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18 July 2019 - Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Commissioners

Commissioners:

  • Bill Moyes (Chair)
  • John Baillie
  • Carol Brady
  • Stephen Cohen (up to 12:50)
  • Alison Hastings (dial-in from 09:00 to 12:50)
  • Sarika Patel
  • Trevor Pearce
  • Jonathan Scott
  • Catharine Seddon.

Executive directors:

  • Paul Hope
  • Neil McArthur
  • Tim Miller
  • John Tanner
  • Helen Venn
  • Richard Watson.

In attendance:

  • Oliver Sweeney (Legal)
  • (REDACTED) (notes).

Observer:

  • (REDACTED) (Audit and Risk Committee Independent Member).

Apologies:

  • None.

Welcome, apologies and declarations of interest

There was one declaration of interest:

Stephen Cohen will be joining the Board of Woodford Patient Capital Trust. Careful consideration has been taken as to whether any issues are presented by this appointment, with reference to the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies and our own Code of Conduct for Commissioners. Through that review, Governance has identified one potential (albeit unlikely) issue which can be suitably mitigated. The Board are therefore content that any potential conflicts of interest associated with the appointment will be effectively managed.

1. Minutes, rolling actions, forward look and Chair’s business

The minutes of the meeting held on 20 June 2019 were approved.

2. LCCP changes – Alternative Dispute Resolution, customer interaction and Research, Education and Treatment

The Board noted the paper and approved the recommendations.

3. Proposed response on gambling with credit cards, post- consultation

The Board noted the paper.

The Board gave approval to proceed with the consultation and as per the recommendations outlined within the Board paper.

4. Review of test houses

The Board noted the paper.

The Board approved the proposed approach and gave delegated authority to Executive Director Helen Venn to sign off the consultation document.

5. 2019-2022 People Strategy

The Board noted the paper.

A discussion ensued, with the following points highlighted:

  • the last People Strategy expired in March 2019
  • the next People Strategy will set the Commission’s ambitions as an employer for the next 3 years (2019 – 2022)
  • the Board welcomed the report and KPIs
  • the Board discussed the importance of linking the strategy to the staff survey from the perspective of ‘you said and we did’ rather than focusing only on ‘progress’, also noting that we may experience a dip before an ascent in the staff survey as we are continuing to do more on managing performance. It was considered we could also be stronger in tone of language on areas we have not been optimal, rather than too heavily self-congratulatory
  • concerning long-term absences, HR business partners in our long-term model will look at the overall picture in each Exec Director’s area to better manage and progress matters in each area
  • there is scope to work in partnership with other organisations once we are more confident with our People Strategy
  • the Executive Group will continue to monitor progress on the strategy and hold Vic Beaumont to account for its progress.

The Board approved the draft strategy and launch to colleagues at the staff conference in September 2019.

The Board would like a review of progress against the strategic objectives bi-annually going forward. There will also be updates on the strategy via the quarterly Board Performance Report.

6. Use of reserves for contentious case support

The Board noted the paper, highlighting in particular the following:

  • there is a requirement to go to DCMS for approval as we are proposing spend of our reserves
  • the Commission must build contingency for such costs into future budget and planning in a consistent manner and also think more strategically about how our plans affect our Legal costs.

The Board approved the recommendation to allow additional budget expenditure for external legal representation in the year 2019/20 to come from the Commission’s reserves if required, but advised that the requested amount should be increased from £200,000 to account for the potential for subsequent appeals and cases before other tribunals. DCMS are to be contacted on this basis.

7. National Lottery Competition Committee (NLCC) update

John Tanner gave a verbal update on recent NLCC activity.

8. 4th National Lottery Licence Competition

Integrated policy package:

The Board noted the paper.

Delivery plan:

The Board noted the paper.

9. CEO quarterly reporting including: Board Performance Report

The Board noted the report, in particular the following:

Overall operational performance has been good and is largely on track, but not without challenges such as:

  • our aspirations to do a lot more for consumers not aligning to resources, with alternative proposals due to be presented in the autumn of 2019
  • high casework volumes having an impact on the Enforcement, Legal and Compliance teams
  • increased sickness absence rates, mostly due to long-term absences.

Public KPIs for contact centre responses to consumers remain at 20 days however we are achieving below 10 working days. There is still no fully rounded consumer redress framework and our current response time does not paint a good perceptional picture.

Board Performance Report (BPR):

The Board noted the report, in particular the following points:

Optimising returns to good causes:

  • the two NL programmes need to focus on transition risk.

Corporate Services:

  • there remains further work to carry out on performance indicators
  • when the new HRIS system is in place it will be easier to report on a budgeted establishment variance rather than merely a vacancy figure
  • it will also be easier to have the data around what sits behind leavers and sickness and absence figures
  • going forward there will also be a much better measure around ease of recruitment which will be added, but we currently do not have historic data to benchmark against.

10. Finance report

The Board noted the report, in particular:

  • the report presents the financial position for the Commission for the first three months of 2019/20.

11. Risk session

David Pemberton introduced the Board annual risk session including:

Board Assurance Framework:

The Board discussed the Board Assurance Framework, which together with the dashboard work, has been handed over to Programme Directors and Functional Leads to manage and brief the Executive Group and has been generally well received. There is ongoing audit work by PriceWaterhouseCoopers on the Framework to inform the internal audit plan and to highlight and address any areas of concern. The Audit and Risk Committee examine the Framework to give assurance to Board and further assurance would be for managers at the same level to cross check it to give a degree of independent assurance. It was noted that Ben Barter and (REDACTED) are looking at the management groups as a whole to see how that would best work in practice.

Bill Moyes advised the Board that this is David Pemberton’s last Board meeting, as David was leaving the Commission in July 2019. Bill thanked David for all of his dedicated work since joining the Commission on behalf of the Board and Executive Group and wished him for the very best for the future.

12. Compliance update: small operator workshops

The Board noted the paper, in particular the following:

  • this paper follows on from a paper presented to Board in September 2017
  • there have been 10 workshops since June 2017 to date, to over 210 licensees and trade bodies
  • we are working to make sure there is a better framework around customer interaction and responsibility
  • referring to paragraphs 13 and 14 in the paper, there is a challenge in identifying which operators are being reached via the webinars as only individual names are supplied and there is not a facility to capture which operator they work for.

A short discussion took place around process challenges, as well as the cost of workshops, against the cost of individual assessments, and to perhaps consider gauging over time those operators who have and have not been contacted via the workshops and evaluate if this engagement with operators has been a good use of time and finance.

13. Stakeholder engagement update

The Board noted the update, commenting that the stakeholder plan reflects a good spread of engagement. It is planned that Bill Moyes and Neil McArthur will meet with some of the smaller Operators, to also include Board members.

Comms are working on a list of Regional visits and Tamsin Morgan has advised Board members of those visits arranged thus far.

We are continuing to work on our engagement with DCMS across the Commission.

14. Any Other Business

The Board had no comments on any of the exceptional items, which were therefore all noted and approved as follows:

Noted updates from recent Committee meetings:

  • June 2019 Audit and Risk Committee update
  • June 2019 Remuneration Committee update
  • July 2019 National Lottery Committee update

Approved:

2019/20 draft letters to Committee Chairs

There was no other business to report.

Closed session – Commissioner only, including review of the meeting – not minuted.

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