NHSCFA Public board-meeting 20th November 2023

Minutes of NHSCFA Board meeting - FCG-BOA-MIN - Meeting – 20.11.23

Date: 20/11/23

Meeting time: 10:00 – 12:30 (Cardiff- hybrid 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)


  • (SB) Sean Byrne (Head of 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)
  • (NB) Nicola Burton (Head of Transformation & Change, NHSCFA) for paper 7 only
  • (AS) Ann Sturgess (Head of Business Support & Board Secretary, NHSCFA)
  • (GC) George Cooke (Performance, Analytics and PMO Manager, NHSCFA)
  • (AH) Andrea Harper (Corporate Communications Manager, NHSCFA)
  • (SS) Sonia Sousa (Governance & Assurance Assistant, NHSCFA) note taker


  • (LV) Lee Vincent (Head of PWD, NHSCFA)
  • (SL) Stephen Lough (Finance Business Partner & PEG Representative, NHSCFA)
  • (MS) Michele Smith (Senior Corporate Communications Officer, NHSCFA)


1.1 TT welcomed all to the meeting.


2.1 No apologies were received for this meeting.

Declarations of interest

3.1 There were no new Declarations of Interest.

Minutes and action log

4.1 Minutes of Public meeting 17.08.23 and Board 15.09.23 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 – Carried forward from previous meetings, meeting scheduled between MJB and AH to discuss, action will be completed by the end of November.

Action Point 183, SB to chase advertisement of the NEDs roles on the Public Appointment Website - In progress – shortlisting has taken place and 8 interviews are scheduled for 8th & 12th December.

Action Point 189, The Corporate Communications dashboard and a supporting report of overall communications activity to be tabled as an agenda item for the next Board meeting – completed, agenda item 8.

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.

Action Point 191, SB to forward official confirmation of TT’s contract extension to AS – completed.

General update from Chair

5.1 On behalf of the Board, TT thanked everyone involved in the Machine Learning event, held on the 9th October at 10SC, noting it was a positive event and well received. TT also confirmed his recent attendance at the Transformation Project Board.  TT confirmed he also attended the DHSC REMCO meeting where the paper concerning ESM grading was discussed. A further meeting is to be scheduled prior to a final decision and outcome. TT provided a general informative update on local and government related issues.

General update from CEO (Paper 1)

6.1 Paper taken as read. AR provided a brief update on ministerial changes and recent updates from NHS England.

6.2 A discussion ensued concerning meeting the requirements for the GovS 013 standard. AR and AS outlined the current position and confirmed discussions with the Public Sector Fraud Authority were planned to obtain further clarification relating to certain areas of the standard.  The Board strongly recommended that all available resources are directed into meeting a ‘best’ rating wherever possible due to potential reputational damage if this is not achieved.  

General update from NEDS

7.1 In relation to the identification principle change in the Economic Crime and Transparency Act, GH mentioned a few organisations are starting to undertake mapping of the senior management responsibilities relating to corporate liability to understand the level of risk to organisations and indicated this may be beneficial as an exercise for NHSCFA.

Action 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.

7.2 AF raised the government ambition for Civil Servants to be in the office for at least 3 days a week and the subsequent implications regarding office requirements. JB stated there was reassurance by the Civil Service this would not be mandatory for the NHS including Arms Length Bodies. MJB highlighted CFA approach to remote working and ambition to reduce office space was in place before the pandemic. TT suggested MJB/JB bring an updated information paper to the next Board to outline the refreshed post pandemic approach within NHSCFA to hybrid working.  

Action 193: MJB/JB to bring paper to the February meeting outline the refreshed post pandemic approach within NHSCFA to hybrid working.

Committee updates (Papers 2 & 3)


8.1 AC briefly summarised the highlights of the last REMCO meeting:

  • discussion concerning options for developing the staff survey
  • revision of People and Workforce strategy (with a particular focus on increasing the tracking, monitoring and measuring achievement strategy)
  • development of the REMCO workplan to identify areas of key focus

8.2 The Committee is proposing to change their name to People & Remuneration Committee. TT agreed with this change and the Board approved the alteration.


8.3 AF confirmed the last ARAC meeting on the 16th October focused on the internal audit recommendations progress and assessments of risk. AF highlighted plans to run a specific session focussing on risks once the new NEDS are in place.

8.4 The Board noted the minutes for the last ARAC and REMCO meetings.

Finance Update (Paper 4)

9.1 Paper taken as read. MJB stated the financial position is similar to previous reports. DHSC have now confirmed the £525,000 funding for the pay award as well as an additional £600,00 upfront funding to start the recruitment related to the Data Analytics Project. The funding is expected to rise to £1.5m once the project has had full approval.

Q2 Performance Report 2023-24 (Paper 5)

10.1 Paper was taken as read. In terms of achievement against the financial targets, the report shows a shortfall in Quarter 2. Despite this, TM believes we are in a good place and going in the right direction. The shortfall is partly due to the underachievement of the Mandate Fraud project and a delay in receiving CDR figures. TM informed there will be a paper circulated in December (offline) with an update once figures have been received.

10.2 TT invited questions or comments. In response to a question from AC, TM, RH and AR TM clarified why such a discrepancy in Mandate Fraud results against the expected Q2 trajectory.

10.3 GH advised caution in the relationship with PSFA as although we want to align and be connected, we should also stand by our own capabilities. A small discussion ensued.

10.4 AF stated that this type of report should give assurance throughout the year that numbers are on track and the targets (established at the beginning of the year) will be achieved; or if not achieved what can be done about it. To that end, AF suggested milestones are set at the beginning that we can track back against. This would give the Board assurance that all is being done to achieve the targets. AF also suggested a less formal tone to the report and referred the impressions/ opinions of the Executive Team (rather than just data) would be very welcome.

10.5 GH requested further detail regarding the Enterprise Fraud Risk Assessment (EFRA) project and the Agency Fraud project he noting these are important to CFA.

10.6 TM agreed to include more detail in the report going forward, and also explained that the planned Performance Finance Committee meeting would allow for a more detailed discussion on specific projects, including the associated risks and issues.

Investigations Operational Report (Paper 6)

11.1 Paper taken as read. RR noted the current delays in the Criminal Justice System giving as example Operation Marston: following a recently held hearing, the trial has been set for September 2025 which is 22 months away.

GH questioned if this issue is being raised at ministerial level – both AR and TT gave assurances that it is being raised as much as possible.

Evolution Project lessons learned (Paper 7)

12.1 NB presented the paper highlighting key areas. The Board praised how open, honest and self-reflective the document was and raised some questions/ concerns:

  • the report did not cover the specific objectives of the programme, benefits we are expecting to see (and how we measure them going forward) and related costs
  • the report is mainly focused on the people impact and lacks detail in terms of an update on the set of proposals resulting from the findings of the functional reviews. E.g., fraud hub - what were the challenges, what is its progress, costs associated, etc

NB informed there is a comprehensive workstream around measuring outcomes and benefits as a result of the new delivery model. The reports go to the Transformation Programme Board. NB also stated that, as previously mentioned, it will take time to see the full impact of the implementation of the new operative model.

Action 194: NB to share outcomes and benefits reports that go to the Transformation Programme Board with the Board members.

Action 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).

Corporate Comms dashboard update (Paper 8)

13.1 AS started by thanking KS for her support. This paper addresses an action taken last meeting (AP189) around expanding metrics and use of data around Corporate Comms information. The knowledge provided by this data will allow focus on what can be changed, adapted or worked differently.

13.2 AH went through the highlights and the areas of work being developed following a first analysis of the results. AH referred the current main challenges are resources and engagement. The Board noted it all seems very positive and heading in the right direction and stressed the importance of promoting the organisation.

Procurement requiring Board approval (verbal update)

14.1 Following discussions in previous meetings, the Board noted a report requesting approval will be circulated shortly regarding the contract award for analytical tooling.

PWD (HR) Strategy (Paper 9)

15.1 JB provided an introduction on the paper which has been seen and discussed previously at SMT, Board and REMCO meetings. Following feedback, the narrative has been strengthened on how people can get involved. GH suggested consideration is given to including increased reference to the integrity of our people in the strategy.

Action 196: JB to consider inclusion of increased reference to the integrity of CFA people in the PWD (HR) Strategy

Risk Appetite (Paper 10)

16.1 Paper taken as read. AS highlighted this paper was discussed at length during the last ARAC. GH suggested consideration to move the appetite for operations and policy delivery and technology is moved to “hungry”.

16.2 The Board approved the paper subject to it being continuously updated and discussed at ARAC.

REMCO ToR (Paper 11)

17.1 AS informed the Board of a small amendment due to job title changes. There will be a further update once the Committee changes its name as discussed earlier in the meeting. Board noted the paper and approved the alterations to terms of reference.

Data Retention Schedule (Paper 12)

18.1 AS referred this paper is tabled annually for governance purposes. GH stated this was a very complex document and asked for consideration to be given to adding background information on the reasons for the various retention periods.  AS clarified the format was partly due to the range of governance requirements including DSP Tool Kit. GH questioned the need for such a complicated document. AS deferred the discussion until the results of the current GIAA data retention audit are known.

18.2 AH highlighted that 1 year retention period for risk assessment on workers seems restrictive. Longer term medical impacts might take more than a year to manifest themselves and we need to demonstrate a proper assessment has been made. AS noted this.

Action 197: Data retention schedule to be reviewed and tabled again once outcomes of the Data Retention audit are known.

Workplace strategy (Paper 13)

19.1 AS presented this paper on behalf of NB. Paper was taken as read as it links back to conversations held earlier in the meeting. AS invited questions/ comments.

19.2 AC suggested this strategy could be improved by adding milestones rather than narrative intentions as these have already been clearly stated in the PWD strategy. It was agreed the paper would be reviewed and tabled again at the next Board meeting.

Action 198: Workplace Strategy to be reviewed / amended and tabled at the next Board meeting in February 2024.

Review of forward planner and meeting effectiveness

20.1 The next Board meeting is scheduled for the 24th February 2024. It was provisionally agreed it would be held face-to-face at 10SC subject to the agreement of the new Chair. It was also agreed a written CEO update will be given to the Board in January to inform of progress.

20.2 GH congratulated AR on gaining his Counter Fraud Leader certificate.

20.3 TT closed the meeting after it was agreed by all that it had been an active and effective meeting with good discussions and a lot covered.

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