NHSCFA Board meeting 7th July 2021

Minutes of NHSCFA Board meeting - FCG-BOA-MIN - Meeting – 07.07.21

Date: 07/07/21

Meeting time 10:00 – 12:15

Meeting title: NHSCFA Board Meeting


  • (TT) Tom Taylor (Non-Executive Director – Chair, NHSCFA)
  • (MS) Martin Spencer (Non-Executive Director, NHSCFA)
  • (JS) Jayne Scott (Non-Executive Director, NHSCFA)
  • (AC) Alyson Coates (Non-Executive Director, NHSCFA)
  • (AF) Andrew Flanagan (Non-Executive Director, NHSCFA)
  • (GH) Gaon Hart (Non-Executive Director, NHSCFA)
  • (SF) Susan Frith (Chief Executive, NHSCFA)
  • (MJB) Matthew Jordan-Boyd (Director of Finance & Corporate Governance, NHSCFA)
  • (TM) Tricia Morrison (Director of Performance & Improvement, NHSCFA)


  • (JA) Jon Arnold (Deputy Policy Manager, DHSC AFU)
  • (AS) Ann Sturgess (Corporate Governance Manager and Board Secretary, NHSCFA)
  • (RMW) Reg Madden-Waite (Senior Governance & Assurance Officer, NHSCFA) note taker
  • (RR) Richard Rippin (Head of Operations and Quality & Compliance, NHSCFA) for paper 3


  • (KS) Karly Staite (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Group Observer)
  • (SS) Sonia Sousa (Governance & Assurance Assistant, NHSCFA) note taker


TT opened the meeting and welcomed everyone to the meeting.


No apologies received.

Declarations of interest

MS informed the meeting he had joined the Board of a not-for-profit organisation called Achieving for Children. Action point 122 SS to send MS the Declarations of Interest form to be completed

Minutes of Board Meeting 11.5.21

The Board agreed the minutes as a true and accurate record.

Action log

The Board reviewed the action log. TT noted all action points due had been completed. Action 118 Presentation of a paper to the July meeting outlining alternative options to prosecutions and how these could be progressed is due for presentation at the October Board meeting.

General update from the Chair

TT started by mentioning congratulations are in order as we celebrate the NHS 73rd anniversary. He then covered the meeting with the DHSC regarding the latest draft of the Health and Care Bill.

TT informed the meeting about the new Deep Dive report structure issued by the Cabinet Office.

He also informed that the advert for the recruitment of a new CEO is now closed and the panel will meet on Monday 12th July to short list.

General update from NEDs

The NED’s discussed their experiences with NHSCFA and other organisations and discussed the following issues:

  • difficulty in recruiting staff
  • identification by auditors of breaches or lapses in controls following adaption to significant levels of homeworking in a short timescale due to COVID 19
  • the increased focus & requests for additional information by NAO who have also been required to adapt working procedures
  • matters regarding the re-occupation of office premises
  • the provision of apprenticeships within NHSCFA and sourcing funds to support this.

Finance update (paper 1)

MJB briefly mentioned the Investment Programme and problems with recruitment for the projects that have been approved.

He also stated the Capital Programme has not been completed due to all the uncertainty caused by the compulsory move from Skipton House.

Estates Strategy

MJB informed the meeting on the last developments regarding Citygate. The return to that office is planned for September/ October. MS commented it was positive that we are retaining an FCU lab in Newcastle and MJB agreed. The Board thanked Nicola Burton (NB) for all her efforts in achieving a successful outcome after very lengthy negotiations.

Regarding a new location for the London office the Board noted that conversations haven’t progressed due to the DHSC project manager appointed to deal with this having only just commenced the role. NHSCFA have been offered a location in Canary Wharf but there are a lot of variants to determine - whether it is suitable for the FCU lab for example. A short discussion ensued, AF asked if there was a possibility of losing key staff due to the difficult access to this area. SF replied and said she hoped that doesn’t happen given the flexibility of working from home and MJB is of the opinion the possible loss of high cost area supplements (HCAS) will be more of an issue than the access to a new building.
MS asked who will pick up the costs of this move and MJB replied that is unknown at the moment although DHSC is applying for funding as they will have to move as well. GH asked if premises within police and CPS estates had been considered, MJB replied affirmatively but that the FCU team thought it would be a considerable challenge to adapt police labs to suit our needs.

The Board noted that it has been agreed the Coventry office, (Earlsdon Park) will be used as a hub for meetings, etc. The office structure will be changed to accommodate this and also the new hybrid working mode once requirements are clearer.

Board Q&A

AS explained the process for the afternoon’s Q&A session. Four questions had been received in advance.


MS reported there were 3 main points discussed at the last REMCO:

  • CEO recruitment process which had already covered during the meeting
  • Workforce planning – NB is to update REMCO once the transformation & change plan has been approved.
  • Leadership development – acknowledgement of the high level of training undertaken across the organisation. Thanks to the L&D team for sourcing external providers alongside developing and delivering in house training were noted.


JS gave a brief account of last week’s ARAC meeting highlighting the useful updates from NB on the Transformation Programme and Estates Strategy and also a big focus on the risk register. There was a lengthy discussion on the latter and it was agreed to hold a risk workshop in September on 20.9.21.

Operations (investigations) report (Paper 3)

RR received congratulations from the Board following the successful outcome of Operation Badon which saw Barry Stannard convicted to more than 5 years in prison. He seized the chance to emphasize how this case had been an excellent opportunity to revisit system weaknesses and offer guidance and GH asked if there a procedure to issue written alerts to other organisations. RR said there is and explained the procedure.

JS suggested a conversation with the Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA) to make sure they are aware of our efforts and the underlying weaknesses which allowed the fraud to take place.

Action point 123 AS to facilitate a conversation with RR and GIAA to ensure learning from the investigations is shared.

RR then highlighted the issues FCU is currently facing in terms of recruitment and the uncertainty regarding the move out of Skipton House which might lead to a temporary suspension of the accreditation of the London lab.

BAF – risk report (paper 4)

The paper had been reviewed at the last ARAC. JS said good progress has been made in this area but a Board Workshop on risk would be useful and reiterated the scoring needed reviewing.

Dates were agreed for the Board workshop on risk (20/09/21) and for an extra Board meeting to discuss the Q1 performance report (06/08/21)

Action point 124 SS to send out meeting invites.

Inventory of Information Transferred – annual review (papers 5 & 5a)

The Board noted the report. There was a slight potential inconsistency identified on lines 6 & 7.

Action point 125 AS to check lines 6 & 7 of the Inventory of Information Transferred & amend if required.

Review of forward planner (paper 6)

An extra Board meeting to discuss the Q2 performance report was agreed for the 02/11/21. (See AP124)

Board Blog volunteer

JS had volunteered to write the Board Blog in respect of this meeting.

Review of the effectiveness of the meeting

It was agreed that the meeting had been conducted effectively.

NHSCFA Board Action Log

AP Ref Description Updates/Comments Action owner
AP Ref118 DescriptionPresentation of a paper to the July meeting outlining alternative options to prosecutions and how these could be progressed. (target Board date 7.7.21) Updates/CommentsThe various elements linked to these alternative options and how they will be delivered are being discussed as part of the organisational reviews which are currently in progress. The update has therefore been deferred to the October Board meeting when a full picture will be available. Action ownerTM
AP Ref122 DescriptionSS to send a Declaration of Interest form for MS to complete Updates/CommentsPost meeting 07.07.21 Action ownerSS
AP Ref123 DescriptionAS to facilitate a conversation with RR and GIAA to ensure learning from the investigations is shared. Updates/CommentsPost meeting 07.07.21 Action ownerAS/RR
AP Ref124 DescriptionSS to send out meeting invites for Board workshop and 2 extra Board meetings Updates/CommentsPost meeting 07.07.21 Action ownerSS
AP Ref125 DescriptionAS to check lines 6&7 of the Inventory of Information Transferred & amend if required. Updates/CommentsPost meeting 07.07.21 Action ownerAS

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