Minutes of Senior Management Team (SMT) meeting - May 2023

Minutes of SMT Meeting held on 15 May 2023 at 9:30am, Robens Room, Ladas Drive

In attendance:                

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

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. Minutes of the last meeting 

The minutes from the 18 April meeting were agreed.

3. Action Points

There were no action points not covered by the agenda.

4. Corporate Health, Safety and Welfare

  • SMT noted that the matter with the front gate has been resolved. Premises are awaiting a visit from the contractors to tidy up the weeds around the front of the building.
  • There was also a discussion on the handling of photocopying paper when it is delivered and how it is distributed across the building to the three copiers.
  • It was noted that the work B Pryce’s team on the lone working review is ongoing and will likely conclude in the autumn.

5. (a) Audit, Risk Management and Finance

  • SMT noted that the audit exercise of the Annual Report and Accounts was commencing today.
  • There was a discussion on the capture and reporting of data in a timely manner for this and subsequent reports.
  • We will continue to monitor the impacts of industrial action.
  • There was further discussion on staff vacancies and ongoing lack of progress by NICSHR to move competitions. Also noted some decisions from HR about how certain specialised posts should be advertised.
  • IT are due to run significant upgrades on Content Manager and CMS and there is a concern that we could see outages of CMS for a time when Content Manager updates are rolled out due to compatibility issues. IT are working with CMS to try and minimise the risks.

5.(b) Emerging Risks

  • CEO sent an email to C Smart in NICSHR setting out the position if the Information Management Unit posts are not filled quickly. We will have no choice but to notify the Information Commissioners Officer (ICO) of the risks to service delivery. This and other vacancies will remain.
  • Industrial action in terms of the one day strike action had a minimal impact with around 10% of staff striking. The greater concern is the withdrawal of goodwill in other areas. SMT will continue to monitor the situation. It was agreed this would remain.
  • Retained EU Legislation is an ongoing issue for the Legislation Team. It continues to be a live issue with engagement continuing with the department and GB colleagues and a desire to avoid any of our legislation made under EU cover, being sunsetted. It was agreed this would remain.
  • SMT discussed the uncertainty of the new budget position and agreed that we would look at discretionary spend and keep this under review. It was also agreed that we would halt all discretionary spend over £10K and review at the next SMT meeting until we have more certainty over the budget picture. This will impact on our Corporate Plan delivery at least in Quarter One.

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

18th April 2023

Budget uncertainty for 2023/24 year

SMT agreed to halt discretionary spend over £10k and keep under review until the budget is known.

Add to Q1 risk register

Carried forward from Q4 22/23 risk register

HSENI unable to deliver to meet targets as a result of work to rule or strike action by staff

Minimal impact from strike day action but higher risk from withdrawal of goodwill. Management will continue to monitor the situation.

Currently being monitored by SMT – to remain on Q1 risk register as an emerging risk

18th April 2023 - reviewed

Retained EU Law Bill. Risk that legislation with its basis in S.2(2) of ECA may fall etc after 31.12.23.

Risk that the volume of work required for REUL will mean other routine work will not progress as planned.

Engagement with DfE and GB / HSE colleagues.




To remain on Q1 risk register as an emerging risk with a likelihood of 3 and an impact of 2.

18th April 2023 - Reviewed

Of the current 8 vacancies, 6 are considered to have the potential to jeopardise statutory functions or CP targets in the short term.

Regular liaison with NICS HR to highlight the importance of filling critical vacancies – a number of meetings took place with NICS HR but following these we have seen no further progress. CEO wrote to C Smart seeking an update.

To remain on the Q1 risk register as a Business Continuity Risk with the likelihood of 3 and an impact of 3.





6. Staffing

  • SMT noted that several weeks following engagement with NICSHR,  nothing has changed. R Kidd to write to C Smart in particular regarding the Information Management Unit posts and L Burns followed up on this.

7. Case and Project Work

  • SMT noted the Major Investigation Team (MIT) update and the fact that some capacity exists in MIT.

8. Business Planning

  • The Corporate Plan will be placed on the website in draft until approved by Minister in due course.
  • The Operating Plan will be sent to the Department seeking their agreement to publish.
  • The Annual Reports and Accounts is a key priority at this time in order to meet the deadline of early July laying in the Assembly Library.

9. Performance Monitoring

  • SMT noted there have been three fatalities already since 1 April. There have been 350 inspections and complaints are down again, Improvement Notices served are down and Prohibition Notices are similar to last year.

10. Board Business

  • Agreed to issue a reminder to the Board regarding their feedback on the Insights Discovery programme and any possible follow up.

11. Any other business (AOB)

  • SMT discussed the completion of annual reports and PPA's for this year.
  • R Kidd agreed that he would continue to encourage staff to complete the NICS Staff Survey.
  • SMT discussed the hosting of the Departmental Board and the logistics.
  • The latest request from the Covid Inquiry was discussed.

12. Date of next meeting

The date of the next meeting is scheduled for 13 June 2023.

The meeting concluded at 12.20pm.