Minutes of Senior Management Team (SMT) meeting - January 2024

Minutes of SMT Meeting held on 15 January 2024 at 9.30am, Robens Room, Ladas Drive.

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 apologies from K Neeson.

2. Minutes of the last meeting 

The minutes from the 13 December meeting were agreed.

3. Action points

There were no action points not covered by the agenda.

4. Corporate health, safety and welfare

Fire wardens policy is moving to implementation. Procedures to issue to staff.

SMT discussed some possible options for an In-Out board solution for Ladas Drive.

An email will issue to staff re First Aid at Work training to enable staff to book on to available dates.

Face Fit testing is nearing completion. Premises are chasing up those who have not yet been fitted and supply of masks are awaited.

SMT discussed the Whatsapp Live Location service and it was agreed that a short demo would be given at the next SMT Head of Groups (HOGs) meeting to ensure everyone is aware of how it works on both Apple and Android phones.

5. (a) Audit, risk management and finance (ARMC)

An email has gone out to all staff asking them to place orders for any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that they need to replenish due to wear and tear.

Occupational Health are looking at a provisional date and venue for a health conference in March 2025.

It was agreed that the board would be invited to endorse an extension to the business case spend on Workplace Transport as a means of utilising money released from groups that cannot be utilised for other reasons such as funds budgeted for legal fees and expert witnesses if required. This is to maximise the use of the budget and reduce any underspend of our allocation as we are beyond the last opportunity to surrender money back to the Department.

It was noted that the first Internal Audit (IA) report is back and will be brought to the ARMC. The second is at fieldwork stage and third is at Terms of Reference (ToR) approval stage.

SMT approved the document “HSENI service level complaints - Internal guide for staff” – Version January 2024 which had been circulated to SMT in advance of the meeting.

5. (b) Emerging risks

SMT had a discussion on staffing and how we might look at future progression planning over the next three to five years. We discussed current and upcoming vacancies and ongoing competitions to fill posts.

Table of emerging risks

Date of SMT meeting where Emerging Risk was first discussed Nature of Emerging risk Action required Current status of Emerging Risk
Board loss of staff Loss of board chair and two members Change to standing orders (completed at October board meeting) Continue to monitor. Pulic Appointments Unit process to appoint a new chair is underway
18 April 2023 - Reviewed

16 August reviewed

13 September

19 October - reviewed

15 November - reviewed

13 December - reviewed

15 January - Reviewed
Many of the current vacancies are considered to have the potential to jeopardise statutory functions or Coorporat Plan targets in the short term

Plan to meet NICSHR to discuss some ongoing issues
Regular liaison with NICS HR to highlight the importance of filling critical vacancies – a number of meetings took place with NICS HR and following these we have seen some slow progress towards launching competitions

Some progress on a number of posts

Identifying suitable contact in HR

Potentially needing legal advice on HR matters and CIBs
To remain on the Quarter 2 risk register as a Business Continuity Risk with the likelihood of 3 and an impact of 3

To remain under review until we see some of the business critical posts filled

Some staff in post and some confirmed start dates in October and first half of November. Risk reduced in Business Disruption on Corporate Risk Register to a likelihood of 2 and an impact of 2 in October 2023

Continue to monitor progress as staff take up posts


6. Staffing

SMT discussed a number of staffing matters including the next trainee inspector recruitment and consideration of resilience in the wake of potential retirements in the next two-three years in a number of areas. (Also referenced under 5(b)).

The staff handovers of the Public Sector Team and Major Investigion Team (MIT) were discussed. The vacancies created by the moves and resignation were also discussed as these will need factored into the trainee recruitment.

It was agreed that new start photos for SHINE would be the responsibility of the line manager.

All staff event to be arranged for March 2024 to launch some wellbeing issues. This will include some seminars over a period of months.

7. Case and project work

SMT noted the MIT update and the fact that there are cases under consideration. One case was highlighted as going to court in the coming days. Limited capacity exists and cases will be prioritised by MIT with the focus on fatalities.


8. Business planning

SMT noted that the bilaterals are about to commence. They will run over a few weeks due to diary commitments.

B Monson advised that the new Farm Safety Action Plan draft has been circulated and the hope is to get this agreed as quickly as possible with the intention of a launch in April / May.

9. Performance monitoring

B Monson talked SMT through the report. SMT noted fatals are still up on this time  last year, interactions are up significantly over 15500 from 14000 last year, site visits are down slightly but we believe we are on track to make the end of year target. Complaints are up significantly (25%), Notices are up due to the Workplace Transport Campaign.

Workplace transport safety

The campaign is running very well. Business areas have reported that in many cases the transport inspections have taken more time than was anticipated, especially after the publicity surrounding the nature of the visits. In many cases this has led to notices being served. The nature of what has been seen is strong justification for the selection of transport as this year’s campaign.

10. Board business

A competition to appoint a Chair to the HSENI board is underway through the public appointments unit in DfE.

11. Any other business (AOB)

There was a brief discussion on mileage claims in relation to advice sought from HR.

12. Date of next meeting

The date of the next meeting will be 21 February.

The meeting concluded at 1.00pm.