Minutes of the Senior Management Team (SMT) meeting - December 2021

Minutes of SMT Meeting held on Wednesday 21 December 2021 at 9:30am
(via zoom)

In attendance:

  • R Kidd - Chair and Chief Executive (CEO)
  • N Monson  - Deputy Chief Executive
  • B Monson  - Deputy Chief Executive
  • L Burns - Deputy Chief Executive
  • K Neeson - Deputy Chief Executive

1. Apologies

There were no apologies. This meeting was rescheduled from 1 December.

2. Minutes from the previous meeting

The minutes from the 3 November 2021 meeting were agreed.

3. Action points

There were no action points not covered by the agenda.

4. Corporate health, safety and welfare

  • N Monson updated SMT on a software issue with BWV. Plans are in place to have this resolved by end of January along with the provision of a user guide
  • SMT discussed the fast moving pace of Omicron and how this is feeding in to our guidance to staff. Changes in isolation guidance and the need for PCR tests can mean staff are unavailable at times. This can often extend to getting children tested. There is also a lot of time spent fact checking the current guidance as things change so frequently.
  • it was discussed that there is a need to ensure that when decisions are taken that they are communicated to partner organisations quickly so they can change their advice and guidance to keep up. CEO to raise this at EPG and Adherence groups

5. Audit, Risk Management and Finance

  • SMT discussed the late substitute comments to the 19/20 accounts and RTTCWG. It was agreed that these were disappointing but did not materially impact on the accounts
  • the start date for the trainee inspectors was provisionally agreed as mid February

Emerging Risks

  • there was a discussion around the ongoing delays in getting competitions started by Northern Ireland Civil Service Human Resources (NICSHR). The CEO had raised this within the Department and a way forward was discussed and agreed to escalate delays when they occurred
  • the uncertainty of Omicron and how it could mean staff availability is impacted as well as our ability to deploy to the field in all but the most serious circumstances

6. Staffing

  • again the Omicron impact could come in to play both affecting existing staff as well as the induction of staff due to start in January. Provision has been made to run this virtually.
  • start dates are beginning to be known for new starts and this is being fed to M Ditchfield in order that quarter four financial projections can be updated

7. Case and Project Work

Major Investigations Team (MIT) update

N Monson referred to the MIT report which was circulated to SMT earlier in the month. MIT is currently carrying heavy caseload with circa 40 active cases.

EU Exit / Transition period

It was noted that the departure of Lord Frost and subsequent arrival of Liz Truss would require monitoring to see how discussions would be impacted. It was also noted that staff will arrive for the Chemicals and Product Safety Teams at two points in January (4 and 17).

8. Buisness Planning

SMT held a half day planning session on 10 November to consider the next business plan cycle. This was very useful and has been fed in to discussions with Heads of Groups.

9. Performance Monitoring

B Monson updated SMT referring to the CMS report. Visit interactions are down significantly but much of this has been a result of Covid and where Covid inspections have taken place these have typically taken much longer than a normal inspection.

10. Board Business

There were no further updates at this time. It was noted that the January ARMC and board meetings are likely to be conducted over Zoom.

11. Any Other Business

  • SMT were asked to note and agree a staffing matter involving a part time member of staff being paid for additional hours worked up due to pressures in the team. Financial cover exists
  • R Kidd asked SMT to pass any thoughts or comments on the finance paper to M Ditchfield by lunchtime as the return is due back today

12. Date of next meeting

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

The meeting concluded at 11:00am.