NHSCFA Board meeting 15th December 2021

Minutes of NHSCFA Board meeting - FCG-BOA-MIN - Meeting – 15.12.21

Date: 15/12/21

Meeting time 10:00 – 13:00

Meeting title: NHSCFA Board Meeting


  • (TT) Tom Taylor (Non-Executive Director – Chair, NHSCFA)
  • (JS) Jayne Scott (Non-Executive Director, NHSCFA)
  • (MS) Martin Spencer (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)
  • (AR) Alex Rothwell (Chief Executive Officer, NHSCFA)
  • (MJB) Matthew Jordan-Boyd (Director of Finance & Corporate Governance, NHSCFA)
  • (TM) Tricia Morrison (Director of Performance & Improvement, NHSCFA)


  • (PG) Paul Golightly (Head of DHSC AFU)
  • (NB) Nicola Burton (Head of Transformation & Change, NHSCFA)
  • (AS) Ann Sturgess (Head of Business Support and Board Secretary, NHSCFA)
  • (RR) Richard Rippin (Head of Operations, NHSCFA)
  • (RH) Richard Hampton (Head of Intelligence & Fraud Prevention NHSCFA)
  • (SS) Sonia Sousa (Governance & Assurance Assistant, NHSCFA) note taker


TT opened the meeting and welcomed everyone.


There were no apologies received.

Declarations of interest

No new declarations of interest were made.

Minutes of Board Meeting 02.11.21

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

Action log

The Board reviewed the action log. The majority were items on the agenda. Action 126 is pending finalisation of integrated planning meetings and will be an agenda item at the next Board meeting.

General update from the Chair

TT started by welcoming the new CEO and reiterating the Board continued support and facilitation of introductions to a variety of networks.

TT provided an update on issues affecting government departments and offered to circulate the GIAA cross government insight on Conflicts of Interest.

The Board thanked the efforts of all those involved in international fraud awareness week.

Action point 139 AR/ TM to ensure all those involved in international fraud awareness week are aware the Board acknowledges the work delivered.

General update from NEDs

JS highlighted the potential impact of the latest Covid 19 variant on the health sector and supply chain as well as CFA. All Board members agreed with this concern. JS also mentioned she will facilitate AR’s introduction to the newly appointed Head of Scottish Government Internal Audit.

AC confirmed she has been supporting the work on reviewing CFA approach to adopting ‘Freedom to Speak Up’ which would provide an umbrella to a number of areas of work required for Governance & Assurance purposes.

MS mentioned the pressures on the labour market due to high levels of sickness and on going difficulty with recruitment. Many organisations are reconsidering their office space requirements and adopting remote working as a permanent solution.

MS also mentioned organisations emerging of ALB reviews with a significantly changed scope and remit which inevitably causes a certain level of disruption.

GH informed the meeting a report on the Online Safety Bill (which now incorporates fraud) has been produced: Draft Online Safety Bill - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

The National Fraud Strategic Authority strategy has also been published as well as the Algorithmic Transparency Standard: Algorithmic Transparency Standard - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Following on from what was previously said, AF noted the need for CFA to review the Business Plan in light of the COVID 19 impact, specifically in relation to future engagement work and office space requirements.

ARAC (verbal update)

JS stated there was nothing specific to report as an ARAC had not been held since the last Board meeting. JS informed members she had met with GIAA as part of the planning for the 22/23 Audit Plan.

REMCO (verbal update)

MS gave a brief account of the last REMCO meeting. Key points to note were:

  • Spotlight survey completed, results pending
  • HR recruitment discussion noting importance of both strategic and operational HR roles and their contribution to the organisation
  • Workforce data dashboard to be discussed at REMCO quarterly with proposed content to be circulated

Having recently joined the organisation, AR gave an account of his first impressions.

Finance update (paper 1)

MJB presented the paper reporting a current break-even position on the Revenue budget however, it was highlighted this is based on the assumption the London office relocation costs are being met directly by DHSC. If this funding is not available there will be a sharp change on the Month 9 report. A discussion ensued about the potential outcome if the cost of the office move has to be absorbed. MJB confirmed there was currently no appetite at the Department to move funds from capital to revenue budgets. Board members requested consideration is given to longer term requirements for three offices.

MJB highlighted a possible underspend of Capital funds due to delays in the refurbishment work at the Newcastle office and the cost of refurbishment for 10 South Colonnade being potentially covered by DHSC.

Transformation & Change Programme update (paper 2)

MJB and NB presented on the current position. The Board noted the paper and praised the way it was presented. A discussion was held regarding the time constraints the whole project is based on with concerns raised over the timescales for delivery given current commitments, resources, a new CEO and Covid.

Another discussion ensued regarding whether the NEDs should be a part of the Programme Board or the External Reference Group. The Board requested more information on outputs of the project, measurements and key milestone details as well as specific measurable and quantifiable benefits realisation.

Action point 140 TT and AR to discuss which group(s) NEDs should have participation in and feedback

Risk & Issues report (Paper 3)

Paper was noted. It was agreed that members will feedback any comments to MJB, AS & JS. It was also decided an additional ARAC meeting should take place in January for a specific and detailed discussion of the various risks currently faced.

Action point 141 Board members to give feedback on the Risk & Issues report.

Action point 142 AS to facilitate setting up an additional ARAC meeting in January for a detailed discussion of the various risks currently faced.

Operations (investigations) report (Paper 4)

RR gave a brief update on current cases. Paper was noted. The Board requested some more information to be added to the reports going forward.

Action point 143 Keep a log of positive comments from the judge/ courts so it can be shared when necessary.

Action point 144 Future reports to have an additional section (at the end) to show what follow up action was taken at the end of an investigation and the impact this had.

Action point 145 Add further details regarding deployment of NIS resources at the point the Board report is drafted.

Enforcement Strategy Implementation (paper 5)

RR presented the paper highlighting that the current approach to enforcement is reactive and responsive. Already in progress, closely linked to the Transformation & Change project, is the development of a strategic approach in order to improve fraud enforcement, deterrence, prevention, intelligence and disruption.

AF highlighted the importance of achieving the right balance between reactive and proactive work.

Action point 146 Consideration to be given on arranging an additional Board workshop to specifically discuss the above further.

Conversion Rates (paper 6)

RH introduced the paper which links very closely with others presented during this meeting.

Action point 147 RH to provide data on outcome of activities undertaken by local health bodies

Landscape report (paper 7)

Paper was noted. Contents were embedded in other discussions had during the meeting.

Review of forward planner (paper 8)

TT did a general review of the forward planner.

Review of the effectiveness of the meeting

It was agreed that the meeting had been conducted effectively. TT praised the quality of all the papers presented and thanked the effort put into writing them.

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