NHSCFA Board meeting 13th October 2021

Minutes of NHSCFA Board meeting - FCG-BOA-MIN - Meeting – 13.10.21

Date: 13/10/21

Meeting time: 09:00 – 11:30

Meeting title: NHSCFA Board Meeting


  • (TT) Tom Taylor (Non-Executive Director – Chair, 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)
  • (MJB) Matthew Jordan-Boyd (Director of Finance & Corporate Governance, NHSCFA)
  • (TM) Tricia Morrison (Director of Performance & Improvement, NHSCFA)


  • (JA) Jane Robinson (Policy Manager, DHSC AFU)
  • (NB) Nicola Burton (Head of Transformation & Change, NHSCFA) left at 10:10
  • (AS) Ann Sturgess (Head of Business Support and Board Secretary, NHSCFA)
  • (SS) Sonia Sousa (Governance & Assurance Assistant, NHSCFA) note taker


TT opened the meeting and welcomed everyone.


Apologies were received from Martin Spencer and Richard Rippin.

Declarations of interest

TT informed the meeting he left the Board of the Government Legal Department as of the 24th September.

Action point 130 SS to update Declarations of Interest document and send to TT to confirm.

Minutes of Board Meeting 02.09.21

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

Action log

The Board reviewed the action log. Actions 126 and 127 were noted as not yet due and all others have been completed except AP 118 which was an item on the agenda.

General update from the Chair

TT informed the meeting he left the Board of the Government Legal Department. TT also confirmed he was finalising objectives for the new NEDs who started last April and would be setting objectives in respect of the incoming Chief Executive Officer.

General update from NEDs

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

  • Increased difficulty in getting police input into fraud investigations seems to be a common factor
  • NHSCFA was mentioned at engagements such as the Cambridge Symposium on Economic Crime, also in conversation with the new commissioner for the City of London Police. NHSCFA is also through to the finals of the prestigious Tackling Economic Crime Awards (TECAs)
  • Future arrangements for Whistleblowing, Freedom to Speak Up and Caldicott Guardian agenda are being discussed and supported by AC

Transformation & Change Programme update (paper 1)

NB presented the paper highlighting the workstreams, projects scheduled for completion by the 31st January 2022, areas of work extending beyond this date as well as some of the outputs. Key points noted included:

  • on boarding of an internal HR function
  • relocation of the London office to 10 South Colonnade
  • refurbishment of Citygate (Newcastle office)
  • functional costing activity
  • GIAA audit in progress
  • development of a Transformation Strategy
  • formal adoption of an internal Transformation Programme Board
  • development of a Benefits Realisation Plan (based on a template used by NHS England and Improvement)

JS expressed concerns this is a big project for a very small team and there is a risk that focusing on the process will get in the way of delivering the results. She also suggested one of the non-executive directors (NED) should be directly involved on the Transformation Programme Board to provide external oversight.

The Board requested additional details to be covered in the update at the November Board meeting. Specifically, additional information concerning quantification of the benefits, timescales of what is achievable, costs and a breakdown of the elements outside our control e.g. the office move.

Action point 131 NB to provide additional details to be covered in the update at the November Board meeting. Specifically, additional information concerning quantification of the benefits, timescales of what is achievable, costs and a breakdown of the elements outside our control.

Finance update (paper 2)

MJB presented the paper. MJB confirmed on-going conversations with DHSC finance regarding the potential overspend in the region of £870K due mainly to the London office move. MJB confirmed he is pending confirmation that DHSC will be able to cover all or at least some of these costs from their relocation fund which will reduce the risk of overspend.

AC queried the spend against the training budget and MJB confirmed the Learning & Development Team were reviewing the remaining training identified as part of the PDP process. It is expected the budget allocation will be used in full.

GH queried the current number of vacant posts (15) and MJB assured we are progressing with recruitment. The Board noted the difficulties experienced in recruiting to some posts and the reliance on agency staff. MJB confirmed this was not the preferred route for recruitment due to the additional costs.

MJB proceeded to give an update on the accounts informing the Board that although the National Audit Office (NAO) started the audit in May there was currently no conformed timescale for when they would be able to finish it due to lack of resources on their side. With the cut-off date set by the Cabinet Office being the 30th November, TT offered to contact the Attorney General and clarify the delay laying the Annual Report & Accounts (ARA) due to NAO circumstances. JS confirmed this NAO issue extends beyond the CFA and it is affecting other organisations as well.

Regarding the Capital Programme, the Board was informed that only part of the fund allocated by the DHSC will be utilised. This has been caused by the impact of the office move and changing IT infrastructure reducing capital spend and increasing revenue spend. In addition to this the resources to implement new systems have been deployed into the the office move and are therefore not available to support installation requirements if new technology was purchased. AF requested assurance that opportunities to support the Transformation Project have been considered. MJB provided assurance to confirm this was an ongoing consideration.

The Capital Budget was approved by the Board who asked to be kept informed of progress.

Risk Workshop outcomes

AS thanked everybody for participating in the recent Risk Workshop. All the information will now be discussed in the next Risk Register Review Group meeting and a reworked risk paper will be presented at the next ARAC taking the feedback into account.

ARAC (verbal update)

JS gave a brief account of the last ARAC meeting confirming discussions were held regarding both external and internal audits. The Board noted the moderate rating on the GIAA Cyber Security audit. JS also confirmed ARAC has requested a full position update regarding the stakeholder engagement project (ARAC action point 163). JS highlighted the progress and benefits of the internal assurance map.

REMCO (verbal update)

AF gave a brief account of the last REMCO. Key points to note were

  • an induction programme for the new CEO including objective setting was in progress
  • discussion regarding the Transformation Project; REMCO will focus on elements of this including the HR onboarding workstream
  • the issue of the Spotlight Survey and progress against the previous year’s results
  • discussion was held regarding workforce data requirements and how this is reported to the Executive Team and onwards to REMCO

Operations (investigations) report (Paper 3)

TM presented the paper in RR’s absence updating the Board on the investigation currently underway. The paper was noted.

TT asked for congratulations to be passed on from the Board for the Clue award received. AF suggested that some of the cases were turned into case studies and published on our website to highlight the work that we do. TM and TT agreed it was a good suggestion. AS confirmed there are some cases included in the Annual Report & Accounts.

GH noted the reference in the paper to the recovery of costs and requested further information regarding how often these are recovered and how much has been received.

Action point 132 TM to provide further information on how often investigation costs are recovered and how much is recovered after court cases.

Integrated Planning approach (paper 4)

Paper was noted. TT commented the paper was thorough and provided clarity. The Board endorsed this.

Discussion was held regarding how the organisation intends to adapt given the changing counter fraud landscape, particularly in relation to our enforcement strategy. TM confirmed the Quarter 2 performance report would provide the latest financial position which would be shared at the November Board meeting. Further details regarding our approach to enforcement was requested for the December Board meeting.

Action point 133 TM to provide a verbal update at the November Board as part of the Q2 performance update on enforcement statistics.

Action point 134 TM to provide a paper for the December Board meeting regarding the current and longer-term implementation of the NHSCFA enforcement strategy.

Board Q&A

AS explained the process for the afternoon’s Q&A session. No direct questions have been received in advance, only comments on the move from Skipton House and the Transformation Programme.

Review of forward planner (paper 5)

It was agreed GH would write the blog in respect of this meeting.

Action point 135 AS to forward examples of previous blogs to AF, AC and GH.

It was suggested by TT that a couple of Board meetings next year are face-to-face, and it was agreed that the next one will still be via Teams.

Review of the effectiveness of the meeting

It was agreed that the meeting had been conducted effectively.

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