NHSCFA Public board-meeting 19th February 2024

Minutes of NHSCFA Board meeting - FCG-BOA-MIN - Meeting – 19.02.24

Date: 19/02/24

Meeting time: 10:45 – 12:30 (virtual meeting)

Meeting title: NHSCFA Board Meeting


  • (TT) Tom Taylor (Non-Executive Director – Chair, NHSCFA)
  • (AF) Andrew Flanagan (Non-Executive Director, NHSCFA)
  • (AC) Alyson Coates (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)


  • (JR) Jane Robinson (Policy Manager, DHSC AFU)
  • (JB) Joanne Brown (Associate Director for PWD, NHSCFA)
  • (RH) Richard Hampton (Head of Intelligence & Fraud Prevention, NHSCFA)
  • (RR) Richard Rippin (Head of Operations, NHSCFA)
  • (KS) Kathryn Strachan (Board Apprentice, NHSCFA)
  • (AS) Ann Sturgess (Head of Business Support & Board Secretary, NHSCFA)
  • (GC) George Cooke (Performance, Analytics and PMO Manager, NHSCFA)
  • (SS) Sonia Sousa (Governance & Assurance Assistant, NHSCFA) note taker


  • (JG) Joe Gregory (Senior Communications and Engagement Officer, NHSCFA)
  • (NC) Nicholas Chang (PMO Performance & Improvement Lead, NHSCFA)


1.1 TT welcomed all to the meeting, noting it will be the final meeting for KS.


2.1 Apologies were received from Sean Byrne, Head of DHSC AFU.

Declarations of interest

3.1 There were no new Declarations of Interest.

Minutes and action log

4.1 Minutes of Board meeting 20.11.23 were approved.

4.2 The Board reviewed the action log:

Action Point 181, MJB to review the wording in Standing Financial Orders and Standing Financial Instructions regarding co dependant purchases and the requirements to disaggregate these and bring back to the next Board meeting - following discussion with AF, MJB revised wording to be considered by ARAC and then brought back to the Board

Action Point 183, SB to chase advertisement of the NEDs roles on the Public Appointment Website - Completed; now pending readvertisement with provisional interview dates at the end of May

Action Point 190, SS to arrange either a virtual meeting or a meeting following a Board meeting to explore real time exemption checking activities and expected outcomes once the new NEDs are in post - To be carried forward, pending recruitment

Action Point 192, AS to consider Corporate Liability responsibilities of the SMT arising from the Economic Crime and Transparency Act for Senior Managers at the next meeting in February - Addressed by agenda item 10

Action Point 193, MJB/JB to bring paper to the February meeting to outline the refreshed post pandemic approach within NHSCFA to hybrid working - Carried forward; draft paper reviewed at PREMCO 19.02.24, final paper to be tabled at May Board

Action Point 194, NB to share outcomes and benefits reports that go to the Transformation Programme Board with the Board members - Carried forward, to be included in the year 1 Evolution review paper scheduled for the Board meeting in March

Action Point 195, NB to add updates (to the Evolution lessons learned paper) on the set of proposals resulting from the findings of the functional reviews (pg3) - Carried forward, to be included in the year 1 Evolution review paper scheduled for the Board meeting in March

Action Point 196, JB to consider inclusion of increased reference to the integrity of CFA people in the PWD (HR) Strategy - Completed; discussed at PREMCO and being progressed and reported via this route, revised wording agreed with GH.

Action Point 197, Data retention schedule to be reviewed and tabled again once outcomes of the Data Retention audit are known. - To be carried forward, GIAA data retention audit has restarted 01.02.24 and final report is due end of March

Action Point 198, Workplace Strategy to be reviewed / amended and tabled at the next Board meeting in February 2024 - Addressed by agenda item 8

General update from Chair

5.1 TT opened by mentioning the teaching session in Machine Learning presented by TM, GC and the team. This session had been requested by Lord Markham and it was very successful.

TT then referred the GovNet Counter Fraud Conference taking place on the 22nd February, an important event for the CFA which AR will be chairing this year. TT also mentioned the planned visit from members of the Health Insurance Organisation from Cyprus and other international delegates.

TT provided an informative update on local and government related issues. Key highlights were the current position on NEDS and Board chair recruitment (pending readvertisement), a networking opportunity at 10 Downing Street and the NAO report on NEDS’ appointments.

General update from CEO (Paper 1)

6.1 AR highlighted key updates in the report including the launch of the external reporting tool for stakeholders. AR also noted the key issues discussed at the ALB CEO’s meeting he recently attended and gave an update on the ongoing criminal justice issues.

6.2 GH requested that a ‘communications briefing  pack’ is sent to NEDS prior to the formal launch of Project Athena at the Counter Fraud Conference, which AS confirmed was already prepared.

Following a question from GH regarding the creation of an external counter fraud training function within the CFA AR provided an update on the current position. AR confirmed there is a piece of work being currently being developed to identify the potential scope of this function, the initial investment required to set this up and the cost recovery model (not for profit). Once details are finalised AR confirmed the Board would be updated. AF offered his experience in terms of “not for profit costing” which AR acknowledged and accepted.

6.3 KS raised a point regarding the CFA brand marketing strategy. AS confirmed the corporate Communications Team continue to develop in this this area of work.

General update from NEDS

7.1 No specific items raised.  

Committee updates (Papers 2 & 3)

8.1 AC formally recorded her thanks to GH for joining PREMCO meetings as a member providing quoracy. The Board noted the main focus of the last meeting was on the progress

of the People and Workforce development strategy. Also discussed and reviewed was the succession planning pilot and next steps arising form that piece of work.

8.2 AF formally thanked GH for joining ARAC meetings as a member providing quoracy. AF confirmed there have been delays in receiving final external audit planning timeline due to personnel changes, however the annual audit has commenced. It was noted good progress has been made regarding the implementation of internal audit recommendations. AF highlighted the substantial rating achieved in the Key Financial Controls audit and the good report received for the Business Plan & Strategy Performance and Monitoring audit (moderate rating).

8.3 The Board noted the minutes for the last ARAC and PREMCO meetings.

Finance Update (Paper 4)

9.1 Paper taken as read. MJB stated the financial position is similar to previous reports and noted that the main change is the significant underspend reported against the forecast outturn position, predominantly due to delays in the formal approval of Project Athena.

The other key movement highlighted was the position on capital which also forecasts an underspend. MJB explained the reasons for this result.

9.2 GH suggested the executive summary should also mention the issues caused by the late approval of Project Athena as well as offer an explanation of significant discrepancies. GH would also like to see some mitigations and comments regarding the risk to our 2nd year funding for Project Athena not being obtained. MJB noted these points.

Q3 Performance Report 2023-24 (Paper 5)

10.1 Paper was taken as read. TM talked through the improved Q3 performance report which incorporates the relevant GIAA recommendations and includes more detail following previous feedback. The Board noted the organisation remains on target to achieve £100m of fraud savings in 2023-24 which includes the outcomes from Real Time Exemption Checking (RTEC).   

TM noted that despite the original anticipated savings in dental coding not being achieved and some more work being required in this area, there has been a reduction in Mandate Fraud attempts over the past three months which is a positive outcome.

10.2 All Board members praised the thoroughness of the report. AF suggested the annual KPIs should have lower-level markers in order to give assurance that particular point will be achieved for the year or, if not, allow for timely corrective action. TM noted this.

2024-25 Business Plan (Papers 6 & 6a)

11.1 TM spoke briefly about this version of the Business Plan which incorporates feedback from the Board. GH noted no dependencies were mentioned and AC and AF commented that the deliverables are mostly narrative as opposed to being quantified.

11.2 The Plan was approved by the Board subject to some narrative amendments. It is anticipated that the Plan will be issued by the end of the financial year, with the exact date still to be confirmed subject to agreement with DHSC AFU and identification of a grid slot. TM confirmed the Business Plan will be issued to colleagues and stakeholders when completed.

Investigations Operational Report (Paper 7)

12.1 Paper taken as read. RR highlighted the cyclical nature of enforcement work and pros and cons associated. The Board noted the challenges in getting cases to completion and the subsequent time delays being experienced throughout the criminal justice system.

Ministerial KPI’s (verbal update)

13.1 AR informed the meeting that the Department is identifying KPIs which will have ministerial visibility and shared those which have been submitted by CFA for consideration.

Workspace Strategy (Paper 8)

14.1 AS gave an update on the Workplace Strategy which included some amendments following feedback. The Board noted the amendments.  

Internal Counter Fraud (Papers 9a & 9b)

15.1 The papers were noted by the Board. Future discussions will take place at ARAC.

Corporate Liability – action point 192 (Paper 10)

16.1 Paper was noted.

Updated formal succession plan for Board (Paper 11)

17.1 AS explained it hasn’t been possible to fully update the formal succession plan for the Board due to the recruitment issues / delays. The Board noted this will be revisited once the new NEDS are in post.

Approval of the Data Analytics system and Case Management system procurements

18.1 The Board formally acknowledged the approval of the Data Analytics system and Case Management system procurements which were approved electronically between Board meetings.

Reflection on recent procurement papers

19.1 TT and the members acknowledged the lessons learned from the recent procurement exercises and the need for early sight by the Board to ensure timely completion.  

Review of forward planner, meeting effectiveness and AOB

20.1 TT and GH thanked Kathryn for her input during the past year. The Board noted CFA will remain engaged in the Board Apprentice scheme, pending the next recruitment phase.  

20.2 AS confirmed the Board Secretary will be commencing in April and TT has agreed to invite the new post holder as an observer to the March Board meeting.

20.3 TT closed the meeting after it was agreed by all that it had been an active and effective meeting with good discussions breadth of discussion topics.

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