Minutes of the Senior Management Team (SMT) meeting - April 2022

Minutes of SMT Meeting held on 8 April 2022 at 9:30
Via Zoom

In attendance:           

  • R Kidd - Chair and Chief Executive
  • N Monson - Deputy Chief Executive
  • B Monson - Deputy Chief Executive
  • L Burns - Deputy Chief Executive


1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. Minutes from the previous meeting

The minutes from the 11 March meeting were agreed.

3. Action Points

There were no action points not covered by the agenda.

4. Corporate Health, Safety and Welfare

  • There was some discussion around Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the new trainees. All standard kit was supplied and where there are issues with fit individuals can visit the supplier to try other brands/sizes to get the most suitable fit.
  • There have been further discussions on the preparation for a wider
    re-occupation of the building. The provision of smaller group meeting spaces will be facilitated when Department of Finance (DoF) can supply porters to assist by moving desks and cabinets.

5. (a) Audit, Risk Management and Finance

  • There was a discussion on the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) timetable to be presented at the Audit and Risk Management Committee (ARMC) meeting.
  • Issues including our end of year position, our opening budget for this incoming year, NIAO internal fraud risk and the end of year assurance statement were discussed.

5. (b) Emerging Risks

  • We discussed the upcoming issues for the board training session including the preparation of presentation for the draft Corporate Plan.
  • There was also a discussion on the key potential campaigns for the Corporate Plan based on our analysis of the data.

6. Staffing

  • SMT noted that the Higher Scientific Officer (HSO) post advert had now closed and following shortlisting would soon move to interview stage after Easter. The advert for the Senior Scientific Officer (SSO) role is expected to issue shortly. There was a conversation about other options for the lab should the SSO recruitment not yield any candidates with the requisite skills.
  • There was a discussion on other vacancies which have arisen in recent weeks or which are about to be vacated through retirement.

7. Case and Project Work

  • Major Investigation Team (MIT) update – It was noted that MIT continues to run at close to capacity. N Monson talked through some of the information provided to SMT in the MIT report.
  • EU Exit/Transition period - L Burns updated SMT that the market surveillance staff have mostly completed their planned initial training and all the staff had settled well into their roles.

8. Business Planning

  • SMT discussed meeting spaces especially where larger venues are needed for bigger groups to meet together. In Ladas Drive the largest meeting space is seeing significant demand. SMT discussed some of the alternative options which could be considered going forward.

9. Performance Monitoring

B Monson updated SMT on the most recent performance report and there was a discussion that many groups are now seeing a more normal pattern of activity including inspection, complaints and queries. Numbers are still lower than target due to the shortage of staff and the fact that Omicron has impeded activity in the quarter.

10. Board Business

There was a discussion around the separate planned meeting to discuss Corporate Planning and other material required for the board session on the 4 May and board meeting on the 5 May. R Kidd advised that he was meeting with the Chair and Senior Managment from Chief Executive’s Forum to discuss the training session.

11. AOB

  • SMT discussed the annual maintenance charges for the Case Management System (CMS). L Burns to progress the matter.
  • SMT discussed the role of HSENI in relation to bonfires where a work activity can be evidenced.
  • SMT discussed HSENI attendance at the Balmoral Show in May and noted that, as had been agreed, a smaller presence with reduced costs was appropriate. The focus will be on child safety.
  • A query was discussed around the reporting of Regulation 32 incidents. It was agreed to look at the possibility of porting these into CMS.

12. Date of next meeting

The date of the next meeting will be set for May 2022.

The meeting concluded at 11:50.