PDF version (71 KB; 7 pages)
Boardroom, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.
Present: Kenneth Calman (Chair — KC), Ruth Crawford (RC), Helen Durndell (HD), Dianne Haley (DH), Simon Learoyd (SL), Iain Marley (IM), Neil McIntosh (NMc), Adrienne Scullion (AS), Amina Shah (ASh), Melissa Terras (MT), and Carmel Teusner (CT).
In attendance: John Scally (National Librarian — JS), Anthony Gillespie (Associate Director of Business Support — AG), Jackie Cromarty (Associate Director of External Relations and Governance — JCr), Mungo Bovey, (Faculty of Advocates — MB), Susanne Munro (TUS Representative — SM), and Colin Wright (Board Support and Compliance Officer — CW) (minutes). Part-time: John Coll (Associate Director of Access — JC), Robin Smith (Associate Director of Collections and Research — RS).
Minutes of meeting
The meeting opened with a well-received presentation by Helen Vincent on Scottish Bibliographies. Helen responded to questions from members and was thanked for her presentation.
1. Chair's welcome:
KC welcomed members to the meeting.
2. Apologies for absence:
Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Fiona Robertson (Vice-Chair — FR) and Noreen Adams (NA).
3. Declaration of interests:
KC requested any declarations be made at the appropriate point in the agenda.
4. Minutes of meeting and confidential minutes of 26 September 2018
The Board approved the minutes (BM/18/50).
5. Actions outstanding and matters arising from previous meetings
The Board noted that all actions were complete or ongoing.
6. Draft minutes from S&R Committee, 7 November 2018
The Board noted the minutes (BM/18/52).
- NM highlighted the main issues from the agenda, including the Annual Review of Succession Planning and the Performance Management of the National Librarian. The Committee were satisfied that clear and proper processes were in place for these.
- A brief discussion took place regarding the Kelvin Hall review and whether Board members were fully apprised of all matters relating to the situation there. The Librarian assured members that an action plan had been implemented to address the issues highlighted and that much had been learned from the consultation process.
7. Draft minutes from Governance Committee, 14 September 2018
The Board noted the minutes (BM/18/53).
Main Agenda items
8. National Librarian and Chief Executive's Report
JS introduced paper BM/18/54.
- JS reported on a number of topics from his report. An interesting visit had taken place with a team from the Donmar Warehouse, who viewed letters written by Mary Queen of Scots, the subject of a new film. The viewing was also attended by the Cabinet Secretary, and a useful conversation had taken place between Fiona Hyslop and JS.
- Other events highlighted included a positive Annual Strategic meeting between JS, the Chair and the Cabinet Secretary on 15 November 2018 and a successful event which had been hosted at the Kelvin Hall, to formally sign the Memorandum of Understanding between the Library and the University of Glasgow.
- Discussion took place on the George IV Bridge Treasure space and JCr reported that only one tender had been received for the project, resulting in a delay. Some research to determine the reasons for the poor response had been conducted. It was now anticipated that the project would be approached through a single design and build tender in the New Year, with an expected start date of autumn 2019. This would help overcome some of the issues identified by the market research. During discussion, IM suggested that care should be taken to ensure that the Library retained full control of the design aspect of the project and that it might be advisable to re-evaluate the existing route, with the help of a Quantity Surveyor, before finalising the tender.
- MB asked if the Library was planning a special event to mark the occasion of Sir Walter Scott's anniversary in 2021. JS reported that work was ongoing with the Abbotsford Trust, which is leading on anniversary planning, to determine how this would be celebrated. There would however be a significant event in the Library to mark the occasion.
9. Library Plan Update — Q2
JS introduced paper BM/18/55.
- JS reported on some of the highlights from the report. The Library continued to make satisfactory progress with the 2018/19 Plan. Six target areas were assessed as amber but assurances were provided that they would be delivered within the planning year. The Treasure Space remains red and would be revised as discussed above.
- Other achievements were mentioned, including the rollout of the Library Service Platform and Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project.
- Discussion took place on the Reading Room visit figures and JS stated that whilst there had been a drop of 12 percent compared to last year, there was no need for concern at this stage. The situation would continue to be monitored and a discussion would take place in the future if the downward trend continued.
- It was suggested by ASh that social media figures should be included in the engagement statistics, as this was often how people communicated with the library, as opposed to the website. AG acknowledged that such figures were collected and that a solution as to how best to report this information was currently being investigated. JS intimated that the LLT would address this issue in early 2019. This matter could also be discussed at the next Away Day.
- JS summarised the results of the Staff Survey, which had been positive overall, with a 70 percent engagement index, up 4 percent on last year. Other indicators were provided, which included useful data for the management team to focus on in the future, in areas such as staff training. NM expressed his enthusiasm for the positive figures from the survey participants.
KC thanked staff for the work done and the progress made.
10. Away Day Agenda
KC introduced report BM/18/56.
- KC stressed the increased need for the library to be prepared for the future, given that the Centenary was due in 2025.
- AS suggested that as the Visitor Survey relating to fundraising had already been addressed at a previous Away Day event, it would not be appropriate to re-visit this topic unless any new information had been received.
- DH suggested that Digitisation could be re-visited, given that the culture of the library is constantly changing.
- SL suggested that the new Strategy should be the main focus of the event and that this topic would also result in discussions of other pertinent issues. Consideration of visitor data, for example, would feed naturally into a wider Strategy discussion.
- MT suggested digital methods for raising finances as an appropriate topic for the Away Day.
- A general update on fundraising was suggested as an appropriate presentation subject for the March Board meeting.
- A brief discussion took place on the repair and maintenance of the library estate. AG assured members that whilst plans were ongoing to improve the Library estate, funding for the existing building maintenance would always be addressed. The balance between discretionary and essential spend was always carefully considered. JS also stressed the importance of not losing sight of the remaining 18 months of the existing strategy.
The above suggestions would be taken into account when agreeing topics for the Away Day in February 2018.
John Coll (JC) joined the meeting.
11. Health and Safety Report
JC summarised paper BM/18/57, expanding on the progress of health and safety issues. The main topics covered were accidents (which had now been addressed) and fire safety, mainly the sprinkler system installed at Causewayside.
- The issue of the sprinkler system at Causewayside was a concern, due to a limited capacity of the current water tank to address multiple incidents. This issue would also be addressed at the February 2019 Audit Committee. During discussion, members were assured that there is an extensive external review of Fire Risk Management across the Library every four years and this is backed by internal annual reviews.
- IM stressed the importance of keeping an open mind in relation to other aspects of fire protection which could be considered to address some of the issues facing the Library buildings.
- Due to the priority of this issue, this matter would be addressed on a regular basis by the Board and its committees.
The report was noted.
JC left the meeting.
12. Audit Committee Report
SL updated the Board on the Audit Committee of 12 November 2018
- The current Investment Managers' contract had been renewed following a procurement process, and they would be addressing the Committee in due course to answer members' questions.
- The Digital Roadmap was progressing well and the Committee would monitor the progress.
- The Internal Audit contract was due for renewal in 2019 and the Committee would be kept informed of any developments in the process.
13. Strategic Risk Register Review
AG summarised paper BM/18/58.
- The Corporate Risk Register had been considered by the Audit Committee and the main strands addressed were: Brexit, Employer Pension Changes/Scottish Government Budgets and Cyber Essentials.
- Members acknowledged that the proposed pension changes could have a significant impact on the Library. Discussions had taken place with the Scottish Government, but little more could be addressed until the announcement of the Scottish Government budget on 12 December 2018. It was further acknowledged that pensions were affected by fluctuations on the stock exchange.
- A question was asked in relation to the progress of the ongoing employment tribunal facing the Library. Members were informed that a decision was anticipated by the end of January and further information would be available in due course.
The committee noted the report.
14. Quarterly Finance Reports — Q2
AG summarised report BM/18/59.
- The Library reports demonstrated that they were currently in line with the 2018/19 budget and the report reflected the results of the mid-year review. A further review was due to be carried out in November and December of this year. The revenue budgets had also been well managed with a healthy cash balance and the deficit position had improved from £752k to £663k.
The report was noted.
15. Report from Brexit Monitoring Group
AG summarised report BM/18/60.
- Members acknowledged there was only so much the Library could do to prepare for Brexit due to the uncertainty of the outcome and the ongoing negotiations at Westminster. The Monitoring Group was looking at the situation and members would be kept informed of progress.
- In response to a question relating to how the Library plan to assist employees from the EU, following the recent Edinburgh University decision to meet the costs of the settlement fee for EU national staff, JS confirmed that plans had been made for the Library to take the same course of action. The Board would be informed of the progress in this regard.
16. Board Member Recruitment
KC summarised the position in relation to the member recruitment process. Interviews had taken place on 20 and 21 November 2018, with 9 high quality candidates interviewed from a positive 29 applications. Four potential new members had been identified, with the Cabinet Secretary due to make the final decision in January next year. New members would be in post in time for the March 2018 Board meeting.
17. Appointment of Office Bearers
KC summarised report BM/18/61.
A small sub-group had been involved in the appointment of four new office bearers, to replace Neil McIntosh and Fiona Robertson and following a brief discussion, the Board agreed to the following course of action:
- Helen Durndell to serve as Vice-Chair
- Simon Learoyd to serve as Vice-Chair
- Amina Shah to serve as Chair of Governance Committee
- Helen Durndell to serve as Chair of S&R Committee.
Robin Smith (RS) joined the meeting at this point.
18. Major Loan Approval
RS gave an overview of report BM/18/62, an application for a major loan by Sydney Living Museums for exhibition materials involving composition music. She informed the committee of an error in the report, which should read: 'Songs of Home and Distant Isles'.
The Committee approved the loan. RS was requested to contact the museum for feedback on the outcome of the exhibition.
John Coll (JC) joined the meeting at this point.
19. George IV Bridge Re-imagined
JC introduced this report BM/18/63, following the Special Board meeting on 23 May 2018, which agreed to produce a programme mandate with a timeline to permit open procurement. This report outlined the purpose of the mandate, the steps required and a proposed timeline to enable the programme mandate to be submitted. Follow-on actions were also listed. Further information would be provided to the Board at the February Away Day.
- Members agreed on the helpfulness of the report, particularly from a governance point of view. It was confirmed during discussion that the National Library of Scotland Foundation were involved as a potential source of funding for the feasibility study and that a meeting had taken place recently to discuss this option.
- IM asked for more quantifiable information on the level of investment and it was confirmed that this information would be available at stage one of the proposal. Thereafter, planning and formal consultations would take place prior to stage 2.
- This may be an appropriate topic for discussion at the Away Day and all agreed on the importance of the Board having a clear understanding of the proposals and the scope of work involved before the Board receive final proposals. It was also confirmed that further information relating to timelines and major milestones could be addressed at the Away Day in February.
- JS confirmed that the Scottish Government was aware of the plans for George IV Bridge Re-imagined and that they were anticipating a proposal, which would have funding implications.
The Board noted the proposals.
20. Any Other Business
Final Board Meeting for Neil McIntosh and Fiona Robertson
KC informed members that this would be the final Board meeting for Fiona Robertson and Neil McIntosh.
KC summarised the valuable work done by Fiona Robertson, particularly in the area of governance, where her support in helping with the documentation in this area was greatly appreciated by the Library.
KC summarised the valuable work Neil had completed for the Library, bringing his experience as a Chief Executive of Strathclyde Region to assist the Library and the Staffing and Resources Committee.
Both Fiona and Neil were thanked by KC for their invaluable contribution to the Library and this was echoed by JS on behalf of the staff.
Neil McIntosh thanked the Board and staff for their kind words and reiterated that it had been an honour to serve on the Board. Neil was then presented with a gift from the Chair. JCr would contact Fiona Robertson, with a view to conducting a similar presentation in the near future.
The meeting closed at 16.45