NHSCFA Board meeting 17th March 2021

Minutes of NHSCFA Board meeting - FCG-BOA-MIN - Meeting – 17.03.21

Date: 17/03/21

Meeting time: 10:00 – 12:00

Meeting title: NHSCFA Board Meeting


  • (TT)Tom Taylor (Chairperson)
  • (MS) Martin Spencer (Non-Executive Director)
  • (JS) Jayne Scott (Non-Executive Director)
  • (SF) Susan Frith (Chief Executive, NHSCFA)
  • (MJB) Matthew Jordan-Boyd (Director of Finance &Corporate Governance, NHSCFA)
  • (TM) Tricia Morrison (Director of Performance & Improvement NHSCFA) (from 10:10hrs)


  • (JR) Jane Robinson (Policy Manager, DHSC AFU)
  • (AS) Ann Sturgess (Corporate Governance Manager and Board Secretary, NHSCFA)
  • (KB) Karen Bonham (Finance & Governance Support Lead) minute taker


  • (AH) Antony Hipworth (People Engagement Group NHSCFA) Observer

Apologies received:

  • (RR) Richard Rippin


TT welcomed everyone to the meeting


An apology was received from RR. TM joined at 10:10 as previously agreed.

Declarations of interest

No new declarations of interest were made.

Minutes of Board Meeting 22.2.21

Board agreed the minutes as a true and accurate record.

Action log

The Board reviewed the action log dated 17/03/2021. All actions due were noted as completed and closed. Actions 113,114,& 115 were noted as not due until the next Board meeting.

Chair update (TT)

Best wishes were conveyed for a speedy recovery to Peter Watson, a frequent attendee at Board meetings on behalf of the People Engagement Group.

TT confirmed the interview panel has met and submitted its advice to the Minister on the suitable applicants. The outcome is pending a Ministerial decision.

An ALB all Board network regarding Diversity and Inclusion has been set up. Support for this initiative was noted. MS will attend in his capacity as REMCO Chair.

TT highlighted the DHSC have now approved the NHSCFA 2021-22 Business Plan and 3 year Strategy. Once the grid slot has been obtaining both can be published.

NHSCFA engagement with the Health Service Journal & HFMA magazine was noted.

TT has been invited to attend governmental Audit Committee Chair’s Forum on 22.4.21.

NED updates

JS highlighted the Scottish Government internal audit service has appointed an internal Counter Fraud lead. This presents an opportunity for NHSCFA to engage. The Board welcomed this.

MS noted the impacts, positive and negative linked to the changes in COVID restrictions on workers and managers. For example schools returning, increases in levels of fatigue, and the impact of reduced social interaction with colleagues. MS highlighted the increased levels of fraud and fear of fraud at the current time, and noted the increased interactions and engagement work by NHSCFA in response to this.

Matters arising - Board Q & A

Allocation of questions and session management agreed.

Committee updates

ARAC minutes 12.1.21, Paper 1, was noted.

JS provided a verbal update following the meeting on 26.2.21 highlighting the following;

  • Board Risk workshop is scheduled for Friday 19th March
  • Final External audit report in respect of 2019/20 was received and reflected improved position as expected and a reduced number of risks. The recommendation regarding keeping the services received from BSA under review was noted. ARAC have oversight of this.
  • GIAA provided their first draft audit plan for 2021-22. A further revised version will be subject to review by the Executive Team and is expected at the May ARAC.

REMCO - minutes 13.1.21, Paper 2 was noted

MS confirmed the meeting had concentrated on Staff Survey findings and Workforce planning. Results of the Staff Survey, which showed significant improvements, were studied and reviewed for learning points. Workforce-planning progress linked scenarios and spending review implications were also revisited. An updated was received on the appointment of an HR business partner and tools for workforce planning.

The Board noted work will begin to hone suitable workforce scenarios now that the financial envelope is known. Service review findings will also feed into scenarios.

Reports to note and approve

Finance update, Paper 3, was noted & approved, the following points were highlighted;

  • Current year to date underspend will transform to overspend within £100K of budget at end of month 12.
  • Allowances have been made for property dilapidations of Earlsdon Park, and COVID changes to annual leave carry forward arrangements.
  • HR Business Partner, and Estates and Smarter Working Programme Manager appointments have been made.
  • SAS licence renewal has been signed, and Project and Performance software contract due to be awarded imminently.
  • 2021-22 Budget position has not been confirmed, but an increase of £1.4M has been planned for.

Annual review of documents Papers 4, 4a-g

Completed as follows.

  1. Standing Financial Orders – approved subject to a final check that all references to DH have been updated to DHSC
  2. Standing Financial Instructions – as above
  3. Matters reserved to the Board – approved
  4. ARAC ToR – approved subject to a minor format correction at paragraph 2.5
  5. REMCO ToR – approved. Paragraph 5.2 was noted and it was agreed that the REMCO standing agenda be reviewed at next meeting to clarify REMCO responsibility regarding nominations, and objectivity between the roles of REMCO and Board.
  6. Board ToR – approved subject to insertion of ‘a’ view at para 1.2 and inclusion of an additional point for inclusion at 2.1 to clarify responsibility to approve the Annual Report and Accounts’.
  7. Acceptable use policy – approved

ACTION 117: Acceptable Use Policy to be published with a Go2 article explaining practical implications for our people and to note the content for inclusion/reference in IG Bitesize eLearning.

Reports to note and discuss

The Board noted there was no risk paper as the risk workshop is scheduled to take place on 19.3.21.

Operations (Investigations), report Paper 5, was noted.

The report was positively received in terms of quality and value of content. TM explained there is an anticipated increase in court cases which would present resource pressures.

The Board noted the HMRC review of the NHSCFA investigation processes will look at ways to represent flow and projections against targets for recovery. SF stated although NHSCFA cases will continue to result in prosecution and recovery action, it has been flagged that alternative means of resolution need to be explored for other cases. The HMRC review will consider civil recovery options. The Strategic Engagement project will also explore options, advice and messaging to the sector. The Board requested a more detailed paper outlining alternative options to prosecutions and how these could be progressed be presented to the July Board meeting.
ACTION 118: Presentation of a paper to the July meeting outlining alternative options to prosecutions and how these could be progressed.

SIA Executive Summary, Paper 6a, was noted and well received. The Board highlighted the inclusion arrows within the heat map to show trajectory, increase/decrease may be helpful to the audience.

The draft SIA distribution list, Paper 6b, was noted. The Board recommended that the following bodies be added.

  • Heads of Counter Fraud Service – Wales and Scotland
  • Head of Scottish internal audit agency
  • Education and Skills Funding Agency, CEO and Counter Fraud Lead
  • National Audit Offices of the four nations.

Review of forward planner

Additional item to be added to 7th July agenda as above.

TM suggested date for next round of business planning to be added to the planner at next meeting for later in the year .

Review of effectiveness of meeting

TH provided feedback on the meeting. The Board agreed that the meeting had been conducted effectively.

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