS reported that scoping works had been undertaken for a large newspaper digitisation project across Scotland and the Board would be updated on this over the coming year. It is anticipated this will form part of the forthcoming centenary activity.
- AG reported that, although staff absence has increased, this is mainly due to two areas where there has been long term absence due to planned operations. AG advised there had been no staff work stress related absences in the last two quarters.
- In response to a query from RC, AG advised the leadership team are investigating the tail-off in the rate of web traffic growth, emphasising that the traffic is still increasing albeit at a slower rate. This may in part be related to how genealogy websites now access the Library's data in a way that does not use the actual website.
- IM queried whether there is an opportunity to further leverage websites that reference us, such as a link to the Library's website. AG confirmed any opportunity for this is being reviewed.
- In response to a request from LMcP, AG advised Stuart Lewis would review adding additional web analytics to future reports, such as showing where web traffic is coming from.
The Chair thanked JS and AG for their input and noted the report.
11. Proposed collaboration with University of Aberdeen and Aberdeen City Libraries
JS introduced paper BM/19/27.
- JS reported that the paper provides the existing status of the proposed collaboration following discussions with the University of Aberdeen and Aberdeen City Libraries over the last few months. The collaboration is an opportunity to provide the Library with its first presence in the Aberdeen area.
- JS advised that, over the summer months, John Coll (Associate Director of Access) will undertake the necessary due diligence, including governance between the different parties as well as firming up costs.
- JS advised this is an opportunity for the Library to offer a facility to the community at relatively low cost. It is planned to present a proposal paper for approval, including costs, to the September Board meeting.
- AS suggested it may be useful for a future Board Research Advisory Group meeting to be held in Aberdeen to help further embed the Library's presence in the area.
- The Board thanked JS for the update and approved the next step of progressing discussions while conducting the due diligence. The Board agreed the collaboration would be a good cultural addition for the Aberdeen area and a positive step towards engaging the community in the area.
12. Risk update
AG introduced paper BM/19/28.
- AG advised the Risk Management Policy & Appetite was presented to the Audit Committee in May where a number of changes were proposed for Board consideration.
- 'S6 — Capital Projects are not delivered successfully within agreed parameters': to move this risk from Low to Low/Medium risk as it was felt this better reflects the inherent risk in any capital project.
- 'S3 — Failure to comply with legal and statutory requirements' and 'S8 — Duty of Care': to retain these at 'Low' risk with the clarification that there is minimal appetite for any health & safety risk.
At the last Audit Committee meeting, it was also agreed that the undernoted be incorporated into the Strategic Risk Register.
- 'S1 — Significant loss or damage to the collections': Given the results of the recent fire protection studies and the formulation of work plans, it was agreed to move the net risk score associated with this risk from Low to Low/Medium. This was agreed on the basis that there is a work plan in place to identify and address any required fire protection works and that implementation of the required works should then bring the net risk back within the acceptable level.
- NA asked if the Audit Committee could consider whether risk tolerance conditions may differ between digital only and physical collections. AG undertook to raise this when the Audit Committee next reviewed the Strategic Risk Register.
The Chair thanked AG for his report and noted the Audit Committee would continue to review the Strategic Risk Register on behalf of the Board, reporting back to the Board as necessary.
The Board approved the revised Risk Management Policy and Appetite and noted the proposed change to, and status of, the Strategic Risk Register.
13. Quarterly finance report to end March 2019
AG introduced paper BM/19/29.
- AG provided an overview of the current position at the end of the 2018/19 financial year, as detailed in the appendices to the paper. AG confirmed that, in overall terms, this is a satisfactory position for the Library at the end of 2018/19. No material changes are anticipated before the accounts are finalised.
- AG reported that, subsequent to issuing of the Board papers, a verbal update had been received from the Scottish Government (SG) on funding of the increased pension costs. There is a suggestion that approximately 70 per cent of the extra costs will be covered by the SG which leaves £165k unfunded for 2019/20 and beyond. This is a major topic of discussion for the Library Leadership Team and savings initiatives are being investigated.
- AG advised discussions are ongoing with the SG to try to secure more funding to cover the increased costs to the Library. This involves a joint letter from the Chairs of the Galleries, Museums and Library to the Cabinet Secretary. AG further advised, dependent on what level of increased cost the Library may need to bear, the budget may require mid-year review to identify and put in place any possible cost saving initiatives promptly.
The Chair thanked AG for the update. The Board noted the report and that it may require to consider revised budget proposals at either the September or November Board meetings. The Board agreed the importance of maintaining close oversight on funding.
14. Strategy 2020-2025 update
JS provided a verbal update
- JS advised that, following extensive discussion at the February Board 'Away Day', the Library Leadership Team will continue to work through the context of themes over the coming months.
- JS reported that a recent Management Forum had provided valuable input including querying what was meant by one of the themes of 'reaching people'. Any input from Board members on a different phrase to capture this theme would be welcome.
- JS further advised that different levels of consultation are underway, or proposed, including internal staff consultation and a possible Board members/staff group. External/public consultation will also take place later this year.
- It is proposed to review the new strategy at the Board 'Away Day' in February 2020 with the launch in June 2020.
The Chair thanked JS for the update. The Board agreed it is an important period as the Library formulates how it will continue to evolve and how this will be funded.
15. GB Reimagined feasibility study update
AG provided a verbal update.
- AG advised the project is now in its procurement planning phase, including appointing internal key personnel and developing a project brief.
- Due to the level of expenditure for the feasibility study, this will be a regulated procurement with defined procedures. The procurement strategy will shortly be shared with the Audit Committee for their feedback. Following Audit Committee feedback, tender documents will be issued with tender responses received end September. Thereafter, the contract is expected to begin in December finishing in June 2020, followed by development of an Outline Business Case.
The Chair thanked AG for the update and asked for the Board to be kept updated as necessary.
16. Health and safety report
JCr introduced paper BM/19/30.
- JCr reported that one additional accident had been reported since the March Board meeting, making 11 accidents/incidents in total for the period 2018/19. The increase is likely to be the result of an increased focus on making staff aware of the need to report all accidents/incidents.
- JCr advised that an automated visitor/contractor management system is presently being piloted which will provide enhanced tracking of these groups across the various buildings.
- JCr reported that the recent 'Health at Work Week' at the end of May was well supported by staff and had culminated in a well-attended health fair.
- RW queried whether the Edinburgh City Council's initiative for a 'more people friendly city' would have any impact on the Library. JS advised this should have a positive outcome for the Library as the proposals suggest more footfall on George IV Bridge and less vehicle traffic; this is being taken account of in the GB Reimagined review.
The Chair thanked JCr and the Board noted the report.
17. Any Other Business
AS advised that she felt the Northern Lights, the Scottish Enlightenment, exhibition was well presented however, after reviewing the exhibition and website there appeared to be a gender imbalance with women of the time not more represented. JS advised the planned events programme associated with the exhibition was intended as the forum to discuss the role of women in this era much more prominently.
18. Date of next meeting
Wednesday 25 September 2019