Minutes of HSENI Senior Management Team meeting - October 2019

Minutes of the SMT meeting held on Wednesday 9 October 2019 at 9:30am at Chief Executives Office, HSENI, 83 Ladas Drive

In attendance 

  • R Kidd - Chair and Chief Executive
  • L Burns - Deputy Chief Executive
  • N Monson - Deputy Chief Executive
  • B Monson - Deputy Chief Executive
  • A Martin - Accountant (present for finance discussion)

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes were agreed and the Chair noted that there had not been formal SMT meetings for some time but rather there had been a number of informal meetings to address particular issues including budget uncertainty, staffing matters and work streams. These issues were not minuted but rather were subject of internal discussions to inform the board and interactions with the Department.

3. Action Points

There were no outstanding action points.

4. Corporate Health, Safety and Welfare

Following on from a previous discussion, it was noted that a policy for the use of body worn cameras had been circulated for comment. It was felt that the cameras were not suitable for use in gathering evidence but were to be used where it was felt staff could be subject to threatening or intimidating treatment. As a related issue we are looking at the development of Out of Hours (OoH) bags which would contain some of the equipment and materials which might be useful for the OoH inspector to have with them.

5. Audit, Risk Management and Finance

There was a lengthy discussion around the options which may fall out of the October monitoring round outcome. In summary we are facing an over or underspend depending on the outcome and we have developed a number of mechanisms in order to minimise these when the actual outcome is known. Added to this we have the uncertainty around baseline budgets for 2020/21 and how this could impact on our ability to fill vacant posts even if money were made available this year but not baselined going forward.

Finance – General – (To end September 19 - Target is 50%): Staff & Operating: Salaries – 48%. T&S – 44%. Other - 64%. TOTAL - 48%. Account NI has not closed out the month of September yet so these DRC figures are provisional. Programme (Target is 50%): 27%.

All Heads of Group are reminded to monitor budgets and ensure spending in line with the Operating Plan. Where there is any variance from this please let Finance Branch know as early as possible. We discussed financial matters relating to casework.

6. HR

We considered the potential for C3/Yellowhammer to further impact on our ability to deliver in all business areas with the possible loss of another inspector to Yellowhammer as well as the potential redirection of work efforts to meet priorities which emerge as a result. There was a discussion around the existing vacancy management position and posts which had been filled in the last couple of months.

7. Case and Project Work

Major Investigation Team (MIT) update

There are currently twenty three cases at the investigation stage, 4 cases are with Public Prosecution Service Northern Ireland and 6 cases are in the courts system. It was acknowledged that MIT has limited capability to take on any new cases at this time.

Case Management System (CMS) update

On CMS there is one module left to complete which has a planned phased introduction. There are a number of low impact issues identified through user acceptance testing and these will be dealt with in a later change control. There may also be some Brexit related impacts which need to actioned in due course.

8. 2019/20 Operating Plan

It is intended to issue a note on the draft operating plan for the 2019/20 year to Heads of Group. It is expected that the capability will be similar to that of this year, however the absence of an increased baseline could lead to an impact on our ability to deliver against the operating plan and indeed is likely to impact on the program budget in that year as we would need to make saving there as well.

9. Performance Monitoring

There was a discussion around the key stats for the first 5 months of the year. The new system is bedding in well and there was mention of some miscoding issues which are being examined. On the whole. Reportable incidents and serious injuries have fallen on the same period last year.

  • Total RIDDOR reports – 1224 (1352)
  • Work related fatalities – 5 (7)
  • Over three days – 970 (1066)
  • Major Injuries – 151 (172)
  • Dangerous Occurrences – 67 (59)
  • Member of Public injury – 36 (55)
  • Year to date visits – 2848 (3151)
  • Advisory Activity – 875
  • Complaints – 414 (460)
  • Improvement Notices – 21 (44)
  • Prohibition Notices – 95 (87)

10. Board Business

It was noted that the forthcoming board meeting would be attended by the permanent secretary and officials from the Department. SMT considered the issues that would be key to raise in this forum.

11. Product Safety and Machinery Guarding

There was a discussion around the work in regard to product safety and machinery guarding in particular and the cross cutting nature of this work. Several staff are involved and are taking this forward with the industry sectors as well as local manufacturers. It was acknowledged that it is difficult to raise concerns where equipment is built outside the UK.

12. Any other business 

The Macmillan coffee morning has been scheduled for 7 November 2019 and it is hoped to do a fun social event such as a bake-off as part of this event.

13. Date of next meeting

The date of next meeting is planned for Wednesday 6 November 2019 at 9:30am.

Annex: Emerging risks

Date Risk Impact Likelihood Action Escalate to HSENI risk register
19/11/18 Falling number of applicants to trainee inspector competition. Moderate Moderate Consider undertaking a review of trainee inspector recruitment and training No
21/1/19 Staff resourcing across all operational groups is tight and service delivery susceptible to unexpected absences such as sick leave etc. High High HOGs to monitor and report to SMT. Reduce group output where necessary. Keep board informed. Keep O&L informed. Yes
21/1/19 Impact of volunteering for C3 and other EU Exit matters may cause significant strain on operational and admin groups. Moderate unknown HOGs to monitor and report to SMT. Reduce group output where necessary. Keep board informed. Keep O&L informed. Yes - when impact is known
4/3/19 Significant pressures in processing notifications due to staff availability. Moderate Moderate Head of Group to develop an action plan which will prioritise the notifications and allocate staff to meet demand and reduce / stop work in order to facilitate priority work. No - not at present
4/3/19 CMS – technical issues with the implementation of the new CMS resulting in potential delays. Moderate Moderate Modular approach to deployment being used to minimise disruption to normal operation No - not at present
9/9/19 In legislation the giving of any status to NI which would lead to an immediate or future divergence from GB would cause difficulties. Moderate unknown Ongoing liaison with HSE (GB) and other government bodies. No - not at present
19/9/19 One C3 volunteer which will put pressure on operational team Moderate unknown Monitor the situation No - not at present
19/9/19 2020/21 baseline – no certainty so working assumption has to be start 2020 same as 2019 which would mean starting year with a major financial deficit High Extreme Awaiting 2020/21 baseline budget Yes
19/9/19 Potential loss of key member of staff through promotions Moderate Unknown Monitor the situation No - not at present