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Room 404, National Library of Scotland, Lawnmarket Building
Present: James Boyle (Chair), Graham Caie, Lorraine Fannin, Charles Lovatt, Moira Methven, Neil McIntosh, Fiona Robertson, Noreen Adams, Dianne Haley.
In attendance: Duncan Campbell (Deputy Chief Executive), Darryl Mead (Deputy National Librarian), Richard Jones (Secretary to the Library), David Seers (Scottish Government representative), Andrew Martin (TUS Representative), Ailsa Carmichael (Faculty of Advocates Representative), Layla Smith (minutes).
Apologies: Richard Parsons, Adrienne Scullion, Melissa Terras, Jonathan Lake, Simon Learoyd.
Minutes of meeting
Welcome and opening comments
JB welcomed all attendees to the meeting and offered his congratulations to CL on his recent wedding.
As noted above.
2. Declaration of interests:
No declarations were made.
3. Minutes of meeting of 24 February
The minutes were approved as a correct record of the meeting.
4. Actions outstanding and matters arising from meeting
of 24 February 2014:
The outstanding actions were updated.
5. Corporate Plan and budget 2014-2015:
Koen Van der Straeten, Planning Officer, Alistair Duncan, Interim Head of Finance, and Anthony Gillespie, Head of Finance, joined the meeting.
JB noted the Board's thanks to AD for all of his work as interim Head of Finance.
All Board members were asked for their views and comments on the Corporate Plan and budget. SL and MT had submitted comments via email.
SL had queried in writing how the plan related to the organisational KPIs and also the size of the budget contingencies.
AD replied that he believed the current contingency was appropriate and adequate – there was a history of not having to use these in in previous years. In addition, there was a good likelihood of budget underspends across certain budget areas. If required, these under-spends could then be made available or transferred to allow an increased contingency. This will be kept under review during the year.
MT had raised questions about the crowdsourcing budget and also wireless internet access both of which DM advised were under consideration and which he would discuss directly with MT to alleviate any further concerns.
The discussion raised a number of points which the Board members wished to see considered:
- Prioritisation was requested of the objectives listed on p28 but also throughout the document.
- Regular updates were requested for the Board - possibly at the April and November meetings.
- Clarity was required about departmental expenditure and where there is projected change from previous years
- Shared Services project: the Board would like to see quantification of the benefits of this project.
All agreed it would be beneficial for the Board to have a full Away Day prior to the finalisation of the next plan to allow members to consider it in depth along with the Chief Executive and senior management team.
The Corporate Plan and Budget were approved.
KVdS departed the meeting.
6. Gift to NLS Foundation:
A volunteer was required from the NLS Board to sit on the Board of the Foundation. JB requested that all please consider their availability for this role.
JB tabled the Board's thanks to AD for the full and comprehensive papers provided.
SL had provided comment via email and noted three potential risks: that NLS might not access the funding when it had a pressing need, that the Foundation unwisely invest the gift, and finally that the Foundation refuse to release funding.
The Board discussed both the paper and the comments made and it was agreed that there was a need to ensure that the relationship between the Library and the Foundation was robust with clear communication channels and good understanding through social relationships.
It was noted that the Memorandum of Understanding was still in draft and all were asked to consider this and provide any comments or views. This had been submitted to the Board of the Foundation in its current format also for consideration and comment. AD advised that the intention was to collate all comments and table the finalised version at the June meeting of this Board.
JB once again tabled thanks to AD both for all of his assistance during his term as interim Head of Finance and for the work done regarding the Foundation.
The gift to the Foundation was approved.
AD and AG depart the meeting.
7. Committee structure and membership:
GC thanked all those who had responded to his information request and outlined the present committee structure. It was proposed to continue with the structure as it stood with three committees but to include three new short term working groups.
There was some discussion as to whether there was a need to include a separate finance committee but the argument presented by DH led members to conclude that, given the size of the organisation, this was not necessary and that a single Audit and Finance committee would be suitable, although it was felt that a further review of the committee structure would be beneficial early in 2015 and that any working groups established should be done so with end dates in place.
The committee structure was approved.
8. Causewayside Project:
JB advised the Board that the information provided regarding this project was considerable and in much greater detail than would usually be provided to the Board on projects. There was considerable discussion regarding both the project and the documentation provided.
It was agreed that greater clarity and proper timing was required in the presentation of future projects. Full assurances had to be available to the Board in relation to spend and governance structure.
JB tabled the Board's thanks to the Audit Committee and to the outgoing committee chair CL for all the work that they had undertaken in relation to this project.
9. Strategy 2014-2030:
Koen Van der Straeten re-joined the meeting.
The Board were asked for comment and views on the strategy documentation provided and the following points were raised:
The dates of 2025 and 2035 were considered to be too far in the future and it was agreed to remove the 2035 date.
The term creative hub was queried as it was considered a rather nebulous concept.
There was felt to be a lack of specifics, priorities and timescales.
It was agreed that the strategy and the corporate plan should be considered together going forward to ensure that both were fully integrated. To assist with further development it was agreed that the Board would be asked to comment on some of the yes/no questions used in the initial planning stages and it was agreed that these would be circulated.
Thanks were tabled to KVdS for all the work that had been carried out on this.
The strategy was approved with the amendment noted above.
10. Draft Minutes of Audit Committee 3 March
The minutes were approved as an accurate record of the meeting.
11. Draft minutes of Staffing and Remuneration Committee
5 March 2014:
The minutes were approved as an accurate record of the meeting.
12. Any other business:
There was a confidential Board update provided by MM and DC on the staff Pay and Grading process and its rollout.
Date of next meeting:
28 April 2014.